Are you a Republican? Are you a Democrat? A tea partier or a liberal? Are you so fired up about the transgressions of those in your opposite party that you can’t stand to look at one of them? Well, it’s time to get a life. We, Americans, better start standing up for each other, and we need to do it fast.
Four Americans no longer have a life to do so. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods gave their lives in the pursuit of the ideals that have guided the American Dream. At the ceremony for the returned victims of the Libyan attacks, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, said, “Today we bring home four Americans who gave their lives for our country and our values. To the families of our fallen colleagues, I offer our most heartfelt condolences and deepest gratitude.”
The ceremony was marked with a dignity that I find lacking in our customary American attitude today. In our informality, we have become sloppy. Our standard of what is correct has been lowered too far. People feel it’s all right to disrespect our officials. I believe we have the unalienable right to disagree, yes, but we also need some rules of civility. Civility—that’s definitely lacking in this election campaign.
“Four Americans, four patriots. They loved this country. They chose to serve it, and served it well,” President Obama said during the ceremony in Maryland where the flag covered coffins were loaded into hearses. “They had a mission they believed in. They knew the danger, and they accepted it. They didn’t simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it; they embodied it.”
Let’s not forget these men.
And let’s not take this as an isolated event. We have enemies and they mean to do us harm. An American Embassy is under the sovereignty of America. And that’s where the attack was aimed—at you and at me, no matter where our politics lie.
The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is taking credit for the attack, saying it was revenge for the killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi. ARAP (which I had never heard of until I started reading about the attack) is reported to have used the demonstrations against an infamous anti-Islam film as a pretext for actual terrorist attack that it was. It worked.
Usually I write about the issues in my little corner of the planet—things that occupy my days but aren’t earth shatteringly important. Today I couldn’t summon the enthusiasm to talk with you about any of it. They’re just too insignificant. I am thinking, however, about how I get so caught up in my “To Do” lists that I barely register events like the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 or the 1998 U.S. embassy attacks in Tanzania and Kenya or the USS Cole attack in 2000. And they were the preludes to the 911 Twin Tower attacks. We need to pay attention.
Remember all those “United We Stand” posters that sprang up after 911? After the attack, people forgot their partisanship and remembered they were all Americans. But it didn’t last long, did it? We need to remember the second part of the quote: “divided we fall.” We need to start working together to make our country strong, if not bullet proof. We are on the same team, after all.