The news is full of coverage of the anniversary of 9/11. You can change the channel without being reminded of what happened 10 years ago today. It was one of the most tragic days in American history and one none of us will ever forget.
And while we spend the day remembering this anniversary, let’s not lose sight of what else we lost on this day 10 years ago – America.
Since 9/11 this country has become increasingly more divided. We got a severely broken government that can’t operate due to partisan bickering. We saw the birth of this not long after the attacks 10 years ago. The Bush administration became hell bent on attacking a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, Iraq. People who disagreed with that war were called terrorists or even accused of treason. This wasn’t limited to bars or living rooms. We even heard the vice-President of the country, Dick Cheney, as well as other officials from the administration and politicians use the same harsh language against those opposed to Iraq.
That’s right – 9/11 changed America and not for the better. We became a nation where disagreeing with the President was tantamount to wanting to overthrow the government. We had a government turn to the same thinking as the Middle Eastern governments we were going after. Freedom started a quick death on that day and America is worst off because of it.
Ten years ago today we also saw the start of the demise of the American economy; an economy that was the envy of the world just a couple of years before. Fear-mongering lead to an increased purpose of the military-industrial complex that Dwight D. Eisenhower so warned us about. The ways of President Roosevelt were quickly forgotten and we had a President push Americans to go out and “buy stuff”, instead of getting a nation to work together for a common cause – going after those that attacked us.
We launched into not one, but two wars that have drained this country dry. Today we spend more than every other nation combined on defense, yet we argue about not being able to take care of our own citizens, educate or children or repair our roads because of the national debt. Instead of fixing our problems here at home, our country chose to ignore them in order to blow-up the Middle East. We had a President tell us that paying for these wars was of no concern because they were “necessary”, yet today, when these wars still bleed us dry, our spending is of major concern.
And not only that, but we the tolerance our country had worked to build over the centuries since slavery was quickly eroded. Now America didn’t have a problem with blacks, but instead we had a new enemy – Muslims. How dare someone in America believe in a different Religion or God. How dare they want to build places of worship or display their idols.
That day 10 years ago we totally erased the history of our nation. We forgot that our nation was originally populated by people escaping the exact same kind of intolerance, the Pilgrims and that our Founding Fathers were so against that intolerance that they even wrote protections for it into our Constitution.
Today we consider the word Muslim an insult. People used it excessively 3 years ago when a half-black man was running for President. Even big names in our culture like Rush Limbaugh thought it would spark hatred towards Barack Obama by calling him a Muslim.
We also lost many freedoms. We saw a government that decided it could just listen in on anyone’s phone calls. We saw our leaders turn to torture as a tool of war, something our nation long agreed to ban. We saw our ability to travel within our country or even abroad severely hindered. The notion of “innocent until proven guilty”, a bed rock of our freedoms, died. We started imprisoning people indefinitely without charge or trial.
If they “attacked us because of our freedoms” ten years ago today, then they have won. We have taken most of those freedoms and erased them. Those 2,740 that perished on 9/11 have become even more tragic because of this. Instead of becoming a nation resolved on strengthen our freedoms, we took them away in the name of “freedom”, a paradox in the truest form.
Let’s really honor those that died this day ten years ago and start rebuilding America to what she was before the attacks. Let’s make America that shining city on the hill once again. It’s time that we heal and restore America to a vision that our Founding Fathers had.
Terrorism has been around longer than religion and will never be eradicated, despite what our previous President said. Terrorism isn’t a group of people, but rather a twisted ideology that spans all religious and political beliefs. The greatest tool we have to fight terrorism is our resolve and that is something that we lost on 9/11. If we can get that back again then America will finally heal and rise again from the ashes.