Opposing Viewpoints: Is this nation united or divided a decade after 9/11?
The citizens of the United States are as united today as they were before and immediately following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01.
That might seem a foolish statement. One making that statement must admit that outward signs could be interpreted to indicate otherwise.
Our elected leaders are at each other’s throats over issue after issue. That often leads the electorate to follow suit.
In the aftermath of 9/11 we have witnessed the rise of the Tea Party which has made our political process more divisive — not worse, just more divisive.
President George W. Bush remains a controversial figure. The War Against Terrorism he initiated, with the consent of the U.S. Congress, divides families. The Patriot Act, which Bush and Congress passed, gave rise to unprecedented government power to intrude into our private lives. That divides us.
Yet, the vast majority of citizens remain united in the idea that allowing room for more than one point of view is what sets us apart. That is what makes this people and nation great.
That simple philosophy, laid down more than 200 years ago, was not destroyed on 9/11. If anything, it was strengthened. So, in the end what divides us ideologically is not nearly as strong as what unites us.
It is impossibly to deny the fact that the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2011, united the country in the months that followed the terrorist attacks.
Partisan bickering, which has existed just days before the county was attacked, was replaced by unity and patriotism, and one could not go one city block without seeing an American flag or other signs of country pride.
However, merely 10 years after the attacks, Americans seem to be even more divided than they were before the towers went down.
The partisan divide isn’t solely due to 9/11, but the actions that the country took in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks helped cause the divide between parties.
The Patriot Act and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although popular at their beginnings, became politically poisonous just years after being enacted. And while the country rallied around George W. Bush following the attacks, many became displeased with his efforts following 9/11 which helped start the toxic political environment that is seen today.
It is a sad sight to seen the opposing parties call the other side “terrorists,” tea-baggers” and “worse than al Qaeda,” but that is the political environment we live in today and may need to get used to.