Most Americans in their 30s can tell you where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. We remember the fear as the second plane struck the sec- ond tower. And then the third hit the Pentagon. And then the fourth was headed toward the U.S. Capitol or White House, we later learned, before some true American heroes took down the terrorists and thwarted their evil plan.
Most of us can remember almost every detail from that day.
The memory that endures — and sadly, is hardest to fathom today — is the unity that the people and politicians of the country showed on Sept. 11 and the days that followed.
We were all Americans. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. Not black or white. Not rich or poor. Not gay or straight.
We were all attacked, so we all mourned together and we all wanted to fight back together. Firefighters, police and all first-responders were held in the highest esteem and respect for their willingness to sacrifice themselves to save others.
It’s hard to believe that was only 17 years ago. Then, we were more unified than at any time in recent mem- ory. And now, we’re more divided than in any time in recent memory. And that goes for our country and our community.
We’ve got the stark divide between those who don’t want special treatment for the privileged class and those who expect the special treatment that they have been led to believe is their birthright. Too many people look at the “who” instead of listening to the “what.” They believe in a person, then find everything they can to support their belief in that person and everything they can against the people who dare dis- agree, then spread it to the masses.
Just last week, at least three memes were shared hundreds of thousands of times and they were 100 percent fabricated and false. But because people wanted to believe them, they became outraged and started spreading them around without even taking a second to check Snopes or one of the other fact-checking sites on the Internet.
No, it fit their narrative, so it must be true. That’s where we are now. Conservatives and liberals are both guilty of it. And those who spread the crap are un- apologetic because, in their minds, they’re helping the cause of the greater good. But the fact is, you’re part of the problem that’s tearing us apart.
If there were some way we could harness the spirit of togetherness that we had 17 years ago — without the senseless death of 3,000 fellow Americans and the sense of terror we felt while under attack — our coun- try would be great for everybody again.