That Brief Post 9/11 Feeling is Long Gone by
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Prompted By Disunited States

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Like the majority of Americans, I didn’t vote for George W. Bush. I was bitter that the Supreme Court made him president by stopping the Florida recount. I thought Al Gore had actually won, as he did win the popular vote. Truth be told, I enjoyed laughing at W’s gaffs and enjoyed Will Ferrell’s impersonations on Saturday Night Live. To me he will always be “Dubya,” reading The Pet Goat to second graders when disaster struck.

Our country’s response of togetherness and patriotism in the immediate aftermath of the terrorists bring down the Twin Towers with airplanes was the last time I remembered feeling a sense of unity in our country.

Our country’s response of togetherness and patriotism in the immediate aftermath of the terrorists bringing down the Twin Towers with airplanes was the last time I remembered feeling a sense of unity in our country. I have written many times about how we managed to get through that day at the preschool I directed. How we went outside at lunch time and sang, joined by the workers next door and random passersby. Our music teacher taught the children God Bless America. I joined patriotic vigils, waved American flags, and felt a sense of unity in my community and our country.

I don’t remember how long that lasted, but disillusionment followed, as we launched a war against Iraq, tortured/water-boarded prisoners, and created the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison. By then, we were back in our red/blue, conservative/liberal corners.

Now, that even divisiveness looks pretty quaint. Fifteen years ago, we elected Barak Obama and joyous crowds celebrated hope and change in Chicago’s Grant Park. I thought this was it, the moment when newer voters spoke and the popular vote actually matched the Electoral College. Things would be different going forward. What I didn’t see in my euphoria was the bigotry, hatred, and division simmering under the surface. I thought the Trump campaign to find Obama’s birth real certificate, proving he was not a native born American, was a joke rather than anger that a Black man was our President. I thought that Trump was a joke, bully, and an attention seeking fraud. And I still do.

But as 2016’s election revealed, enough people in the right states saw Trump as a savior. All of the anger and crawled out from its hiding place and made this awful man President. And he was even a worse President than I feared he would be. Yet, this twice-impeached, four times indicted man, a convicted rapist in civil court, is likely to be the Republican nominee next year. His MAGA faction has a huge, faithful following. All manner of prejudice has emerged, and we live in a very divided country.

While I cling to the hope that he will be soundly defeated and perhaps even convicted of a serious crime before the election, images of Charlottesville and January 6 run through my head. The election deniers from 2000 refuse to be denied again. No matter the result of the 2024 election, I’m sure I will never see people of both parties, as well as independents, waving American flags in unity.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. I am sorry to say Laurie that you are right on every point you made.

    Heaven help our very sorry and divided country – and world – if the unthinkable happens in the next presidential election.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I agree, Dana. Trump is so vengeful, stupid, unqualified, bigoted, dishonest, etc. And yet, he could win because Biden is perceived as too old. I tend to agree that I would like to see a new generation of leadership on both sides.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    The divisions we see now are not simply small fluctuations in normal democratic processes—things are really broken. It is terrifying to think of the future for many reasons. But everything each of us does is still important.

  3. I do not hope for the best – I pray for the best.

  4. Help!!!!
    My mother fled Ukraine. Grew up in Boston. . During the Vietnam War, she considered moving to Canada. She has always considered leaving
    when the shadow of her childhood’s escape appeared threatened again.
    Consequently, taking my family, dog and cats, and library from our home on Star Lake in MN. to Canada is not a totally strange idea. I am probably too old. to survive the trip or to remain independent. But, the memory of my mother’s behavior to think of herself as a refugee who could find happiness or escape possesses my imagination when I regard the possibilities that might descend on America.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    While I was away on vacation, I read Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent book on the subject you’ve discussed here, Laurie. I highly recommend it. I am entirely in your camp (no big surprise there). I am horrified at the thought that millions of people think that the Orange Monster is their savior. But that is the play of the Authoritarian, who has convinced those poor people that he, alone, can guide them to their promised land. Heaven help us if he is ever in power again.

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