For the first time since 1985, an American has won the Boston Marathon. Meb Keflezighi crossed the finish line in two hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds — a personal best.
We all know what happened last year, when the Tsarnaev brothers detonated two homemade explosive devices at the finish line, killing three and injuring over 260 others.
Keflezighi said that he kept thinking about the famous reminder to persevere — Boston Strong — as he finished the race.
It’s no doubt a symbolic win, but also a solemn reminder that tragedies can be overcome.
Race organizers allowed 5,000 more people than usual to register to allow for victims’ friends and family, as well as those who were “profoundly impacted” by the attack. Runners from last year came back to finish the race and many others ran in memory of those injured or killed.
But let’s change topics for a minute. A Nevada rancher has been in a court battle with the Bureau of Land Management since 1993 over whether or not he must pay a federal fee to use state land that had been set aside a federally protected tortoise sanctuary.
After federal officials took the rancher’s 400 cattle, protestors arrived with rifles and handguns. Nevada senator Harry Reid called them “domestic terrorists,” before agents for the Bureau of Land Management returned the cattle and the situation de-escalated.
Not unlike Keflezighi winning the Boston Marathon, it was a symbolic win. Regular citizens took up arms against a federal agency and the agency backed down — showing exactly whey the second amendment exists.
But what really stands out, in both instances, is the use of the word “terrorist.”
Two people who detonate a bomb that kills three people, including an eight-year-old, are terrorists.
A group of protestors exercising their Constitutional rights are, by Senator Harry Reid’s definition, terrorists.
Over the past decade, there have been drastic cuts to personal freedoms in the United States, apparently now among the rights we’ve given up is the ability to not be labeled a terrorist at the drop of a hat.
As the country celebrates a symbolic win, we have to question where we go from here. In the year since, we’ve turned the Boston bombings into a symbol that we can overcome threats from those that want to harm us.
But what about the threats from those that we have elected to have our best interests in mind? Will we be able to stand up to those who throw around “terrorist” any time someone has a dissenting opinion?
It’s high time that we remember that we are all Americans and, with the rarest of exceptions, none of us are terrorists.
We must stand by Keflezighi — along with the victims of the bombings last year — and the protestors in Nevada equally, not because of who they are, but because they show us both ends of the spectrum of what it is to be an American.