9 11 – Where Are We Now
Allan Acevedo, Staff Columnist / The Daily Aztec / September 11, 2008
In the chaos that ran rampant after the initial attacks on 9/11, everyone was consumed with uncertainty. We did not know how we would recover or where our nation would go. Regardless of what we expected, the future we are in is very different from the one we envisioned back in 2001. Despite the many changes, one thing has sadly remained a constant burden for the last few years: We’re still in Iraq.
President George W. Bush lied to the public when he said he had undeniable proof that Saddam Hussein’s draconian dictatorship in Iraq was housing weapons of mass destruction. Words such as “WMD” and “terrorism” became part of the household vernacular. Since that time, no weapons of mass destruction have been found.
At the start of the war, President Bush had a 71 percent approval rating. Seven years after the attacks, the statistics have reversed – a 31 percent approval rating, meaning 79 percent disapprove. But despite these abysmal numbers, the Senate, with a Democratic majority, still passed a new $120 billion budget package for the war in May 2007. There have been countless protests and appeals to remove Bush from office, in no small part because of his initiation of this baseless war. A CBS poll from 2007 showed that 77 percent thought the war was going in the wrong direction. Yet despite all the disdain and anti-war sentiment, we’re still there. The question is: Why?
The most obvious explanation is that people our age have been disillusioned about participating in government. Most develop a sense of apathy because they grew up and came into voting age over the last eight years with a government famous for not doing what the people want. Many have lost hope in their own ability to create positive change in society. It doesn’t seem like anything they do makes a difference. The 2000 presidential election is a major source of this disillusionment. When former Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote, but not the presidency, it set a precedent in which people saw that their vote and their voice did not matter, reinforced by the decision handed down by the Supreme Court. So there is a tradition of non-participation.
But this election has caused a surge of hope in the minds of the American public. It now seems like we can make a difference, like our one vote does matter. The problem is, this election has served as a distraction to many of Bush’s mistakes. Many people have already overlooked the Bush administration in anticipation of the upcoming election. They have forgotten all the damage that can still be committed in just five short months. There is not enough of a movement pushing for withdrawal from Iraq right now because people are too focused on who our next leader will be.
Instead of focusing on creating change now, we’re hoping to change the establishment and bring in new hope for the future. The election coverage of the last year has eclipsed all the very real problems we’re facing in the here and now. The election coverage is no longer about real, tangible issues such as the war in Iraq, but is about popularity, commercials and media attention.
If this were not an election year, so much more energy would have gone into the anti-war movement. The people need not forget the power of their voices. We don’t need to assume a passive role and simply hope for a better future. We should fight for that change now.
Here’s the link to the original article.