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When the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground on September 11, 2001, it took with it any illusions Americans might have harbored about the nation’s invincibility, leaving many feeling vulnerable, scared and angry. Yet in that moment of weakness, while most of us were still reeling from the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of some 3,000 Americans, we managed to draw strength from and comfort each other.

Suddenly, the news was full of stories of strangers helping strangers and communities pulling together. Even the politicians put aside their partisan pride and bickering and held hands on the steps of the Capitol, singing “God Bless America.”


One on One with D. G. Martin

Ten years ago, what were we thinking?

Here is what I wrote in September 2001:

War. War. War.


Hurricanes prompt a strange human response.

As the storms near land, everyone in their potential path is riveted. Fear of physical or financial harm, awe at the power of nature, curiosity about the situation's unpredictability all enter into the equation.

Then the hurricane comes and exacts its toll.


For those who lament that the US Constitution is too difficult to amend, they should take a look at what happens when a constitution is easy to change. Last week, the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation upheld a 2007 referendum that stripped tribal membership of around 2,800 descendents of Cherokee-owned black slaves known as the Freedmen.

The Cherokee Nation (or Western Band) with land in Oklahoma (not to be confused with the Eastern Band of Cherokee in Western North Carolina) is the largest of three Federally recognized Cherokee groups and has nearly 300,000 members. In 2006, the Cherokee Supreme court ruled that additional Freedmen as well as intermarried whites, could become tribal members. This did not sit well with Chief Chad Smith and others in the Nation’s political hierarchy. Maintaining the integrity of the tribe may have been their public face, but with hundreds of millions of dollars of gaming revenue in play, as well as the prospect of diluted political power, one has to wonder about their noble motives.


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