Growing Up in the Age of Terrorist Attacks Means Learning to Love
Libya. Pakistan. Turkey. Belgium. We know the names of these countries well because they have been in the news quite a bit. Four months into 2016 and we already have quite a few terrorist attacks under our belt. This seems to be the age of suicide bombings, shootings, and attacks. My generation faces a whole new threat.
In the 50s and 60s, the threat was a nuclear one. Air raid shelters, built for the attack they were sure was coming, can still be seen in some places as a relic of the fears of the past. In 2016, how do you prepare yourself against an enemy you cannot see?
Those growing up in post-9/11 America are constantly aware of the dangers of the world and our new enemy, ISIS, as well as other cells that thrive on fear. We hear about them on the news every day. Millennials are taught growing up that there are people who want to hurt us. Millennials are made aware of the constant threat and made to be extra vigilant.
When I am in a public setting, I am aware of the exits. I have been taught to take note of suspicious people. When a loud noise rings out, for a brief moment, all is still in the room. The threat hangs over us every day. While of course you cannot be ignorant to today’s dangers, it is important to remember one thing: fear is the name of their game and they will not win.
In recent months, as our presidential election looms near, candidates like Trump and Cruz would have us believe that Muslims are the root of all evil. We cannot allow our fear to cloud our judgement. ISIS, denounced by true Muslims, is an extreme sect of one religion just as there are in many religions. We cannot blame our Muslim brothers and sisters for the actions of rogue extremists.
When we refuse to hate and choose, instead, to love, we are defying ISIS and similar organizations. They lose when we refuse to play into their game and turn on those who have no affiliation. If we begin to turn on our Muslim neighbor for the actions of an extremist group, we must do so for every religion.
If Trump calls for the ban of Muslim travel to the US, he must also ban Christians for fear that they line up with groups like the KKK. Of course, for most, when you put it in these terms it sounds ridiculous. America is the land of the free for all, not just those who are like us. Do not lose sight of that.
Amanda is a student at Pace University studying communication, politics and psychology. Along with a small team she helps run PaceUEndRape, an on-campus movement dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault and safety. When she isn't writing she can be found on Netflix or on Pinterest. She's an anglophile who is obsessed with the royal family, The Beatles and Downton Abbey. Follow her on Twitter: @amanda_perez724