The Benefits and Downfalls of Two, Distinct Dichotomies

In the Lugo reading, I found the author’s central point about dichotomies very intriguing, and problematic. One quote that I feel represents this very well is: “… such ‘perceived differences’ themselves have been manufactured in the aftermath of 9/11 such that the very categories of ‘American’ and ‘un-American’ have been (re)instituted and maintained as separate and distinct.” This quote epitomizes the Lugo’s point about how, following the tragedies of 9/11, the nation and the leaders alike engineered two, mutually exclusive dichotomies of what it means to be American versus un-American.
This certainly made it easier for the leaders to target enemies and find scapegoats within the country, thus uniting the country behind a national cause. Patriotism did, therefore, increase. However, I found this to be problematic to American society as it polarized the nation domestically into two distinct groups. Homosexuals, for instance, were targeted and blamed. This would create domestic tension in an already devastated nation. In the end, I feel that the fact that the “perceived differences” were manufactured into American and un-American serves both to unite the nation behind a cause, but also to divide the nation domestically.


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