Sept. 11 was the end of 'before'
I commuted between LA and Boston for years. I was supposed to be back on the road Friday, another book tour. I got on planes the way my mother took trolleys.
The phone rang. That was the end of BEFORE.
Everything else is AFTER.
We are a different country, those of us who can remember. We saw it. We saw these men mow down innocent men, women and children. We saw hate. It changed us. We can't deny that.
It changed the way I view Muslim men. I work harder to be fair. I try to bend over backward. There is that tickle of fear in the back of my throat.
These are people who would destroy everything we believe in, kill us for our beliefs, murder our children -- in the name of what? Certainly not any God.
Of course we must be fair. Ninety-nine percent of Muslims are not terrorists, even if 100% of terrorists were Muslims. Racism consists of judging individuals based on their membership to a group rather than on their individual characteristics.
The people in front of me in line while traveling were a Muslim family. Actually, I'd jumped to another line because I knew they'd take forever. And they did.
And if they hadn't and there was a bomb in the diaper bag?
They were no more surprised than I was.