This past Friday, the world was rocked when militant Islamists attacked several different locations in and around Paris. French President Francois Hollande called these atrocities an act of war. American President Barack Obama condemned the attacks and said the attack was against all of humanity and the “universal values that we share.”
The media and much of the population in both Europe and the United States were surprised by the attacks, shocked by the numerous deaths. It was unspeakable that a terrorist attack of such magnitude could be carried out in a place such as Paris.
For months, we have seen in the news reports of Syrian refugees arriving in various European nations by the thousands. Our own leaders are still pushing to bring refugees to the United States. Several mayors from across the nation, including Charleston’s Joe Riley, have signed a petition to bring as many as 100,000 refugees to the states.
Many Americans see this as an act of suicide because surely there are going to be terrorists among the refugees, while others condemn them for being prejudiced toward a people in dire need of a safe haven away from the daily acts of horror they are subjected to. The issue has become politicized and people are condemning each other for their stances rather than working toward a solution.
While we argue about whether racism is a problem, human beings are being killed. While we denounce each other, hostages are being taken. And while our president goes on national TV and tells us the most significant threat to the United States, ISIS, has been contained, they are taking the lives of our allies.
Sept.11, 2001 was a wake-up call that let Americans know that we are not immune from the very real threat of terror. Somehow we have forgotten that over the last 14 years, and sadly, it may take another such crisis for Americans to realize that we must act. We must root out terror and destroy it before it consumes us.
But for that to happen, we must first forget our differences and come together. We cannot fight an enemy while we bicker among ourselves about race, religion, or political affiliation. We cannot survive while we argue over Constitutional rights, healthcare, and education. We cannot overcome this unprecedented threat to our way of life while we label those who don’t share our same beliefs.
We all want the same things, and we all think we know best how to obtain them, but at some point we must compromise so that we can again face outward and answer attacks from terrorist organizations.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Terrorist organizations thrive on creating fear among populations, and so Roosevelt’s quote becomes truer today than ever before. We must face our fears, we must fight terror, and we must sacrifice if we are to salvage freedom and our great nation.