We are in trouble. Our society is fractured. Our kids have been lied to. We’re in a serious downward spiral that we have to work to quickly reverse.
It’s not hard to find a small minority of people to agree with any ridiculous proposition but it was still shocking to discover that thousands of TikTok users were sharing, and celebrating, a document purporting to be Usama bin Laden’s letter to America.
Videos of young, and not so young, people discovering the letter that the terrorist wrote to America in the months after the 9/11 attacks were viewed millions of times across the app. The Guardian newspaper pulled the letter from its website after it was deluged by people searching for it.
There’s a lot scary about this. We are only 22 years past that horrible day. Waiters serving breakfast at Windows on the World, secretaries at their desks, children on their way to vacation, all died horrible deaths.
In the days after the attacks, we joined together, we grieved together. We braced for another attack. We lived and breathed our fear. We took solace in the stories of the heroes.
Since then, our country has veered down a terrible path. Our institutions have been captured by a malignant influence. Our schools are most infected. Kids are brainwashed with anti-American propaganda. We are watching it in action.
These same kids get to college unable to hear alternative viewpoints. Words are violence! But actual violence is somehow OK. Words from a man who would have killed them just the same on that sunny September morning, are read as gospel.
It’s dangerous that self-preservation is sorely missing in these people. They imagine that agreeing with a terrorist and siding against their own country will save them. It won’t. History is littered with murdered peace activists and people who hoped that the terrorists they support will kill them last. They will not.
After journalist Yashar Ali broke the story of the bin Laden fan club, TikTok accused him of inflating the number of posts. But the issue isn’t how many posts, and there were quite a few, that believe bin Laden’s ideas are worth a careful study, it’s that fringe ideas like these do influence the mainstream, we see it all the time. So many bad ideas of a decade ago have become not just standard but mandatory in schools and corporations.
How do we challenge these bad ideas?
First, we tell our kids the truth. It starts with laying out that they have hit the jackpot of a lifetime if they get to live in the United States. We’re not just a good country, we’re the best country. The freedom that bin Laden so hated is the same one that the dumb TikTokkers take for granted. That freedom does not exist for everyone in the world and Americans remain blessed that it does for them.
Step two is harder. To dismantle the mind virus that has taken hold in our schools will require work. It will require showing up to school board meetings, monitoring what your kids learn in the classroom, overseeing their social media and generally not being a neglectful parent whose kids won’t have the ability to counter propaganda like the bin Laden letter aimed at them.
We have to say the words to our kids or someone else will.