Heightened honoring of 9/11 highlights hypocrisy towards COVID


Matty Stern / Creative Commons

Across the country last Friday, Americans remembered the 9/11 attacks that shook the world 19 years ago.

Amid the pandemic, tributes were colored by coronavirus precautions and the devastating losses from the health crisis. Amid the pandemic, tributes were colored by coronavirus precautions and the devastating losses from the health crisis. This past Friday, Sept. 11 marked the 19th anniversary of one of America’s most tragic days. It is also the six month anniversary of the announcement of an international pandemic leading to one of America’s most tragic years. 

A notable disparity between these events is the death toll. In the United States, as of now, there have been nearly 200,000 lives swept taken due to COVID-19. The attack on the Twin Towers took 2,977 lives. After this event, precautions around the country skyrocketed. Travel, government and architecture changed after the attacks on 9/11. How are we protecting people now?

We have to make sure that we contrast these two tragic events because they have very different circumstances. First of all, the extent to which the coronavirus erupted could have been avoided. President Trump was briefed on the virus twice in January, two months prior to its declaration as a pandemic. These briefings included knowledge about the COVID-19 global outbreak potential, but also its low fatality rates.

In contrast, the morning of 9/11 was inevitable. Maybe if the United States had avoided economic greed when it came to oil, retracted their military position on Saudi Arabia’s holy lands and quit terrorizing their people, then the attacks would not have occurred. But when it comes to that morning, there was essentially nothing that could have been done. 

When discussing what has changed for the raging pandemic, we must make sure to acknowledge and discuss the reluctance to change. When the stay at home order was mandated internationally, many Americans protested it as an infringement on their freedoms. When masks were made a requirement, select Americans did not agree and made sure to be in public without a mask, putting others at risk. When stores decided to require masks, people still attempted to walk in and shop without them.

A significant difference between the two events is the social distancing factor. Back when 9/11 happened, support between American citizens was more prevalent than many had ever seen. With the coronavirus, we see the greatest division in Americans that has been seen in many years. This is an overdue explosion of hatred and partisanship guided by the president for the last four years.

In the 10 years following 9/11, deportation rates went up over 100%. Guidelines and procedures for air travel became exponentially stricter. The budget for the military went up over $400 billion, leading to our current military budget of almost $1 trillion. In architecture, there are now requirements for more intense evacuation plans. 

The point is, many steps were taken in order to protect the citizens of the United States post-9/11. But when it comes to COVID-19, rather than making federal guidelines for how citizens can protect each other right off the bat, the Trump administration allowed Americans to go about their lives until it was too late. 

Instead of shutting the virus down completely, the United States has decided to live with it. We deported mass amounts of people after 9/11 and stopped entry from China for the coronavirus outbreak when it got to us from Europe. Maybe instead of focusing on what other countries are doing to harm us, we should think about what we are doing to harm ourselves.