It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights.
Proximity to power has an unsurprising ability to mutate a politician's spinal cord into bright yellow jelly.
That natural disasters are required to provide Americans with a glimpse of reality in their own country is an indication of the deep rot infecting the official political culture.
Monotonous talk of the end of American hegemony, the universal cliché of the period, is mostly a way of avoiding mounting a serious opposition to it.
This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.
We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane.
For all their incoherence and senseless rage, their message is attractive to those layers of the population who yearn for some order in their lives. If the fanatics promise to feed them and educate their children they are prepared to forgo the delights of CNN and BBC World.
Tragedies are always discussed as if they took place in a void, but actually each tragedy is conditioned by its setting, local and global. The events of 11 September 2001 are not exception.