September 11, 2001 was a surreal and tragic day. Thousands died then, and even more have died or will die from contaminant exposure.

But perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is that in a way, we let Osama bin Laden win. His goals weren't merely to kill people and destroy property, he wanted to turn us against each other and bankrupt our nation.

Bin Laden tricked us into spending trillions of dollars we didn't have on a war in Afghanistan. The Bush Administration took the bait and the opportunity to settle old scores in Iraq, costing trillions more, not to mention thousands of lives and livelihoods.

He tricked us into spending another trillion on inane, ineffective airport security, like scanners that won't catch bombs, but might give you cancer. Every flight is now an exercise in humiliation, stripping our shoes and clothes for a system that makes us no safer, but offers natural-born bullies a chance to throw their weight around.

We had one shining moment of togetherness before our lizard brains took over. We are now so afraid that we don't care when our civil liberties or dignity are trampled upon. And in our fear, we have become downright mean.

We scream and yell at each other, go out of our way to ostracize others, and we idolize the meanest and cruelest our society has to offer. Could you imagine, even in the Clinton era, a political party trying to destroy a voter for hugging the president? America's always had a mean streak, we had to, but we've lost our grip of it.

It's past time for the madness to end. Osama bin Laden is dead, and the towers are back where they belong. It's time to bring the troops home, reinvest in America, and most importantly, to be Americans again. To stand together, to demand dignity, and be a shining beacon for the world.