As a child, this is what I knew to be true. I grew up and was a part of the greatest nation in the world. We didn’t stand for injustice and felt all people deserved the chance to improve themselves and their lot in life. Regardless of your skin color, your religion or country of origin, you deserved to be treated like an individual. Our rights do not depend on these specificities. It is truth.
Over the last few decades, my impression has changed. It’s as if this truth has seemed to escape us. Or perhaps I can. September 11, 2001 changed the lives of every American permanently. During those first few moments of blissful ignorance to terrorist attacks in our country, it was just silence. No one could even wrap their head around something like that could be done on purpose. It’s a day that effects who we are now.
Since then, it feels as if hate and anger have taken over as law of the land. The fear of anyone different and the anger towards anything we each individually do not understand is rampant. I never thought I would see this kind of reaction or actions from the people of my country. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
There are issues that I’m passionate about and hold dear to my heart. What I find so odd now is that if someone disagrees with them, I get accused of hating the opposing view or person. I don’t understand how this happened. When did we become these people? When did we change the meaning of disagreeing with someone to hating them? Was it that moment the second plane hit? Or is this newer?
When did my country become one that lived out of fear? When did we become a nation that no longer trusts or tries to understand? These were the fundamentals my mother taught me, and it’s been intense to watch my country behave so differently than what I was taught to expect from it. It’s as if we’re all going through some sort of existential crisis at the same time, and we’re all fighting for our individual ways of life.
I never thought I would see so many people fear that their lives were line in a nation that was based on freedom. I had thought these times were in our past\ and that we had matured as a people. Perhaps I’m just losing my rose colored glasses, but I feel as if we are tearing each other a part. It’s like we’ve each turned into bullies regardless of where and who we are in this life.
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about what is happening here at home. But it makes me uneasy. It scares me that the country I love and was so proud of, may not be who I thought it was. It may be a bit darker than I ever believed, even after learning all those dark moments in our history. I’m not sure I’m prepared for that.