Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. This unthinkable tragedy remains to be the deadliest foreign attack ever carried out on U.S. soil, as nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in just a matter of hours. It was a shocking, awful event that has permanently scarred the American conscience, so much so that it is simply remembered by the date that it happened: 9/11. Yet despite our incalculable collective loss, we were able to come together. We united together not just as friends or neighbors, but as Americans seeking to make lasting changes to our society and to ensure nothing like this would ever happen again.
In the wake of the tragedy, Congress was abuzz with activity, as both chambers were able to quickly pass numerous bills and resolutions with ease to combat the threat of terrorism. Two decades later, our country faces a new threat in the COVID-19 pandemic, but it seems like we are less capable than ever of uniting for a solution. COVID-related legislation has stalled in Congress, and the Delta variant continues to decimate unvaccinated communities. In fact, more Americans have died of COVID in the last three days alone than all those who lost their lives on 9/11.
We need to come together now more than ever to put a stop to the pandemic. Yet the two major parties have barely been able to mutually acknowledge this threat, and our compatriots are dying in droves at the hands of their negligence. The aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11 proved that we truly can cross party lines to work together to make meaningful changes happen, and for the sake of public health, we must recapture that same tenacity and bipartisan collaborative spirit we found two decades ago to overcome the pandemic and find workable solutions for our uncertain future.
Even less than a year removed from an extremely close and contentious presidential election, the American people were once able to coalesce around an unthinkable tragedy and move forward. Sounds familiar? It is. We the people should take some cues from our international allies, as well as our recent past, in ultimately finding answers. As Congress continues to stall, COVID deaths continue to rise, and our partisan divide continues to worsen. Citizens must have basic, essential political information widely available so we can once again come together as Americans and show unity in the face of tragedy.
Simon Fischer Communications Associate