It is difficult to talk about the terrible tragedy that happened in New York 20 years ago today. But I suppose we must talk about it.

On the one level it was a moment when a nation’s culture changed overnight. Our arguably too self-satisfied country suddenly became aware of what everybody else already knew: That the world is a very scary and uncertain place.

On another level, it is a very sad and very expensive lesson in the cost of politics. If we had not made a national sport out of our President’s personal life 25 years ago, we wouldn’t have derailed that administration’s ability to protect our collective national security.

But you can’t go back and change history, or give people the retrospective wisdom to avoid playing dangerous political games. The consequences of willful stupidity are unforgiving.

To paraphrase Pete Seeger: When will we ever learn?

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