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The State of the Union
by Jon Alvarez
11 September 2003World Trade Center

9-11 has proven to be not only a national tragedy, but a polarizing event as well.


As we approach the two-year anniversary of 9-11, it's important that we reflect back on what has taken place in such a relatively short period of time.  The United States has liberated the people of Afghanistan and Iraq from their oppressive rulers, we've dealt serious blows to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and we've drawn a proverbial line in the sand to determine who is with us and who is not in the war on terror.  We are at war with terrorism around the globe. We've experienced a resurgence in American patriotism as well as love of flag and country.  However, we are also faced with a virtual civil war in this country over ideologies and how to effectively govern and protect America.  9-11 has proven to be not only a national tragedy, but a polarizing event as well.  It will be interesting to see how those on the left attempt to hijack this sacred day to promote their own agenda of hatred towards President Bush.

How has 9-11 impacted life in America?  Some like myself saw it as a reality check, a wake-up call of sorts.  Prior to 9-11, many Americans existed simply to go to work, raise a family, and try to stay ahead of the rat race as best they could.  Some may have voted, some may have done some volunteer work; some may have even gotten to know their neighbors.  Post 9-11, we are seeing a more energized American populace as more get involved in politics, volunteerism, and a greater sense of the American community.  Examine the behavior following the Blackout of 2003.  People were civil to each other and many went out of their way to be helpful.  Americans took a horrific event and used it to enrich their lives.  The heroism of Tom Burnett of Flight 93 impacted me in such a way that I felt the need to re-prioritize my life in order to become a better all-around person.

We've also witnessed the growth of a vicious and mean-spirited anti-Bush movement over the past two years. It grew quite rapidly during the course of the administration's efforts to force Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions to disarm and has since turned into a full-fledged campaign to destroy the man most responsible for leading us through these most difficult of times.  Since when have we found it acceptable to compare a president to Adolf Hitler?  It truly baffles me as to how some Americans can equate this wonderfully free country to that of Nazi Germany.

While President Bush has managed to prevent further attacks on American soil by terrorist groups associated with radical Islam, our country is still, nonetheless, under attack.  Our culture, our norms, and our values are all under attack from within our borders.  It's important for Americans to recognize from where these threats emanate.  These are the same groups that prevent us from dealing with the terrorist threat directly both abroad and within America.  We know the skin color and religious affiliation of those that wish to murder us, yet we must carry on some kind of facade that requires us to inspect elderly women and children at our airports.  To use a common sense approach to dealing with this threat would invite lawsuits and more criticism from the vocal minority of the anti-American left.  We are at war, yet are being hindered to the point where our resolve is being questioned and our enemy is emboldened.  I fear that we still have an atmosphere within this society that lends itself to another devastating attack.  When will we get serious about this war?

Our country is most certainly at a crossroads as we approach 2004.  This is such an important election, as it will dictate the path our country takes in dealing with the threat of terrorism.  My main concern is with the misinformed masses, many of whom will possibly be casting a vote.  They have been bombarded with so many biased news accounts from the liberal media that the Democratic opposition might as well be broadcasting it.  While the Democratic candidates and their allies continue to alienate themselves from mainstream Americans who do know the score, it's the voters who confuse Miguel Estrada with Erik Estrada that I'm worried about.

Many of the Democratic candidates, especially the Dean campaign, seem to be drawing most of their support from the fringe left, the rabid anti-war activists.  Americans have let it be known since 9-11 that security is the most vital issue.  However, Democrats favor the weakening of our military might.  Signs at campaign rallies support this, with "Shrink Our Military" being one sign recently spotted at a Kerry function in Massachusetts.  Democrats and their liberal supporters apologize for our greatness as a country and world power.  Dennis Kucinich would prefer we surrender American autonomy to the United Nations.  Columnists and blatantly biased Bush-bashers Molly Ivins and Maureen Dowd appear to agree with Kucinich, since they condemn weekly every action President Bush takes.  For some reason, those on the left side of the political spectrum feel it's best that America be ruled by world consensus.  This despite the fact that we've witnessed the downfall of the UN as a viable political entity.  Americans have also discovered that the UN is unable to distinguish between good and evil.  So will Americans vote for the political party that favors a weak military and strong UN role?

Since 9-11 we've had zero attacks on our country.  President Bush has been likened to a cowboy, for his talk tough and go-it-alone attitude.  It reminds me of the Kurt Russell movie Tombstone.  Wyatt Earp also had a coalition of the willing, aiding him in rooting out and killing the bad guys.  Since we've recognized that appeasement doesn't work and negotiating with terrorists doesn't work, that leaves us with only one other option:  hunt them down and kill them.   It's no wonder some Muslim groups in America are now organizing to oppose President Bush in the next election.  They've openly opposed most of the actions of President Bush to get tough with terrorists, yet they refuse to police their own community.

While 9-11 sent a wake-up call to many Americans, it has also proved to be a polarizing event.  The sad thing is that during these dire times, we should be able to present a united front.  The reality is that many seem to have forgotten what it felt like to watch those towers burn on that fateful day in September.  President Bush has confronted the threat posed by terrorism in the same manner the passengers of Flight 93 did:  head on.  He seems to be aware, as were those brave Americans, that there is no negotiating with terrorism.  We did not ask for this, we knew it would not be easy, and we cannot back down from it.  Let's not forget that important lesson which we should have learned by now from the brave passengers of Flight 93.

Jon Alvarez is a free-lance writer and the founder of PABAAH, Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood
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