Ten years ago on this day, everyone in the whole United States – and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the rest of the world – all came together because of a terrible tragedy. We were all united on that day.
Fast forward 10 years, and you can see that very nearly all of that solidarity has gone right down the drain. If anything, we’ve become even more isolated and fragmented than we were before.
The most recent example (that I can think of) is the dreadfully childish bickering and last-minute compromise regarding the “raising the national debt limit” issue. With the threat of the entire country defaulting on its national debt looming, the best we could do was bicker and argue and refuse to do the obviously necessary thing until we were assured that our particular special interest group was not adversely affected by whatever solution was put forward. This is hardly the “united we stand” mentality that sprung up immediately after the events of 9/11.
Instead of a strong stance of “what’s best for the country as a whole,” we’ve fallen back on greedy individual power grabs – along the lines of “give me what I want, and screw everyone else.”
Instead of a strong, bold stance for freedom and liberty in the face of terrible adversity, we’ve instead become afraid of our own shadow, giving up any fundamental rights and spending any amount of money, so long as it’s “for security” (which has almost universally been “for a false sense of security”).
On this tenth anniversary of the events of 9/11/2001, I can’t help but look back at the past 10 years and think that we could have done better – we should have done better.
We can build memorials, give speeches, and make “remembering” videos all we like, but it is how we act that will truly be remembered.
I hope everyone can take this tenth anniversary to stop for a moment and reflect on how we’ve changed in these past 10 years, and to remember what it really meant to be united – to put aside differences in the face of the greater good – and consider what a powerful thing that is.
There will be a lot of appeals to patriotism and national pride today, and if that means anything to you, please take a moment to really consider the meaning behind the phrase “united we stand, divided we fall.”
9/11 is ten years behind us now – it’s time to stop being afraid, stop fighting amongst ourselves, stand strong, make the hard (but necessary) choices, and move forward into the future as a truly United States of America.