1. The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
Today across the Nation many people are mourning/reflecting/honoring/ (take your pick I have heard them all today) the lives lost 11 years ago. As a Nation we are asking ourselves if we are safer than we were before September 11, 2001. Will terrorist hit us again? Who should we be afraid of? I say, no we are not safer than before, but not for the reasons you might think; our country is eroding from the inside out; we are doing it to ourselves. We need to stop terrorizing each other.
As a Nation, we have become increasingly divided and vitriolic. We are letting our political views define who we think we are, and who those who are around us. Instead of respecting other’s points of views, we are becoming intolerant of any view that clashes with our own. Just as the suicide bombers allow their ideologue to turn to hate, we lash out at those who disagree with us. When we try to tear each other down with words and deeds, we are no better than those who crashed planes into the World Trade Centers. If anything, we are helping those who hate us.
Think I am being hyperbolic? Take the story of the republican pizza restaurant owner who hugged President Obama the other day. First, read Dictionary.Com’s definition of terrorist I posted at the top of my post, then read this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/scott-van-duzer-big-apple-pizza-yelp-bear-hug_n_1871329.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular. (Go ahead, I’ll wait)
This is a man who does not let his political views cloud his judgment. He is a registered republican, who weighed the issues that were important to him and voted for who he thought best represented them; turns out it was a democrat. The president went to see him to thank him for his involvement in his local community. Van Duzer frequently hosts blood drives. So what did this nice man, whom obviously cares about his community get for his warm welcome to the President? He got a bunch of nasty Yep reviews from people who never even ate at his restaurant! Fellow American citizens were getting on the site for one purpose only, to tear down his business. Yes, this big-hearted man received intimidation threats for political purposes. This is home grown terrorism.
This is just one example, luckily for Van Duzer, others came to his defense and Yelp pulled the nasty reviews from their site. We find this sort of nasty divisive fighting every day now. One does not have to look far for more examples. It seems no matter what the subject, online discussion threads turn nasty as people try to intimidate and coerce others for political purposes. We are tearing each other apart, bit-by-bit, day-by-day.
If we truly want to honor those whose lives were lost to foreign terrorists, if we truly want to heal as a Nation we have to step back and look at where we are headed. It’s okay to disagree with others who do not share our views or our religious values. It’s not okay to let our opinions get the better of us. In fact, before we even form opinions, we should damn well know the facts of the issues our opinions are based on. Those who used the Koran as an excuse to blow us up did not fully understand the text. They took much of it out of context and used it for political purposes. Every time we voice an uneducated opinion, or twist facts to suit our ideas, we are no better than those tried to pull us down on 9/11.
We are quickly becoming a Nation who views those with different views as “other”. We are no longer a strong Nation of one; we are fragmenting into smaller like-minded groups, and it is going to bite us all. As the Great Patrick Henry once said “United we stand, divided we fall”. If we fall, we will have no one but ourselves to blame.