On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I woke up late in a hotel in L.A., where I was on assignment, turned on the TV, and saw the World Trade Center imploding. I looked down and I was on the floor. My legs literally gave way beneath me. I have no memory of how it happened physically; just that, for an instant, everything collapsed.

Wednesday’s riot against American democracy felt far worse, as if the earth was dissolving…