In Daniel Kemmis’ essay Barn Raising, he emphasizes the importance of community and cooperation, while still maintaining the individual ideology. Kemmis further explains the politics of cooperation and how objectivity is dependent on our neighbors. This is specifically exemplified in the following quote:
In any genuine community, there are shared values: the members are united through the fact that they fix on some object as preeminently valuable. And there is a joint effort involving all members of the community, by which they give overt expression to their mutual regard for that object (p. 28).
The overall theme in Barn Raising is how cooperation is defined, and how to keep the community alive.
Today, on the fifteenth anniversary of September 11th, I think this quote holds especially true. If America represents the community, the pain, sorrows and patriotism represent the shared values, and safety is the object, this quote speaks volumes about the tragedy our country experienced those short fifteen years ago. We all came together with our mutual regard for our country, and how we were going to move on from the disaster.
Americans rallied behind the first responders and families who lost loved ones to show their support during this tragic time in our country’s history. This event, although catastrophic, brought the country together. We were weeping together, grieving together, and staying together. We expressed our heart ache, and we could all relate to each other. No matter the race, political party, gender, age etc., we all bonded over the devastation in our country. It’s a shame that terrible things must happen in order for a spark to ignite a bond, but the second those twin towers crumbled, our country was never the same for better or for worse.
In the post 9/11 world, Americans have added safety into our set of core values. Safety has had a paramount impact on how we live our lives. Airports strengthened security and TSA operations, the U.S. became more strict on immigration laws, and the peoples’ trust in the government sky-rocketed. All members of the community (or the country, in our case), recognized the importance of safety. We trusted the government to keep us safe, and it became our “overt expression” that safety was key. Although tedious, we recognized the importance of preventing further tragedies. Now, fifteen years later, not much has changed. Airport security has become even more of a pain and immigration is one of the most important topics in the current presidential election.
Individuality is important, but I think in order for a country to be self-sustaining, the citizens must come together and form a community. I believe this country wouldn’t be how it is today if it wasn’t for the way we reacted to 9/11 and became a community. The vast importance of surviving the tragedy united the people in a way that no event has done before. Fifteen years ago, our country thought we hit rock bottom. Little did we know that we would cooperate together and show the world that this country is not one to be reckoned with.