Unity as Americans

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

For Americans living across the U.S., Sept. 11, 2001 was a day filled with horror, angst and trial as our nation saw one of the most horrific attacks in history — changing our nation, our world and how we live our lives.

The changes have been far and wide, and has been on both the positive and negative ends of the spectrum, from increased sensitivity to other cultures to those who wish people with brown skin to leave their neighborhoods.

One positive outcome from the terror we felt as a nation, albeit fleeting, was the collective faith, resilience, strength and love that transcended partisan politics and other barriers that too often divide us.

In the months following 9/11, we weren’t Republicans or Democrats. We were Americans.

It seemed like citizen leaders, voters and even politicians removed the labels of their parties and united under the stars and stripes of independence as one nation.

We weren’t white Americans or African-Americans. We were simply Americans.

It’s a sad commentary to note that in just over a decade, the post-9/11 unity has given way to poisonous politics where legitimate debates over policy have become intensely personal.

We argue that the same poison leeched into Charlottesville on Aug. 12 when chaos, mayhem and violence came to the city’s downtown district when hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members sparred and fought with counterprotesters in the city.

It’s the same poison that has tainted the wells of politicians across the nation — notably those in Washington, D.C., who employ political tactics to divide rather than to reunite, and to defeat rather than uplift.

As we continue to reflect on 9/11 and mourn its many victims, let us recommit to the nonpartisan principles that built our great country — faith, charity, patriotism and respect for dissenting viewpoints.

We have big problems to tackle in America. Disagreement about the way to fix them is natural, even healthy. Personally attacking those we disagree with has no place in the process.