I remember 9/11 quite vividly. I was starting my senior year of college. It’s hard to imagine America reacting any differently than we did. We came together. We were united against a common enemy, and we looked to our elected officials, who put any trace of partisanship aside, albeit for a short while, to defend our country and its ideals.
Less than a year prior the country was embroiled in a bitter feud over ballots and hanging chads in Florida. Democrats were stung badly by George W. Bush’s eventual victory, and many believed him to be an illegitimate president. Two years before that was Bill Clinton’s impeachment. It could easily be said that America hadn’t been so divided in decades. But, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, none of that mattered. We came together as a nation, putting our political differences aside. For a while, we emerged stronger than we were on 9/10/2011.
But, divisions over the Iraq War and the 2004 election eventually eroded that unity, and things became worse than ever. Still, the 9/11 terrorist attacks showed us that we could come together as a country, if even for a short while, and see each other as fellow Americans, not red and blue America.
The past few months have made it abundantly clear that this will never happen again.
The Obama years continued the ugly trend of partisan bitterness in unprecedented fashion. Despite campaigning as a uniter, Barack Obama shunned Republicans from the process of trying to get America back on track during the global recession, passing a ridiculously expensive and ultimately ineffective stimulus plan, and a national healthcare plan without Republican support.
After losing his majority in the House in 2010, rather than work with Republicans on compromise legislation, he unconstitutionally legislated via executive action, implementing the failed DREAM Act via executive order, amongst other liberal agenda items. Obama further stoked partisan divisions by using the power of government to target conservatives and conservative groups. His most egregious act, of course, was the spying on the campaign of Donald Trump without just cause.
Is it really any surprise that as a deadly virus out of China spread around the world, a country that should have come together to face the threat instead was torn apart by partisanship? Rather than unite against a common threat, the political left saw a political opportunity to blame Trump for the virus and the deaths caused by it.
Anti-Trumpism ran so deep that Trump was blamed for an elderly Arizona couple drinking fish tank cleaner (that had a chemical variant of chloroquine in it) to protect them from the coronavirus because Trump had touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential gamechanger in the fight against the coronavirus—ignoring the fact that the woman, who claimed she trusted Trump’s endorsement of the drug, was actually a prolific Democrat donor, rabidly anti-Trump, and had a history of domestic violence against her husband. His death is reportedly being investigated as a potential homicide.
That is just one of many false stories about Trump during the coronavirus pandemic that were spread for the sole purpose of undermining his potential reelection.
And then there’s the unrest in the aftermath of the death of African American George Floyd by a white police officer, which has sparked some peaceful protests and lots of riots in cities nationwide. Once again, the left saw a political opportunity and has sought to blame Trump for the unrest. For three and a half years we’ve watched the political left attempt to blame Trump for anything and everything they saw as an injustice. We’ve reached a point in our history where everything is seen through a political lens—as an opportunity to tear someone down to achieve a political objective.
The same people who wanted the country shut down, and even argued it didn’t happen quickly enough now are blaming Trump for the economic impact of that shutdown. These people also oppose calls to open up again out of fear the economic boom that would follow might help Trump.
The 9/11 attacks showed us we were capable of uniting as a nation. But, if such an attack happens again, I dare say we would not survive as a country. We would tear each other apart, stopping at nothing to ensure the other side gets the blame.
On a daily basis it becomes clearer we are two different countries failing to peacefully coexist. Quite frankly, I’m not sure what can be done about it.
America is fragile right now. Our enemies, foreign and domestic, know this and are trying to exploit that fragility.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis