We Need The Post 9/11 Spirit Of Unity

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[Black Star News Editorial]

After the September 11 attacks the United States enjoyed a level of national unity that was unprecedented and that may never occur again.

The sudden attacks on The World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and the plane that was forced to crash in Pennsylvania when passengers overpowered hijackers, stunned Americans into realization of what it meant to be collectively vulnerable.

There was a feeling of disbelief and unpalpable shock as the Towers, crashed by the planes, ultimately collapsed.

The sense of unity came from the knowledge that the victims of the attacks --even before they were named-- would include all races, all nationalities, all religions, and all genders-- could have been someone we all knew. They could have been any one of us.

The realization of possible common victimhood was what brought the nation together. In New York City, people came together even though the mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, had been the most racially polarizing politician in recent memory.

Nationally, the country was struggling to recover from the most divisive and disputed presidential election of our lifetimes. George W. Bush's legitimacy had been widely questioned and disputed; nothing had seemed to go right for his presidency.

Now suddenly, an attack from outside brought the nation together. Many countries around the world pledged solidarity with the United States and their support: There was a willingness to help the U.S. apprehend and punish those behind the attacks.

Today, as the U.S. remembers all the victims of the attacks 10 years ago, it suddenly seems such a long time ago, in many ways.

Osama bin Laden, who had boasted of being the spiritual mastermind and inspiration of the attacks is now dead. Many of those involved in the plots, but who were not on the planes, have also either been killed or captured.

Still, even as the nation today mourns the September 11 attacks it's clear that the unity that followed has, sadly, dissipated. The politicians, Republicans and Democrats, are at it again as demonstrated by the recent acrimonious "debate" over the debt ceiling limit and deficit; and now, the current divide over how to rescue the U.S. economy, mired in 9.1% unemployment, with more than 14 million people looking for work.

Selfishness and national myopia are the order of the day.

One would hope that we won't just make speeches and remember those who lost their lives those 10 years ago, today. One would hope that we could recapture some of that spirit of unity that the nation felt after the 9/11 attacks.

We certainly need a good dosage of a spirit of unity --and common purpose-- to deal with the national challenges, including the possibility of the nation sliding back into full recession.

The message is more so applicable to our politicians.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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