Era of change


The American Flag. Photo from Creative Commons.

Change. Right now, our world is looking itself in the mirror and asking us who we should be, who we need to be. There are only so many of these times in history, where the opportunity arises for us to shape our 50 stars and 13 stripes into whatever we want them to be.

But haven’t we already decided? Hasn’t Donald Trump already been elected president? Well, the day after he was inaugurated the largest protest in history happened in his name. He may have won, but he got three million less votes. Has he carried himself in a way coherent with the office of the presidency? Is he acting how we want our country to be represented? Those are the true questions that will decide how our country will look in the future.

50 years from now, these days will be remembered with its own chapter in the history book, and a long one. Who will be the good guys and who will be the bad guys? Who started this chapter and who will end it?

Our founding fathers had fantasies of times like this; being able to completely change our American complex through peaceful protesting. Fighting for our justice and preserving our liberties through all different points of view.

We have to cherish the ability to not be forced along the beliefs of an ideologue. Our democracy is the lighthouse to the world, providing examples of how to act and move. In the Warsaw ghettos in World War II, the United States was seen as almost a holy place, free from the tyranny of the Nazis and their brutality. We defeated the second greatest Navy of all time (second only to our Navy now) with a bunch of ragamuffins with a dream. A dream of prosperity and excellence. A dream of freedom and ensured liberties, the American dream, the dream Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of.

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, and he’s right. We have a power ingrained by the Constitution and we cannot let that power go to our heads. We cannot allow ourselves to inflict pain upon ourselves through that parabole of “being a free country”. Freedom of speech is not freedom to persecute, nor is it freedom to be persecuted. The right to participate in the democratic process is not the freedom from the democratic process.

Our country is cannibalizing itself by hyperpolarization and not listening to the other side, only reacting to it. Being on the left or right has become a question of patriotism when the true patriotism guaranteed in 1776 is to be able to choose freely. It is the willingness to acknowledge the wrongs in “our president” while recognizing the fact that he is the president.

Our president has been quick to label those with and against him, and that only serves to worsen this divide. His criticism of the media is heinous, as the real “truth” is now his truth, even if that “truth” changes within the week. The press and the president can’t have the relationship that is forming. The president should be respectfully weary of the power beholden in the press, instead of holding them hostage.

When Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, comes out and asserts that Trump’s numbers for the inauguration are right and the media’s are wrong, when it is very clear that Trump did not have the largest inauguration in history, that should not bode well with any citizen.

When Kelly Ann Conway comes out and calls Spicer’s lies “alternative facts”, that cannot become the status quo for our country. A man cannot bend and twist the truth at his whim and lead our country well.

A “war on media” has commenced according to Trump. Why has that relationship become a title card boxing match? If Trump believes that the media is against him just because they’re playing videos of him speaking, maybe he should think before he speaks.

One man should not be more important than America itself. We are not separate but equal, E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. That singularity should not take a backseat to a man whose vested interest is himself. A man who dodged the draft, taxes and real questions.

Do we really want our country defined by that? Has our flag fallen that far? Are we going to become the puppet of a Russian puppeteer? Denial is not a solution, be willing to open your mind and face the questions he raises. He hasn’t come for you yet, but he’ll find a way as long as it benefits him. He even said John McCain was not a war hero because, “he’s a war hero because he was [captured]. I like people who weren’t captured.” A man who survived torture in Vietnam is being belittled just because he disagreed with Trump.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Our country needs you to stand up and fight for what we really stand for.