9/11 was never a "Kumbaya" Moment. I live not far from where the planes struck. I worked at the UN at the time. It shut down. We were herded about when a dog sneezed in the Empire State Building. Things changed all right. There were predictable moments of unity and declarations of global love transcending hate. But the dominant emphasis was the same anger and nativism that turned Rudy Guliani into a raving alt-right lunatic.

The actual result of 9/11 was the same mindless reading of world affairs that infected the Dulles Brothers and Harry Truman.

It was the binary -- us and them -- reading that has hobbled the world since Cain and Abel and long before. It is what the soupy but pertinent song "Kumbaya" is driving at.

We should have had Sherlock

Today, we are living in Edward Snowden's world, a world made schizoid by the attack on privacy and the insistence on secrecy. It has made it hard to know anything with certainty and this has only pressed people to think they know everything. An appropriate response to 9/11 would not have been the travesty created by Cheney and the second Bush. It would have been the surgical rationality we associate with the deductive Sherlock.

Pride? Comradery?

Sherlock would have found a way into those caves.

He would have gotten Osama sooner than later. We might have said it is time to try a different global MO. We might have followed some of the spadework done by the UN and educated more, and so forth. These things proceed in any case. But we still love drama and dramas are binary and bloody and create endless tears.

The change never came

If there was any suspicion of there being a "Kumbaya" moment, it was when Barack Obama emerged as an almost textbook example of a unifier. And he was almost that. But as the acerbic but damnably correct Cornel West says, Obama moved too close to Wall Street, engaged in nasty invasions of privacy and human rights, and killed innocents with drones.

If anything Obama made it possible for Trump to march to victory almost unopposed.

The denouement

Trump represents the ironic removal of the Emperor's clothes. Ironic because he is regarded as a dolt and a villain. He may be both but he is also a perfect Everyman for an America that has forgotten that its most perceptive analyst was a children's writer named L. Frank Baum. Trump is the powerless Wizard of Oz.

The irony is that with all its flaws and outright criminality, America, because its system and circumstances are stronger than any of us, is strangely still on course. Still as wrong as ever, but at least able to change however long it takes.