Do external fears unite Americans? Like this new Iranian launch?


W
hat holds together a large, diverse nation like America? What provides citizens with a sense of belonging to a national community?
    Sharing American values is an ingredient in the cultural glue. So too are events with the energy to unify. We started this week with the Super Bowl, a faux holiday that provides a fun sense of belonging, of experiencing with millions of others the same event.
    Eoghan sent a list of other unifiers that got me thinking: “The assassination of JFK, the Bicentennial Celebration, the Release of the Iranian Hostages, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11.”
Some of these are tragic unifiers (JFK’s assassination); others are joyous unifiers (the Bicentennial); still others provide a unifying sense of relief (the release of hostages).
    Sometimes external threats increase solidarity. 9/11 is one.
    So, what do you make of Iran’s successful launch yesterday of a satellite into orbit? (Watch a Reuters video of it here.) Experts say this long-range ballistic technology could also be used to launch weapons.
    Do you feel threatened by Iran’s capability?

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