There are certain historical moments that are
seared into our memories. These moments recede into our subconsciousness, but rise again on the anniversaries of those events. This week on September 11th, we were flooded with emotions as we recalled that tragic day that redefined our lives as Americans.
We were all united as a country in our suffering that day. People felt the need to do something. There was a surge in patriotism in response to the fall of the towers. Volunteerism and charitable giving increased.
Now, 18 years later, our country is
more divided than ever before.
A Gallop poll found that
today American patriotism is at a recorded low - a definite casualty of our sharply polarized political climate. The decline reflects plummeting pride among Democrats since Trump took office, even as Republican pride has edged higher.
Political discourse and hateful rhetoric are now the ever present themes of our daily lives, incessantly fueled by the President. This has led to record increase in hate crimes. Since 9/11,
right-wing groups have killed more people than jihadist terrorists, according to CNN.
The spirit of solidarity lasted for a time after that September morning, but it quickly evaporated giving rise to xenophobia aimed at Muslims and anyone that did not look "like us."
Today it is embodied in the Administration's policies against immigrants. Trump has
encouraged hate to be embraced in the daylight. He has hijacked patriotism and turned it into nationalism, which is based on loyalty to a nation and a group of people who share a racial origin.
Hateful rhetoric that demonizes groups or individuals weakens us as a country.
Racial division and fear are now used as political tools to engage and motivate people.
We can bring back the spirit that united us on September 11th by
coming together again as a nation to engage in government in a positive way. Get involved. Support candidates and vote - one the most patriotic things we can do as citizens.
Patriotism should not be only for national tragedies. Let it be our guiding light, leading our country back to a better place for all.