Rachel Maddow's closing thoughts on September 11:
The President of the United States and the men who want to succeed him all expressed their thoughts publicly on the meaning of this anniversary today. Among other things, President Bush exalted America's response to 9/11. Senator McCain? ...the country's sacrifice. Barack Obama turned to the fight that continues.
Today will likely mark the last moment of pause before we choose the next President of this country. Until November 4th, we will, no doubt, overwhelmed by poll numbers, by political attacks and speeches and gaffes and counter-gaffes and outrages real and contrived. We'll even have moments of actual, substantive discussion of the issues.
So take this last moment's pause, before the bruising, sometimes mindless campaign starts again... in about an hour... to note the lessons about government and country that the horror of 9/11 and its difficult, 7-year aftermath have taught us.
Today, we are embroiled in two wars. Our government has no enunciated mission to complete, in order to end *either*. Osama bin Laden, whose nihilist madness orchestrated the most tragic day in this country's history, is assumed to be living in nuclear-armed Pakistan, in an ungoverned wilderness where we can't find him.
This week, the Partnership for a Secure America, which grew out of the 9/11 commission, gave the U.S. government a "C" grade on its efforts to protect America from chemical, biological, and nuclear threats. A "C" after seven years of supposedly-urgent work. The Rand Corporation recently estimated that al Qaeda, America's greatest enemy in the world, has restored its strength to pre-9/11 levels.
As we turn our attention back to the presidential campaign, to the choice we'll make in November, let September 11 remind us of what we require from our leaders and from our government -- competence.
Our choice isn't about language or personality or how well we relate to a politician. This day reminds us that our choice in November is about the competence of the government we'll elect.
For those in the position to vote for the new US President in the upcoming election - your choice do affect the rest of the world.