America dangerously divided 20 years later

One enduring legacy from the terror attacks of 2001 that echoes more loudly each year is how the nation at a time of dire need and crisis came together.

That just doesn’t happen any more.

Polling republished this month by the Pew Research Center recalls how Americans spoke with one voice after nearly 3,000 were killed. There were equal measures of sadness and anger regardless of political affiliation. Politicians of both parties stood on the Capitol steps and sang “God Bless America.”

Bipartisanship and record-high trust in America

The Senate authorized the use of military force against Afghanistan, where al-Qaida terrorists were based, by 98-0 with two members not voting, and the House of Representatives by 420 to 1, with 10 not voting.

After the U.S. military was unleashed, 83% of Americans approved. Meanwhile, nearly 8 in 10 Americans displayed the flag. More than 6 in 10 felt a surge of patriotism. And there was record-high trust in the federal government and record-high approval ratings for President George W. Bush and even the news media. 

These days, the United States loses the equivalent of a 9/11 attack – some 3,000 people – every second or third day to COVID-19.

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The disease virus has killed more than 650,000 in the United States. And yet far from responding with one voice, Americans can’t even agree to vaccinate themselves and end this nightmare.

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