There will be Americans voting in the 2020 election who were not born before September 11, 2001. It marks the first such presidential election in which a large swath of voters were either not born yet or not old enough to understand what was happening in America during the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. It’s an election in which many voters have forgotten some of the tremendous lessons learned on that day and the weeks, months, and years following it.
But this isn’t about politics. For once, I am not going to be promoting Republicans or attacking Democrats. Let us focus on Americans as a whole, as a unified body of free people with the power to make a difference in our own lives. This is a power that is not shared by much of the world. It’s with this power that America was able to quickly rebound and rebuild following the tragedy.
There were things that happened that were not about rebuilding. Many of us thought they were at the time, but we can look at the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, and the ongoing military presence in Afghanistan as “solutions” that didn’t quite align with the problems. We believed radical Islamic terrorism spearheaded by al Qaeda and engineered by Osama bin Laden was the greatest threat to our safety. In part, we were correct, and in part the solutions instituted by the Bush and Obama administration worked. We know this because there hasn’t been anything in America that has approached the death and destruction felt on 9/11.
We’ve enjoyed 18 years of general safety in the states. In Benghazi, Libya, four Americans learned safety on 9/11 did not always extend outside our borders. This is a lesson in itself as anyone stationed or living abroad must contend with the risks associated with being from a country that is generally hated by a large portion of the world.
Even as our own safety from terrorism has been mostly maintained, there have still been attacks. There have been near-misses. In fact, few people outside of the Pentagon and Department of Justice are fully aware of what attacks have been thwarted before carnage could ensue. We hear about some of them, but it’s standard operating procedure to keep details about failed terrorist activities under wraps if information can be gleaned from them. For all we know, there could have been dozens, even hundreds of attacks similar to 9/11 in scope and scale that have been prevented through the efforts of law enforcement, the guidance of our intelligence community, and the Grace of God.
We must remain diligent. We must know our enemies, some of whom could be living among us today. There are those who point to radical Islam as the sole source of these threats, but this is an incorrect assumption. Today, the threats of terrorism come from many different angles. Domestic terrorists come in all races, religions, sexes, and ideologies. They come from the left, right, and center. We should be just as fearful of Antifa, white supremacists, and any small group of people who have the incentive and resources to commit acts of terrorism as we were following 9/11 of radical jihadists.
These lessons were initially learned following the 2001 terrorist attacks and they’ve been honed over the years as we realize a sad reality: Today, the hatred towards America, its people, and what we represent has spread everywhere. It isn’t just coming from the caves of Afghanistan or a villa in Pakistan. It’s coming from China, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran. It’s coming from places we wouldn’t normally expect as hatred towards America spreads across Europe, Asia, and Africa. It’s being brought to the surface domestically as more and more Americans use the freedoms they have to inject their hateful views about the United States into others willing to see their own nation as a source of evil in the world.
The biggest lesson we must relearn as a people is that our strength is in unity. Day-to-day, we live out battles as Democrats versus Republicans, Jews versus Muslims, progressives versus conservatives, men versus women, straight versus LGBTQ, Caucasian versus minority… the list of conflicts in religion, culture, and politics is endless. We have the right to fight these battles because we have the freedom to express our views as Americans. But we must remember that despite our differences, we are all Americans. There may be those among us who hate our nation, but there are enough people who love the United States that our biggest problems can be solved, or at least the damage from these problems can be mitigated.
On 9/11, let’s remember how fortunate we are to be Americans regardless of the intersectionality or ideology that supposedly separates us.
Today, there are more dangerous forces wanting to kill Americans than there were 18 years ago. Now is the time for American unity. It’s a time to remember our blessings, put politics aside, and fix our problems as One Nation Under God.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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