I am that still, small voice -- inside, at the back -- that says, "I can." And I've pushed my way to the front, because, even a dozen years after 9/11, "the day everything changed," I'm hearing, "I can't." What has happened to us?
If you survey our planet, the situation is remarkably unsettled and confusing. But at least two things stand out, and whatever you make of them, they could be the real news of the first decades of this century. Both are right before our eyes, yet largely unseen.
Twelve years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban and a decade after the misguided invasion of Iraq, Washington's actual standing in country after country, including its chief allies in the region, has never been weaker.
Ever fewer countries, allies, or enemies, are paying attention, much less kowtowing, to the once-formidable power of the world's last superpower. The list of defiant figures -- from Egyptian generals to Saudi princes, Iraqi Shiite leaders to Israeli politicians -- is lengthening.
Welcome to the 21st century, a time already characterized by the limits on American power. This is not an argument for isolationism. It is an argument for a realistic understanding of what we can and cannot do and should and should not do.
The link between economic growth and inequality is something that conservative politicians push at us all the time. Unfortunately for the Right, the relationship between values, prosperity and power is not quite as they would have it.
While the one day a year has passed that we celebrate "Earth Day", every day SHOULD be Earth Day. Photographer Mitch Epstein is dedicated to this concept. His photographs can be seen on billboards in Ohio with the tag line: "What is American Power?"