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We all clearly remember where we were on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

I was sleeping when my mother came in and said “Wake up! An airplane just crashed into the twin towers!” I thought, “How could this be?”

I remember seeing the second plane hit the second tower and watching the clip over and over again. I understood this was a tragedy, but I didn’t understand what this meant for the future. Little did I know, either, that this would be the watermark of our generation, just like Vietnam and Pearl Harbor were for our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, respectively.

This event alone would change the direction of our government.

After the tragedy there was a fleeting hope across the nation that we had put petty partisan differences aside. In his book “What Happened,” former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, “The unity in Washington during those first few months following the 9/11 attacks was a welcome change. The outpouring of unified sentiment was unlike any Washington had seen in decades.”

But, McClellan asked, “Would the politics-as-war mentality and the excesses of the permanent campaign era end as a positive side effect of an unprecedented national tragedy?” Sadly, the answer was no: “It was not to be,” he wrote.

We are in a new era where cooperation is more crucial than ever.

Republicans, Democrats and independents all want the same things: a safe nation, the best education for their children, health care for everyone and a stable economy.

Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain call it “reaching across the aisle” or “sitting down at the same table.” In simple terms, it means they are brave enough to admit that both parties have a common goal — bipartisanship.

Each candidate boasts that he can do it better. Sen. McCain claims to have “reached across the aisle” on this bill to achieve one thing while Sen. Obama “sat down at the same table” on that bill to achieve another thing.

It is sickening to watch both presidential candidates argue who has a more bipartisan appeal. Both have accomplished things across party lines. That should be enough for the American people, but apparently it isn’t.

Tuesday is Election Day. All I ask of each of you is to show up at the polls educated about the candidates and issues (not only national, but local, as well) and vote. Vote with a bipartisan future in mind for this country. Without a doubt, we will encounter more struggles as a country, but it is easiest to solve these if we move forward as one.

In recent years, we have chosen a direction. Oftentimes, this direction involves treating politics like a full-contact sport and succumbing to Washington’s now established culture of lies and deceit. But popular sentiment seems to tell me that change is on the horizon, and that we all hope it will be for the better.

Only history can vindicate us. The question is: Will it?

Andrew welcomes your thoughts. He can be reached at

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