Patriotism Needs Prudence

As a war with Iraq looms eerily over the horizon, the United States should be more unified and patriotic than ever. However, as it stands today, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, our nation is currently one divided over the prospect of war, as some people are in favor of it, while others are in complete opposition.

One year ago at this time, the United States was truly a special country, standing strong as one proud nation under the red, white, and blue. After Sept. 11, 2001, the United States was immersed in a feeling of national pride and patriotism that transcended the barriers of race, age, and social class. We were no longer individuals, but instead, we were one collective group.

We were Americans. In the days following the “Attack on America,” you couldn’t walk down the street without being submerged in a plethora of flags, vigils, and the singing of “God Bless America.” For many of us, it was the first time we really understood what it meant to be an American.

Sadly, however, as time passed, the United States reverted back to its old habits, and the colors of the flag began to fade into the background. A year ago, it was the center of our lives, waving proudly from every home. Yet, that is no longer the case, as it has gone back to merely being a flag rather than a banner of unity. Even the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11 didn’t rekindle our hearts the way it should have. Most expected the anniversary to bring about a resurgence of nationalism mixed with bittersweet feelings of what occurred on the fateful day and the ways in which we overcame adversity. Instead, we complained over the incessant media coverage, and by Sept. 12, the anniversary of 9-11 was just another yesterday.

In reality, one year ago, America was also unified under the notion of a “War on Terrorism.” We supported President Bush in his endeavors and practically hung on to his every word, as troops were sent over to Afghanistan.

He was our fearless leader through the darkness, and we followed him blindly, seeking the security he so fervently promised. Today, however, our complete support of the president is not so apparent. In truth, for many Americans that support has completely wavered. Protests on Washington DC have already begun to ward off a war on Iraq.

Ultimately, however, it is up to the president and his staff to make the ultimate decision.

Yet, despite opposition, a war with Iraq seems almost inevitable. In the opinions of many, President Bush has adopted the policy of jingoism rather than patriotism. He’s following an aggressive path that may lead to war rather than maintaining unity in his country.

Truthfully, if we do end up in a war with Iraq, we could see a movement similar to that in the 1960s during Vietnam. In addition to the division within our own country, Bush has adopted an “either you’re with us or you’re against us attitude,” alienating other foreign allies.

Within the next few weeks, the threat of war will be a very heavy burden weighing upon the shoulders of all Americans. Nevertheless, it’s times like this that clich√©d words of inspiration seem to make the most sense.

In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” In reality, this couldn’t be any more accurate than at this time, as we need to stand together to make it through.

In the wake of Sept. 11, the United States became truly united for the first time in its history.

Although people may have differing opinions on whether war is an appropriate course of action or not, we should still stand together, as unity is the only thing that can pull us through. It shouldn’t take another Sept. 11 for us to realize that.