“My View” from the Sept. 11, 2012, edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
As we mark the 11th anniversary of 9/11, a vast array of emotions are evoked — from anger and fury, to quiet remembrance, and finally optimism. Let me explain the last one.
From my office a short block or so away from the World Trade Center, I saw the second plane hit the south tower, and I was, like so many other New Yorkers, on the street when the second tower went down. We all felt the numbing realization of a world changed.
But 11 years later, I feel that we have won the larger battle. Not just by essentially dismantling al-Qaida, but from the broader display of strength by our democratic system.
Slightly over 230 years ago when this nation was founded, the very notion of a nation premised on democratic principles of freedom and tolerance was viewed by the vast majority of the world as an experiment that was doomed to fail. Dictatorships ruled, theocracies had for many centuries before that. The notion of a democratic governing structure was viewed as simple-minded and impermanent. Yet over the succeeding 200-plus years, the ideologies that preceded ours — theocracies, dictatorships — have faded and withered. And the ideologies that have arisen since our formation of a more perfect union — from communism and socialism to fascism — have been discredited.
The most important battle has been won. People across the world now yearn for the freedom and democratic rights that we first established. Yes, there are always continuing assaults and challenges, primarily from the fundamentalism that continues to fuel fanaticism and terrorism, but it is impossible to look at a map of the world and not believe that the arc of history does in fact tilt in the direction of progress — that means freedom as we have defined it.
So as we mark a day of mourning and somber reflection, let us also not fail to recognize that in the midst of the cowardly assault on freedom that the terrorists launched 11 years ago, and the continuing battles around the globe to push back against those efforts, the cause of freedom and unabridged rights is winning — and will continue to do so.
That’s “My View.”