This coming Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. It was one of the saddest days in our nation’s history. Four coordinated terrorist attacks took the lives of 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 more. Additional people died of cancer and respiratory diseases related to the attack over the following months and years.
On that day, our nation changed. For all of us, whether we were affected directly by the attack or not, things did change if only for a few months. During that time we came together in unity over something that was much more important than our petty differences.
Some felt strongly that this event would unify a divided country for years to come. Sadly, that would not be the case.
Mere months after 150 members of Congress sang “God Bless America” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building, directly after the attack, political hatred against parties resumed.
In 2002, Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, a disabled army war veteran of the Vietnam War and recipient of the Silver and Bronze Star for valor in combat, was challenged for his lack of patriotism when running for re-election to the Georgia State Senate. He lost that election.
In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was attacked on the embellishment of his military record. He ultimately lost that presidential race.
Then in the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain, who had been a prisoner of the Vietnam war for 5½ years, was accused of “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” during the election. McCain also lost his bid for presidency.
The 2012 presidential race was similar for Republican Mitt Romney who was labeled a “misogynist,” meaning “to be strongly prejudiced against women.” This too resulted in a loss in the election.
The 2016 presidential election, well, we were all there. We know how bad it got between candidates. And honestly, there’s not enough room on this page to cover all of it. So, let’s leave it at that.
The 2020 Presidential election hasn’t even started and the bombs are dropping. We can be pretty certain it will be as bad as the 2016 election.
It’s sad when you think about it. As a nation we can come together, putting our opinions and disagreements aside when tragedy strikes, but we allow ourselves to be pulled right back into divisiveness by our political leaders.
The divisiveness that plagues our nation didn’t start with Trump, Obama, Bush or even Clinton. It started much longer ago. However, social media did bring it to the level that it is at today.
Politicians should not have control over your sadness, frustrations, hatred or even happiness. Those internal emotions are controllable, which should be yours alone.
Sure, we all have the right to disagree with each other. I have close family members and friends that I do not agree with on a number of issues. But that’s OK. We simply agree to disagree and move on. And we love each other the same after.
Sept. 11, 2001, will go down in our history books as one of the most terrible days our nation has seen. I hope and pray we never have to endure another day like that. I also hope and pray that one day we will not allow our political frustrations to control how we treat each other. Government has enough control as it is.