Part-time Patriotism

By Tessa Sammons, junior
Elizabethton High School

   As the economy of America rapidly deteriorated, Americans were getting restless and were beginning to question their government's operations. Traditionally, when the people have been unhappy, the majority party at the time was examined, and the opposing party began to win elections. Solutions, as well as scapegoats, are sought after. The newly-elected president had won a controversial election and was not gaining popularity from his constituents. Then Sept. 11 arrived. The nation had suddenly acquired a sensation of patriotism. What Sept. 11 accomplished was to fallaciously boost loyalty and make a few heroes out of everyday people as well as political figures.
   A nation full of unrest and a region whose inhabitants were known for their cynicism became heroes because of a terrorist attack. People achieved the title of martyrs because they showed up for work and incidentally died. In lieu of the fact that the police department of New York City was reputed to be full of mean incompetent people, the nation's populace was crying for these individuals. Within days a new enemy was declared, and Americans were rapidly becoming discriminate. People began harming others of Arabic descent. New heroes were appearing everyday, and the media was plastered with images of admiration, followed by hatred of Afghanistans and the Taliban. Americans confused the terrorists with Arab-Americans and screamed racial slurs in public. America thirsted for blood. The government officials were loved, and America's former problems were ignored.
   For three months the nation's government could do no wrong, and everyone was expected to feel sorrow and apathy for those that were lost. Wal-Mart sold its entire stock of American flags, but no one would go on vacation. America was afraid, and in its fear it became loyal. No one wanted to face the facts; the country was not invincible. The people let someone else deal with their problems, and then in the fourth month America forgot.
   The government was now able to profile any Arabic person in the airports, or anywhere else, without question from the American people. Security was increased. Anyone deemed suspicious was followed, and it was not wrong. It was all for the greater good. Trust was reinstated in the people's government.
   America was given a chance to prove itself as a loyal country. It remained that way for a short period, and then went back to its old habits. It began to take privileges for granted again, privileges that foreigners coveted. This attitude was what made the terrorists justify their acts of violence. Hatred sprang from hatred; fear sprang from fear. Heroes were created for the sole purpose of making the people feel better. It was okay to compromise privacy for security. America had nothing to show for the dramatic attack, except for a brief period where it was united in fear and cowardice.