Typically, I refrain from stating my political or more controversial opinions partially in an attempt to preserve a semblance of respect and unity and partially to avoid a heated argument; however, this continual time of political unrest and my love for this country has pushed me outside my comfort zone. Now I am by no means qualified, but I am American so…freedom of speech.
Where to begin!? I am proud to be an American and I love this country’s foundation and history more than I can express; however, (disclaimer) this does not mean that I agree with everything that takes place. The citizens of America have been given equality, justice, and rights which have been fought for and altered as years have gone by. Many updates have been true improvements for society and our country, but at what point did America begin to separate into bitter enemies defined by their political party?
The United States of America has overcome impossible odds to provide a safe place with liberty that is unfamiliar to many. I understand people being unhappy, whether over a passed/un-passed proposition, seeming injustice, flawed system, or the next president. But I will say that if you are so unhappy with this country that you feel the need to burn the flag, sit through the National Anthem, or proclaim that this is the end for our country, then you are a part of the problem and can move elsewhere. No matter the outcome of the presidential election, I knew I would be disappointed because this election was not a respectful campaign, but instead seemed to be a tense competition filled with underhanded dealings, absorbent amounts of money, and unsavory pasts. Regardless, I am still proud to call this country my home.
Racial tensions are high all across the country and it seems racism has been resurrected in the form of social media battles and cries of injustice when anyone of color is involved in a tragedy. Then the focus is conveniently shifted from racism to gun control and our Second Amendment becomes less and less a reality and more so an illusion of freedom. A church stands for their religious freedom and refuses to marry a gay couple and they are humiliated by the media. Are they supposed to stand for their beliefs or bow to the public? People mock the “build a wall” suggestion, but refuse to acknowledge the economic and security ramifications of leaving our borders unprotected. Drugs are being found as the source for countless crimes, untimely deaths, and financial issues, but by all means we should legalize marijuana because it isn’t a “real” drug. Christians are known for what they are against and people are scorned for what they do not support. Equality and acceptance are preached from all avenues, but the more we accept as a society and as a people, the more laws supporting “equality” are passed, the more people cry out for tolerance, the more offended and broken our country becomes.
I love people no matter their skin color, sexual persuasion, political party, religious beliefs, or career choice. Does this mean that I am relenting my own beliefs to accept everyone else’s beliefs or does this mean I am confident enough in my own convictions, opinions, and faith to befriend people that disagree with me? What would society look like if people spoke to be truly heard and discussed issues to actually listen?
Scrolling through social media this past week, I was happy to see so many exercising their right to vote and proudly posting a picture with their sticker; however, I was increasingly irritated by the #imwithher. If you voted for Hilary Clinton then good for you to use your right to vote and be proud of your opinion, but respect the process and the other candidates. She is a woman and yay for equality, but was she the right woman for the position, no on knows. I read an article about her as Secretary of State and she was viewed as a “good” Secretary of State, but upon further inspection she was good because she was safe and she essentially was asked to shorten her time in office due to a few “minor indiscretions” (her husband knows all about those). We do not need someone who is safe (except in regards to national security) as our President, our President needs to take risks when necessary and provide safety for the people, not lead with fear.
Don’t get me wrong, I was not excited to have Trump as the other candidate. Is Donald Trump ideal for the position? Nope. Has he made mistakes past and present? Yep. Is our country doomed with him as a leader? I sure hope not. The reality is that Mr. Trump is our nation’s next president and we should pray for and support him as such. I believe President Roosevelt said it best, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” We, as Americans, have the freedom to our own opinion and the freedom to express that opinion, but as people should do so with respect and discernment and never in such a way that calls our loyalty to our country or fellow Americans into question.
If “we the people” cared more for unity than which candidate someone was supporting, our country would be at a much better place. Do I think that America is doomed? Definitely not, we have a government with checks and balances for a reason and if we think one person can ruin our country without resistance, then we have already given up. In the wise words of JFK, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” What can we do for our country? Well, change starts with us and we are a country with a government by and for the people so we should learn effective and constructive ways to exercise our rights. Let’s remember why America is great and act accordingly instead of attacking each other. Let’s focus on unity instead of being offended by someone having an opinion. Let’s love each other by encouraging, supporting, and caring for each other in whatever ways possible because if we don’t I fear Abraham Lincoln’s warning will become our reality, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”