Have you finished composing your "where I was" blog post or, god save us, your #whereiwas Tweet? Have you muted MSNBC's deplorable annual encore performance of the televised deaths of thousands? Have you remembered to never forget? Good. Fine.
Shortly after (or maybe during) that day, our president at the time, a little fuckhead no one liked, handed over the reins to the most psychotic elements of his administration. In the vast national wave of jingoism, paranoia, dread, and fear that followed, he and his friends led us into an unrelated war they'd been planning beforehand, allowed the CIA to wiretap and torture anyone they liked (and encouraged the CIA to wiretap and torture even more than they were comfortable with!), and regularly insisted that our memory of that day should not be sullied with critical thinking or expressions of anything other than still-palpable fear. This played better in the sorts of places that had nothing to fear from international terrorism, but plenty of formerly reasonable-acting people in the major targets did play along, both out of personal conviction and partisan duty.
In fact an entire cottage industry of dudes who were Changed Forever On That Day thrived on the internet. Bloggers, all of whom were self-professed Former Liberal Democrats, were suddenly freed to be racist, bloodthirsty warmongers. They were rewarded with traffic and mainstream legitimacy (even as they ritually attacked the MSM as terrorist-loving fifth columnists). Most are still treated as Serious People, even though their defining characteristic was a hysterical response to a crisis.
Yeah, pretty much. The damage done to the country from 9/11 was mostly self-inflicted. [h/t Anne at Balloon Juice]
UPDATE: Great comment thread in that BJ post.