9/11 Reflections: Civility > Tribalism

In our hyper-partisan environment, I hope that as we reflect on 9/11 we remember that the victims represented all walks of life and political persuasions, that the firefighters and responders who ran into harm’s way also represented various walks of life, and that those serving in our military likewise represent various political convictions. We must also remember that our shared experiences of grief, heroism, patriotism, and virtue that unite us are far bigger than our political differences.

The bodies scattered on the ground know no political persuasion. The tears of an orphan know no political persuasion. The tears of a widow know no political persuasion. The heroism of a firefighter knows no political persuasion. In their memory, we need to stop politicizing everything under the sun with tribalistic vitriol. What’s at stake is our sense of our shared humanity.

On 9/11, we wept as Americans; we stood together as Americans. Our adversaries wanted to divide and destroy us, but we got through because our sense of solidarity triumphed over our differences. We will have our differences, no doubt, but I’m praying that a shared civility will define our life together. And while statecraft and policy-making are consequential and important, let’s not forget that many of the challenges we face today can be solved by neighborly love, everyday people responding to everyday needs in their respective communities. What united us then must unite us now if we’re going to keep going strong as of the greatest nations the world has known.

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