Our national anthem begins with a question. As Americans, it’s our duty to answer it. But not every American has the same answer or vision for our future.
While most of our differences are what make us a robust, diverse nation, there comes a point in which our differences grow too hostile and form a void too dark and deep to hold together the fragile bonds of this American experiment.
America in 2021 is a nation on the brink. The history is yet to be written, and our leaders’ decisions over the next several years could spell disaster or triumph for our country.
But it’s not the leaders or the economy or global relations that define America’s culture and intrinsic values. It’s we the people.
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists successfully hijacked several passenger planes and killed thousands of Americans.
In response, we set aside our differences and helped our fellow citizens in their hour of need. Desperately needed supplies were sent to New York City. Prayers were shared worldwide. We mourned the dead and proudly displayed our American flags.
Like a phoenix from the ashes came the Freedom Tower, standing proudly 1776 feet above the ground.
We showed the world that we would come together for each other and defend our homeland, because in America, we didn’t care where you came from or what you believed. We only cared that you were an American, for this land is my land and this land is your land.
But this is the year 2021. We’ve reached a stalemate with our fellow Americans. Like an unhealthy marriage nearing
its bitter end, we refuse to engage in productive, respectful discourse. Anyone with an opposing thought has been blocked.
We’ve become obsessed once more with uncontrollable physical traits, judging people not for who they are on the inside
but what they look like on the outside. For a friendship to bloom, it must pass several screenings to ensure both parties have the correct stance on mask mandates, vaccines, abortion and immigration.
Americans with conflicting views is nothing new. Such differences are not only expected, but welcome in a nation that values free speech and individuality.
But what happened to our unifying beliefs and American values? Our decency? Our civility? Since when was it controversial to be a patriot? Where did that sense of national unity we felt surging through our souls on Sept. 11 vanish?
Is this but a hiccup in our progress as one nation under God? Or does it foreshadow something far more sinister looming on the horizon? Do we truly wish to know the answer? Or do we go forth into the foggy future with our fingers crossed?
As Americans, it is imperative we don’t let our differences become the very things that destroy us. It is our diversity of thought and beliefs that makes us strong, but such differences have become our Achille’s heel, patiently eroding our national spirit, identity and unity.
So how does a Republican avoid the derision of a Democrat? How does a liberal survive the condemnation of a conservative?
If such questions had a simple answer, there’d be no need for this piece of writing. But a good start would be to learn the lessons of history. Not even the Roman Empire could survive after it split in two.
Our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum”, Latin for “Of Many, One” stands today as a proud principle of our nation.
Yes, we have many states, beliefs, backgrounds, values, ethics, opinions, feelings, views, perspectives. But in the end, we are one.
Together, we define our future.
You and I, in our brief moment here, can either accept that sacred responsibility to heal the void, or we can live in contempt as we mock, judge, and insult our way to the graveyard of nations past.
As President Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.
Lest we forget.
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