Patriot Day: Moving past the scars of 9/11
SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 11, 2015 – Since the days of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have been affected in direct or indirect ways by the attacks upon the nation, upon the property, upon the American way of life. It seems Americans have been most affected in a shift in attitudes toward the Muslims in this country and throughout the world.
To some extent, the attack ostensibly created a “we vs. them” mentality among a majority of Americans as they viewed Muslims with a pervasive suspicion. It also divided the political parties and news media, and thus the American people, as to what our government needed to do in response to such insidious and destructive terrorism.
The attacks were not just aggressively and strategically targeting buildings and destroying human beings with synchronized, military-like precision on Sept. 11, 2001. The specter still haunts many Americans, and the attacks have left a scar upon the nation internally within the minds and hearts of the populace.
Severe divisions have erupted like gigantic earthquake-like fissures between the core of the two major political parties. Divisions have been thrust like wedges where differences previously existed, yet did not threaten the very social and political fabric of the United States. Differences between people such as race and class have been exacerbated and seemingly exploited during this time.
Today, the United States today shows up more as a Divided States of America.
Politically, since the 2008 presidential campaign, the Democrats seem to have been driving this divisiveness for political gains across the nation, not only at the highest level of the government. The Democrats used this strategy in the 2004 election, in which John Kerry challenged George W. Bush. Kerry was good at anti-war and was trotted out by the party to generate doubt among the American people about the wisdom of going into Iraq to secure the WMDs. That strategy missed the mark and a new strategy had to be created.
Since 2004, leaders of the GOP seem to have been sitting on their hands, almost like the image of the three monkeys: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
The deepest and most serious question after the attacks upon our country should be: Do Americans feel safe anymore in a world filled terror? Do Americans even feel safe at home?
Minus all of the mindless distractions, the populace could not be defined as terror-stricken, yet there is doubt that Americans are safe in the world at large and doubt that citizens are even safe within the borders. The chaos and premeditated violence that exists in the cities of world is now on the streets of Ferguson, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore and so on across the country. Police are viewed by a certain segment of the population as the enemy, and the media constantly barrage the public with news of a white policeman shooting a black person while ignoring the insane criminal activities and high rate of black-on-black murders within those inner cities.
A great many Americans are uncertain whether the current administration is helping to deflate the urban violence or amplify it. Such doubt perplexes people. Law and order is not currently something that seems to be assured by the federal government on many fronts, especially when the Constitution seems to be so easily violated at the highest levels of government. Yet, the nation was founded upon the very precept that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” constructed with its “foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”
Are those fundamental values irrelevant today? Has the general populace accepted that this nation is no different from any other, without such values?
Confusion permits chaos. Clarity brings forth the ability to decide and to act. In this time in history, Americans should remember 9/11 and the days since. Now Americans refer to this day as Patriot Day as a way to remember those brave men and women who put aside their confusion to enter into chaos, into the danger zone to help save and serve their fellow human beings caught in harm’s way. Some of those people worked for the local or national government and some of those patriots were simply attempting to secure safety and well-being for their fellow citizens. In that moment there was little division; in that moment existed a people united.
In that moment in history there were Americans, even those from foreign nations who were included in the unified effort to help save and serve fellow human beings. People were not viewed as black or Asian or Hispanic or Jewish or Muslim or viewed as different in some way.
The police who risked their lives were there because they were sworn to protect and serve their fellow citizens. They were not viewed as thugs in uniforms, as they are seen by some today. The people were displaying the best that was within them. Yet, on the other end of the spectrum, the terrorists were displaying that they were willing to destroy lives, innocent lives, for their ends.
Intelligent people may want to ask if there were an effort to advance a fight for freedom, the question remains: freedom for whom? A supreme irony is that the government that harbored Al Qaeda was the Taliban, a Muslim fundamentalist regime based upon Shariah law that permitted very little freedom for the women within the society, with very little tolerance for any non-believers and non-conformists. Such a government would seemingly be the kind which Osama bin Laden would have supported wholeheartedly.
Patriot Day should be a day of remembrance. It should be a day, not only for remembering and honoring the brave patriots who sacrificed for others, but for remembering why they did what they did. They were Americans who loved their lives, loved their families and their way of life. They felt that it was necessary to do something and they did it, at the risk of their lives.
Safety and happiness were at the core of those patriots on that day. We were united in that moment. Let us look past the scars and reignite the unity and move beyond the calculated and contrived divisiveness that the powers on high seem to be content with. This is America – the land of the free and the home of the brave!