No, America Has Not (Thank God)

When William Butler Yeats sat down to write about the 1916 Easter rebellion in Dublin, he knew it marked a rupture in Ireland's fabric. Before 1916 was one state of affairs; after it, all was "changed, changed utterly." Sept. 11, we have come to think, is an event for modern America much as Easter 1916 was for Ireland. At home the U.S. is supposed to be different from the way it was; abroad it has ostensibly found a fresh definition of its role in the world.

I don't believe it. I don't believe that the essentials of American society were changed...

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