Twenty years ago, I walked into the street and a neighbor informed me of the 9/11 holocaust underway in New York City and Washington. Nineteen men in the grip of a perverted religious vision, with religious language on their lips, had murdered thousands. I never considered these to be religious men, but 19 madmen. Madmen always come to us in religious garb, with religious words on their lips, lifting up religious symbols to move us to war.

As an enlightened people, divinely led, we might have answered this savagery with a display of radical Christianity, perhaps some creative international diplomacy initiative, so as to render us a “light unto nations.” But, instead, we did the “right and reasonable thing;” we summoned religious rhetoric by which to sally forth and squander $3 trillion on two bloody invasion wars that proved nothing but a windfall for profiteering corporations, and came out of it 20 years later bankrupt at every level of analysis, embittered and disillusioned, our national dignity sullied, having fulfilled the wildest dreams of the 19 madmen. A succession of celebrity mediocrities and outright boobs to the American presidency has spoken ill of our judgement and intelligence.

Climate change has already hit America like an airliner into a skyscraper, and a lot of people on the 100th floor still think an exception will be made in their cases, but fire and flood bring democracy to all people. The earth, like the 19 madmen, is demonstrating the reality of our situation.

Tony Baker

St. Simons Island

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Glynn County has imposed an alcohol ban on St. Simons Island beaches Oct. 29-30 as a way to encourage public safety during Georgia-Florida weekend for the second consecutive year.