There's another 911 thread, but something really hit me on this 18th anniversary of the tragedy. I teach at a community college, so most of my students just turned 18 within the past year or two. This means most of my students were babies when 911 happened (and some few not even born yet, as I have a handful in my classes who aren't yet 18), and we've firmly moved into the era with an increasing number of adults who will have no memory at all of the attacks and their immediate aftermath.

Aside from feeling really old, this got me to wondering how much of our current political situation in the US (in particular, though plenty of other countries have had terrible attacks too over the past couple decades) stems from 911, at least in part?

Would Trump be POTUS if 911 had never happened? Would birthism have gotten any traction, or would another racist smear attack, one that was less Islamophobic perhaps, have rocketed him into the limelight?

Of course, racism is nothing new, and the social conservative backlash was well underway before 911. The US has always had people who are xenophobic and who hate immigrants, but did this event help to make a particular kind of bigotry and jingoism more appealing and socially acceptable in the 21st century? Did it change our relationship with government and change what we expected from it?