On Sept. 11, 2001, the United States of America experienced a tragedy that up to that time in our nation’s history could never have been imagined. We did not envision ourselves enduring that type of an attack in our own backyard. Immediately after the events of that day, we began to take steps to ensure that we would never again encounter this type of occurrence on American soil.

Terrorism is the organized and planned use of fear as a weapon. Generally used for political purposes, terrorists use threats, fear, and intimidation to coerce or enforce their will on others. The attacks on our soil were designed, by their own admission, by people who disagree with our freedom, lifestyle, and beliefs, to attempt to punish, intimidate, and instill fear.

In the past few years, we have begun to see this type of behavior slip into the American political arena. We have moved from being able to accept people who have a contrasting view from ours to becoming a nation where differing convictions or opinions are no longer accepted. In the news, on television, through social media, and even in person, people have begun to attack and even threaten others whose view may be divergent from theirs.

Daily there are headlines screaming of violence against one group or another because they have a varying religious, political or social view than another. Even when the violence is not physical, we see on television and in print the continual sparring, bickering, and squabbling between one group and another.

This type of behavior makes me wonder if we did not learn the wrong lesson from the attacks of September 11th. Instead of learning to combat forces that would attack our country, did we learn to imitate them?

It is time to stop. It is time to change. I am all for a healthy debate between two sides who can at the end of the day agree to disagree. I grew up in a family that was somewhat diverse religiously: Hardline Baptist on one side and whole-hearted Pentecostal on the other. My dad (stepdad actually) and my uncle would have long discussions concerning things which they were equally passionate about and convinced of. It never came to blows, there were never harsh words, and one never threated the other. They engaged in a gentlemanly discussion concerning the beliefs that they closely held and maintained respect and dignity in the process.

I have a heart hunger and passion to see our nation unite and not divide, to heal instead of hurt, to work together rather than pull asunder. Through the years we have proven that in crisis we can find a common ground that serves to bring us together when all of the forces surrounding us are working to tear us apart. We need to begin to rally around freedom rather than succumbing to - or utilizing fear.

God Bless America!

Chance Erwin is a Christian husband, father, Marine, patriot, citizen and Renaissance Redneck. He can be reached at 5erwins2011@gmail.com.