But six years have now passed, and we are where we are. It was a logical response the country made, to go to war with those who had begun a war with us. But despite the tragedy the befell those people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, the days that followed were days of unity our country had not seen since World War II. I suppose it was logical that those events would spring division among the people of our country as well. But for a time, we were a country united. We weren’t Democrats or Republicans. We were all Americans. Everyone of us.
American flags sprang up in front yards and on front porches. There was no aisle separating our elected leaders as there is now and as there was before. There was a sense of pride in being an American and having the ability to rebuild from the ashes.
I remember how everyone rallied around President Bush and those images of him holding a loudspeaker, speaking to the heroes that saved many lives that day. He was every American’s leader during those times.
But now the aisle is back. Divisiveness rules the capital perhaps more now than it ever has. Democrats stall bills simply because a Republican sponsored them, just as the Republican led congress did only months ago.
It seems that our elected representatives have forgotten what it was to be under attack. We were lulled into a sense of security in the years that passed following that day in 2001. Sure, we were scared a couple of times, but we got over it and got back to business as usual. We again became a country divided, only this time something was radically different.
There were two sides, and no one could be in the middle. President Bush saw to that when he made his decree that it you’re not with him, you’re against him. He obviously wasn’t just talking about other nations, but people in his own nation as well. Seeing those images of him sitting next to Nancy Pelosi last year, just after the Democrats gained control of Congress, was more like our president sitting next to a foreign leader than a leader from one of our own 50 states. Neither seemed comfortable in that setting. It seems now that we are only the United States by name, and not by actions.
But there are people in this great country of ours that seek to unite, to do away with the division that has been wrought upon the country in the past six years. They’re the every day citizens, who would rather see our country stand as one rather than lay down in pieces as the world catches up to all that we’ve accomplished in the past 60 years. They’re the families of those people who were lost forever. They’re the voters who stand in line on Election Day to practice their rights in a democratic society. They’re the future generations who have yet to have a chance to become.
There used to be an ideal of America. An ideal where we could work through our differences rather than end sessions of legislation having accomplished little more than to anger the other side for the sake of saving face politically. There used to be an ideal of America, and there still is. We just have to look back to yesterday and find it. We found it not too long ago, in those days following tragedy. I hope it won’t take another tragedy before we find that ideal again.