It is very hard to ignore the political campaigns, debates and candidates in today’s society ( even though everyone should inform themselves and vote if of age because we live in a democracy).
All I hear is “Racist”, “Socialist”, “Emails”, “Who are they?, ” There is no one to vote for”.
I don’t believe the media is that much help either. Instead of informing the public to shape their own opinion, the media is biased and portrays their own bias and opinion which only fuels the hate and ignorance more.
I look around, at my family, my friends, the people that live in my town, my state, and all over the country, and what I see is hatred, anger, division, polarization.
Our conversations revolve around welfare, building a wall, police brutality, banning religions, transgender bathrooms. But in these conversations we are attacking each other. We shoot down another’s opinion, because those who think differently than us are wrong.
Instead of accepting and celebrating our individuality, our own ideas and opinions, we take everything personally. We look at those who think differently than what we believe as wrong, as stupid, as “what’s wrong with America”.
What happened to celebrating differences? What happened to embracing new cultures? What happened to using our brains, challenging the status quo, and improving our lives and those lives around us?
The United States of America was founded on immigrants who wanted a different life for themselves. Our history is not perfect, and in many instances very sad. We cannot ignore the genocide of Native Americans, Slavery and Segregation, the fight for Women’s Rights, The Great Depression, Vietnam, Japanese Internment Camps, the Atomic Bomb ( some may disagree), the hatred towards “illegal” and legal immigrants, The Iraq War, and many, many more negative instances in our history.
However, we can and should look at our history and all our country’s accomplishments. We created a country built upon a democratic system, where the public had the right to vote for who they wanted for president. We had the industrial revolution. We built railroads, steam boats, factories that changed the production of goods. We expanded and explored new territories. We put a man on the moon. We created a new transportation system that changed the world thanks to Henry Ford. We preserved national and state parks around the country. We had Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, The Wizard of Oz, Walt Disney. We had Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy. We had Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Obama.
The America that we live in right now, is not the America I want to live in.
I want to live in an America that celebrates differences.
I want to live in an America that embraces and accepts different cultures.
I want to live in an America that accepts and celebrates diversity.
I want to live in an America that cultivates an atmosphere for education for all.
I want to live in an America that accepts different religions and beliefs.
I want to live in an America that allows for individuality.
I want to live in an America that creates doers, and thinkers, and world changers.
I want our conversations to revolve around pressing issues that face the world. How are we going to combat the increase of gun violence? How are we going to combat the increase of drug usage and overdoses? How are we going to overcome income inequality and the immense wealth gap in our society? How are going to decrease carbon pollution? How are we going to have an open dialogue on Race, and how it involves ALL of us? How are we going to continue feminism and equal pay? Are we going to allow student debt to continue to increase? Are we going to address the increase of extremist thoughts and violence around the world, especially Daesh/ISIS? Are we going to continue to ignore Global Warming? Are we going to do something about the billions of people living in poverty world wide? Are we going to try and make the world better for the future?
America is not, and never has been perfect. Yet, it was the country that was looked at around the world as innovative, powerful, democratic, opportunistic. People from all walks of life, all different countries and religions came to America to make a different and better life for themselves and their families.
If we look at America today, is it really still that innovative? Still that opportunistic? We hate those that are different than us. We hate immigrants that come and “take our jobs”. We hate citizens who look differently than us, believe in something different than us. We cannot understand why there is a movement for Black Lives Matter. We tear down women who are fighting for equal pay. We hate law enforcement, especially police because they are all mean and practice brutality, right? We tear down people who like to work out, or eat vegan or eat meat. We make fun of reality television, yet watch and wish our lives were like that. Our education system is flawed, and we test students on their ability to test, instead of their ability to learn.
America is no longer “one nation”. America is no longer “indivisible”. America no longer provides “liberty and justice for all”.
But it can be.
Change starts with one person. One person becomes five, which becomes 20, which becomes 1,000.
We need to start listening to each other, instead of tearing each other down.
We need to realize that Earth is not getting younger, and neither are we.
We need to realize we are better together, than apart.
We need to use our history, the good and the bad, to make our future better.
We need to recognize that we can learn from each other.
I love America, don’t get me wrong. It is a country that has provided me with amazing opportunities that so many around the world do not get. It has allowed me, my family, my friends to be individual, have our own beliefs, and work towards a dream. With that, it has allowed to me recognize that the America we live in today, is not the America that I want future generations to live in.
November is quickly approaching, and my hope for this election, is that we Americans, look around at the country and society we are living in. We look at our past. We look at what we want for our future, and the world’s future. We listen to other’s opinions and ideas, and instead of tearing them down, we learn from them.
I hope that as a country, we strive to be better. Better than we are right now. Better than we have been in the past.
I know we can. Do you?