I sat down yesterday and found that I had no desire whatsoever to write about the eleventh of September. Since every newspaper and every blog seems to have had something to say about it, I rather felt that I ought to, but refrained.
That day is, in a way, the Big Bang of 21st century America. A somewhat inscrutable event taken on its own, the entire pattern of the country I now inhabit seems to flow from that moment, initial conditions evolving in depressingly predictable ways. I would hardly say it was inevitable that seven years later America would be in its present sorry state, but it was clear to many within hours or days that the Bush administration was having visions of endless (and profitable) war abroad and a consumer police state at home.
(Roger Cohen has an interesting rhetorical take on this, although if it took him seven years to notice he really needs to work on paying attention.)
On the other hand, this country had been suffering from several deep pathologies for decades before, and it's just possible that the Bush/Cheney dark age has shaken loose enough entrenched forces, inspired enough of a clamor for something different, that we have a real shot at fixing some of them. If so, that will be no less consequential: not putting things back the way they were before, but achieving the next phase of after.