20 years later, one of the lost legacies of September 11 is that of national unity

Roberto Schmidt / Getty Images There is no doubt that the darkest day in modern American history happened twenty years ago today. At ...


Firefighters from the New Jersey Fire Department march near an oversized American flag hoisted near the Hudson River.

Roberto Schmidt / Getty Images

There is no doubt that the darkest day in modern American history happened twenty years ago today. At that time, one of the few glimmers of hope to come from the haunting clouds of dust of the 9/11 death was the remarkable national unity, and even in this rather rare era, with which the United States generally responded to terrorist attacks.

It wasn’t just for a day or two that we acted like the great nation we once were, but for at least several years (probably until 2006 when the war in Iraq became difficult for the United States). and Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans) almost all of the same team. We still had strong disagreements and deep cultural divisions, but it was clear that the majority of us were reading at least roughly the same book and had somewhat similar values ​​about what it means to be a part of it. country.

In the aftermath of September 11, America truly came together to help each other through the crisis and, for a time, the President George W. Bush had an approval rating of almost 90%. It wasn’t because Bush had done something particularly spectacular, or everyone had suddenly become Republican, but rather because many people wanted to send the message that national unity was more important than petty politics.

Twenty years later, especially post-Covid, this is decidedly NOT the case, and a strong argument can be made that this division is permanent and destined to only get worse. We are now so separated as a country, on so many levels, that some sort of eventual divorce inevitably seems heartbreaking.

This tragic outcome has been around for some time (even before September 11), but now we have apparently reached the point of no return. Barack obama became president promising that he would heal our racial wounds and end the concept of a “red state and blue state” in America, but his tenure only deepened those divisions, while also paving the way for Donald trump, ultimate divisive figure, to take his place.

The Trump presidency was the first, at least in modern times, not to even attempt to unite the country, but rather to appeal exclusively to its political base, apparently reveling in the reality that it somehow could. so maintain power while actively annoying over 50%. Population. This unfortunate strategy was able to hold in part for a few years, but then collapsed completely when Covid happened (after only a tiny fraction of the country briefly rallied around Trump during the first days of the crisis) .

As I predicted at the start of the pandemic, the way the virus has been handled, at all levels, could not have been more perfectly designed to drive an almost bottomless wedge between Americans. Over a year later, we live in a country that no longer has enough in common – not even enough mutual respect / understanding – to function properly, especially in the face of serious challenges.

About 40% of us strongly believe that masks and vaccines must be government mandated in order to finally defeat a virus that threatens to kill us all. Meanwhile, at least 30% believe with every fiber of their being that masks don’t work, and there is no medical need or legal authority for the government to impose these vaccines (especially for children) for a virus that has been exaggerated and whose reaction was largely motivated by a political desire to destroy Trump, while instilling socialism and racial “fairness” (NOT equality).

There has not been a more dramatic illustration of this impassable canyon among political factions than this week when President Biden, who ridiculously campaigned as a unifying force, openly demonized Americans who chose not to to get vaccinated. It did so by dictating, in an authoritarian manner, that millions of these same people – many of whom are minorities – now risk losing their private sector jobs if they do not comply with its policies. decree. Actively pitting the vaccinated against the unvaccinated Americans would be harmful even if the science of vaccines justified such mandates, but the logic for this in recent months has waned.

To be clear, these are not issues that there is just normal disagreement on. It’s the kind of differences that make longtime neighbors, and even close friends, hate each other with a very dark passion, the type of which is never going back.

For example, when one side is morally certain that they are saving children from possible death and the nation of Trump’s voters is anti-science and dragging their fingers, while the other is convinced that those responsible unnecessarily abuse their children and destroy the essence of the country, all for political purposes, there is simply no room for negotiation. The differences are simply irreconcilable, anger never fades, and trust cannot be restored.

Of course, the news media, which has both exacerbated (often for financial gain) and reflected this divide, plays an extremely important role in all of this. At the time of 9/11, Fox News and the Drudge Report still had some credibility and influence with non-conservatives, while MSNBC, CNN, and all major newspapers were not universally viewed by Republicans as defenders. manifest weapons of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the “mainstream” television networks have not only drifted into story even more.

If 9/11 happened today, there would be tremendous pressure, and no real fear of backlash among their target audience, on the conservative media to immediately attack the Biden administration for being too gentle on it. terrorism. It would be shocking if the grace period of a false national unity lasts even 3-5 hours and has absolutely no chance of lasting 3-5 years.

Twenty years ago, I hoped that the horror of that day would at least make us stronger in the long run. He does not have. America’s foundations are now not much stronger than those of those World Trade Center buildings after being hit by the hijacked planes. We cannot know for sure how long it will take for there to be such a collapse of social structures, but the chances of it actually happening well in our lifetimes are much better than most dare realize. .

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.



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Newsrust - US Top News: 20 years later, one of the lost legacies of September 11 is that of national unity
20 years later, one of the lost legacies of September 11 is that of national unity
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