7 years after 9/11, it’s time for change

This Sept. 11 marks the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As we saw in the recent Democratic and Republican conventions, that day’s events still loom large in our country’s consciousness — though no more so than here in Lower Manhattan, where two of the four hijacked planes struck, and where the most death and destruction was wreaked.

At their nominating convention, the Republicans, just like they did four years ago, delivered a two-pronged message of fear and war. From Lieberman to Giuliani to McCain, these themes were hammered again and again.

The R.N.C.’s 9/11 video montage was just more manipulation, shamelessly capitalizing on a tragic event.

The Democrats and their presidential nominee, Barack Obama, however, refused to resort to playing on Americans’ fears, but instead offered a broader vision of how we, as a country, must address our future here at home and repair our strained relations with the world community.

One thing Obama did make a point of mentioning, though, was that Osama bin Laden — the chief individual behind the murderous 9/11 attacks — is still at large. Giuliani said the Democrats failed to mention the words “Islamic terrorists.” But there’s a reason the G.O.P.’ers avoided referring to “bin Laden”: That he remains uncaptured is an outrage and an embarrassment. We’ve become bogged down in an unwinnable war in Iraq, yet the main culprit who we should have brought to justice is still on the loose.

Seven years after 9/11, we have to ask ourselves: Are we really safer? Or more to the point, who will keep us safer for the next four years — while at the same time addressing key domestic issues, such as the economy, education, healthcare, a more equitable tax structure and the housing mortgage-finance crisis.

While McCain and his Republican allies kept going on and on about his admittedly remarkable P.O.W. story and our national security, other critical domestic issues at stake in this election were sorely neglected.

Our national debt has ballooned obscenely under Bush and Cheney, our treasury drained by the Iraq War’s bottomless pit.

Democrats have a plan for our future — and when they state it, it’s believable. Meanwhile, the Republicans merely give lip service. They claim they’re for increasing solar and wind power, but then, to their delight, their delegates chant, “Drill baby, drill!” That backward-thinking attitude is indeed “more of the same,” as the Democrats so aptly put it.

After eight years, change is long overdue. McCain, who has voted with Bush more than 90 percent of the time, indeed, would be four more years of obsessive focus on a losing, deadly and destructive war — while important initiatives at home would be neglected. The Democrats see the bigger picture — and recognize that our nation is hurting in myriad ways, both at home and abroad. The moment is now for those who believe we need a change to a Democratic administration to mobilize and support Barack Obama in any way they can.