Those of us alive on September 11, 2001, remember with excruciating detail where we were when terrorists struck the twin towers. Confusion soon became fear as an American Airlines flight dove into the Pentagon and another crashed in a remote area of Pennsylvania. Yet something else happened, as well: America embraced a unity not seen since the Second World War.
As the towers fell and images of death and destruction invaded television screens, the nation’s people arose and proved once again the American spirit was unconquerable. New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliano became a calming voice. “The attacks of 9/11 were intended to break our spirit. Instead, we have emerged stronger and more unified,” he declared. His actions and words earned him the moniker “America’s Mayor.”
It was an uprising of the American spirit come September 12 when first responders, charitable organizations, and regular folks grabbed supplies and headed where they were needed most: ground zero. They ran towards uncertainty. And yet, somehow, 21 years later, unity has been eradicated. Instead, the United States is more deeply divided than ever. After just two decades, where’s that American spirit?
Is Unity Just a Talking Point?
Today, the tangled threads of what was once a country united are near the end of unraveling. It’s not simple anger over perceived slights, but rather a visceral feeling that one half of the populace is trying to destroy the other – as if the only conceivable outcome were for one ideology to succumb to annihilation by the other.
When Joe Biden was campaigning for president, unity was the core theme of his message. Whether one voted for him or not, the electorate expected to see a bridging of the gap – a pulling towards the middle. But on the day of remembrance, all that seems to remain is anger. Not for al Qaeda or ISIS or the Taliban but for one another: Democrats vs Republicans, progressives vs MAGA folks.
With both major political parties in the throes of their own internal turmoil, how is the message to unite even palpable? President Joe Biden is left with no ability to bring that feeling of September 12 back to America – and it seems that unity is the furthest thing from his mind. Just ten days ago, Mr. Biden urged fellow Democrats to flood the polls these coming midterm elections. He blatantly attacked half the electorate by saying: “There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”
Perhaps he should have taken a closer look at his progressive supporters before drawing that line in the sand. Specifically, when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) spoke about the terrorist attacks during a speech at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), saying with a coy smile that “some people did something.” Sadly, it was the best applause line of her remarks.
Find a Way Back
Today, Americans reflect on 9/11 and the following days as citizens from all walks of life came together in an experience that everyone pledged never to forget. This country, still the greatest nation on earth, must somehow find its way back to standing united with one another while striving for common ground. Otherwise, this narrative of unity across the great constitutional republic is nothing but empty words used as weapons of further destruction.