Listen up, folks.

Lately I’ve been doing a little bit of reflection, especially with all of the complete insanity that is going on in America right now. I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an American, and how disheartening it has been to see our country divide itself to this level over the past year. I hear people complain that this is the most divided our country has ever been, and can’t help but chuckle to myself. As a history major, I have spent the past four years with a scope on American history, particularly during the founding and antebellum periods. This country witnessed unspeakable division during both the American Revolution and the Civil War most notably, but also includes so many other times in-between. This is a definite delusion, but brought me to some thought provoking realizations.

I’m sad to see that we live in a time where we put our individual selves before our country. We hate, call names, and commit acts of violence because we are unhappy or did not get our way about something. We disrespect our president (like him or not, he is the president of the United States of America) at a degree far harsher than any other president in history. We worship celebrities and reality stars based upon their money, drama, and body mutilations through plastic surgery. We overlook being humble, kind, grounded, and generous, and instead focus ourselves around a “me first” mentality. We use terms such as “yas bitch” and “slay”, rather than smiling at people, holding doors, or saying thank you. We pit races and genders against one another and act as social justice warriors, rather than working to understand people who have different life experiences than our own. We hide behind our keyboards and spew false information, hate, and accusations based off of highly biased media content. We don’t do our research, we only accept the information that we want to hear. We sit around and complain and celebrate laziness and victimization rather than working hard and making an effort to better ourselves. We close ourselves off, as well as our hearts from other human contact because we don’t want to come across as caring too much. 

But I have a question. When did all of this become acceptable? Moreover, why do we continue to allow this to be our way of life?

People question why we are so divided, and I think this is only the beginning of the explanation. We have become so selfish and self centered and unwilling to care about others that we have created monsters of ourselves. We are so lucky to live in the greatest country in the world, and it’s time to start acting like it. It’s time to start being kind, and have humility, and to start treating humans as humans. I did not come from a perfect background, and I’m assuming that you probably didn’t either. No one has a perfect life, but we cannot let life get in the way of our desire to be successful. Conversely, all the goals and dreams in the world aren’t going to come without constant hard work and diligence. The world owes us nothing, yet we owe the world everything. It is no one’s responsibility to take care of us aside from ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we should be above giving one another a helping hand and some encouragement

Regardless of whether or not you are religious, one of my favorite pieces of scripture is from Romans 12:17-21, which says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all…. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” I think this is one of the greatest pieces of wisdom that we as people need to learn right now. We cannot succeed as a country by wishing our fellow countrymen or leaders to fail. Success of the citizens is success for America. I hope that we can open both our eyes and ears to what our fellow countrymen have to say. I know that people are never going to agree on beliefs and politics; we never have and probably never will. But agreement is not the point, rather, we should be listening to one another and work together to find solutions. 

Rather than generalizing and stereotyping people, we should be making the effort to set an example of goodness for all people to help eradicate these generalizations. Rather than victimizing ourselves, we should make the effort to put in the hard work four ourselves and to act with humility in order to get ahead. We should be thanking those in our military, police, and first response for giving us the opportunity to live in this great country. There is a quote that might be a little cliche, but holds so much truth, “The world is full of kind people. If you can’t find one, be one.” A little positivity can go a long way, and a bit of an attitude adjustment, some self reflection and positivity could be a great start to solving some of our problems.