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Good morning, it’s Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. After the 10th anniversary of 9/11 -- yes, I’ve been writing this morning newsletter that long -- I described taking my youngest brother to the airport while dodging impatient and rude Washington drivers.

Shaking our heads as motorists sat on their horns and cut each other off, my brother observed wryly, “It’s September 12. Things are back to normal.”

I couldn’t resist the temptation then to irreverently quip about how, if you can’t flip another driver the bird during rush hour traffic, the terrorists win. Actually, this is a week when our country’s leaders remind us that even while recalling great national suffering and setbacks, we are all Americans. And that this still means something. Eight years ago, that obligation fell to Barack Obama. He was very much up to the task, as I’ll show you in a moment.

First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

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Buy, Sell, Hold (September Edition). Sean Trende assesses the surviving Democratic candidates’ chances of securing the nomination.

Debate Field Reflects Democrats’ Disdain for Business Success. Greg Orman writes that the winnowing that left John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, and John Delaney off the stage means big-government policy promises will dominate tonight’s discussion.

To Determine Who’s Poor, Count All Poverty Spending. In RealClearPolicy, Matt Weidinger asserts that the government’s official metric leaves out data as important as what it counts.

No Need for Energy Poverty. In RealClearEnergy, Derrick Hollie counters sky-is-falling predictions tied to the use fossil fuels, which remain abundant.

To Cheer China’s Economic Demise Is to Cheer Our Own. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny takes exception to some commentators’ stance on a possible outcome of the trade war.

Russia’s Hypersonic Missile Threat to the U.S. In RealClearDefense, Mark B. Schneider lays out the perils posed by the Kremlin’s weapons modernization program.

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On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 eight years ago, President Obama was the keynote speaker at a solemn ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Obama began by quoting a verse from the 30th Psalm: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

“In the decade since, much has changed for Americans,” the president continued. “We’ve known war and recession, passionate debates and political divides. We can never get back the lives that were lost on that day, or the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars that followed. And yet today, it is worth remembering what has not changed.”

 “These 10 years have shown that we hold fast to our freedoms,” he said. “Yes, we are more vigilant against those who threaten us, and there are inconveniences that come with our common defense. Debates -- about war and peace, about security and civil liberties -- have often been fierce these last 10 years. But it is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values and our democracy, that is a measure of our strength.”

If you read my morning newsletter yesterday, on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, you will know that I fear that too many of my fellow citizens -- especially those blinded by political partisanship -- have forgotten Barack Obama’s wisdom. Perhaps they should watch his speech again. It holds up well.

Early in his presidency, Obama stumbled rhetorically on the topic of American Exceptionalism. On Sept. 11, 2011, however, he captured it brilliantly. In my view, it was one of the most inspiring speeches of his presidency.
“Decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who were lost on 9/11,” he noted solemnly. “They will run their fingers over the places where the names of those we loved are carved into marble and stone, and they may wonder at the lives they led. Standing before the white headstones in Arlington, and in peaceful cemeteries and small-town squares in every corner of our country, they will pay respects to those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will see the names of the fallen on bridges and statues, at gardens and schools.

“And they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will remember that we have overcome slavery and Civil War; we've overcome bread lines and fascism; recession and riots; communism and, yes, terrorism. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy -- reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man -- also gives us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration, those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.” 

Carl M. Cannon  
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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