The Squandered 9/11 Opportunity

Today will be filled with tributes to the fallen of 9/11. We will celebrate the people and their stories of heroism. Today will be a packed morning celebrating, reflecting and embracing that tragic day. I remember where I was and will never forget that morning.  I can’t imagine anyone not remembering where they were. It was a tragic day for me, my friends, my family and the entire country. We were all devastated and hurt from 9/11.

What won’t be discussed, or talked about, or addressed however, is the deep political fissure which exists in our country post 9/11. This fissure was not caused by 9/11. However, 9/11 could have prevented it. 9/11 should have been a catalyst to bring the country together. 9/11 had the ability to strengthen this country. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

What makes me sad is, as we reflect on this infamous day, the country is bitterly divided.  Partisan politics rules. Washington’s political strategy appears to be aimed not at moving the country forward but destroying the President or protecting him; regardless of what is right for the country. Self-serving agendas drive decisions. We’ve lost site of what’s important for the nation. We’ve squandered the greatest and most positive opportunity created by 9/11; the ability to come together as a country.

9/11 gave us the opportunity to come together as a nation. It challenged us to put our differences aside. It’s called for us to embrace what makes us great; diversity, the American Dream, immigration, freedom, rights of the individual, and the constitution. We haven’t grasped the opportunity from 9/11. We haven’t come together as a country, we’ve become more divided.

This is not an issue of ones politics. Diversity of thought is a key tenant of the country. It’s the way we go about promoting our agenda or lack of promoting it that is troubling. There is little promotion of ones ideas and approaches and lots of destruction of the opposition. We spend more time than ever trying to destroy those with differing opinions than trying to promote our beliefs on their merit. We’ve become angry.  We squabble and bicker while little get’s solved. We live in neighborhoods where everyone thinks and acts like we do. Not only do we have little patience for diversity of thought, we now have little patience for the person or persons who holds it. We have contempt for those who don’t see things the way we do. We have put our own selfish agendas above the needs of the country. The media, once sworn to unbiased reporting, fuels the fissure. Our division has moved beyond ideology. We’ve now made it personal and that is a problem.

The best and only good thing that could have come from 9/11 is the uniting of the country and we blew it. We are more divided than ever.  We’ve become a nation of rhetoric and soundbites and it’s killing us.  We’ve squandered an amazing opportunity created from a horrible tragedy.

All this being said it doesn’t mean we can’t turn it around.  In an effort to influence a new direction, I remind us all of a very simple phrase we all said every morning and that my kids still do . . . “United we stand, divided we fall.”

It’s time to stop dividing!

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