If you believe some forecasts, New York City this weekend faces an existential threat, in the form of the rare hurricane slated to make landfall somewhere on Long Island. At the risk of committing what remains a mortal sin in American political circles, let me register my disappointment that New York still, a decade later, has yet to recover from its last existential threat.
Though it’s coming along nicely — only, I am told, because of the approaching anniversary and the prospect for national embarrassment — the new One World Trade tower remains disappointingly incomplete. Our national discourse remains partially motivated by a threat that has simply never materialized, and the same unsubstantiated fear continues to drive a sad willingness to doubt our fellow-citizens’ loyalty, and to surrender fundamental freedoms in the interest of convenience. We’ve both over- and under-reacted in disappointing ways when, by comparison, our European peers shrug off tragedy after tragedy.
We should be more confident in ourselves and our institutions. This was a country that was built to last. Let’s hope the Manhattan coast was, too (be safe!).