WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 18: The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on January 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. The approximately 191,500 U.S. flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, DC for the inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By Jill Sunday Bartoli
Of the many poignant reflections that I heard about 9/11, two really stood out for me. One was from a teacher, near tears, describing the outpouring of care and concern from people across the country and across the world after the 9/11 attack.
She said, “We were united as a country and a world in caring about those who died.” And she asked sadly, “Why did we squander that unity and caring about each other?”
She found it heartbreaking that we continue to allow more people than those who perished on 9/11 to die every day as though we do not care, and that we have allowed ourselves to be so divided against each other. And she wondered what to tell her students about all of this.
The second reflection was Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek’s prayer for September 11, 2021 –to protect and care for others, to really listen to each other, and to “finally create a country that’s inclusive and welcoming to all, and one that lives up to its aspirations for real equality for all of us.”
I believe that we can do this if we all care for and protect each other, and if we all think critically, research thoroughly, do our homework as citizens in a democracy and stop the denialism Micek described: pandemic denial, vaccine denial, mask denial, climate denial, holocaust denial, racism and poverty denial, and fair election denial.
Denialist legislators do not want critical thinking in our communities. Like autocrats across the globe, they want their one-right-answer, right or wrong simplistic thinking to control us. Our children’s thinking is similarly constrained by the testing industrial complex –standardized tests that pit students, teachers and schools against each other. It’s divide and control through half-truths, lies and propaganda.
We are better than this. We are smarter than this. We have come together in unity and care for each other before, and we can do it again.
A former educator, Jill Sunday Bartoli writes from Carlisle, Pa. Her work appears occasionally on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page.
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