Today is, of course, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. One impact is that the politicians and their proxies have toned down the political attacks for the day. This is, of course, smart politics-launching mean spirited attacks on this day is hardly a good way to score political points. It is, of course, also the right thing to do. This day gives us a reason to remember that despite our political differences we are still all Americans and we share many core values. In any case, it is clear that we were all American enough for the terrorists-they did not distinguish between Democrats and Republicans (or independents).
It would be a good thing if we remember our shared values and common nationality on days other than national tragedies or their anniversaries. While terrible events like 9/11 remind us that despite the venomous political rhetoric we are not actually enemies this is surely something we should remember on other days. It should not take deaths or remembrances of deaths to get us to be civil to one another. This so something we should do all the days of the year.
In terms of the impact of the war on terror that followed 9/11, we seem to be doing relatively well. In 2010 15 private U.S. citizens died in terrorist attacks. That same year 16 U.S. citizens were killed by falling televisions. Thus, a private citizen is marginally more likely to be killed by a TV set than a terrorist and this could be regarded as something of a win in the war on terror.