The State of America

If you had looked at us just two years ago and said that the president would be leading a witch-hunt against his own staff via his Twitter account or a Supreme Court nominee would be refusing to answer questions about whether the president should have to answer a subpoena, we would have laughed. No question. This era of American politics is unprecedented and -- rightfully -- terrifying. Every day that the current administration is in power, it feels almost as though they’re playing Russian Roulette with the country.

Everyone should be concerned about this, whether you’re liberal or conservative.

The recent information coming out of Bob Woodward’s book and the anonymous New York Times op-ed represent a crisis so great that political experts are saying that it is incomparable to Watergate or the Pentagon Papers. We should never treat our political institutions as if they are unsinkable, and to us some days it feels like we are truly witnessing the end of American democracy as we know it.

But, democracy is not dead. All hope is not lost.

Over the past two years, we have seen a rise in political participation, especially in young people. More people are running for office, voting and demonstrating in peaceful protests than ever before. People are taking a stand against injustice and refusing to sit back down again. Although these past two years have been equal parts exhausting and dangerous, we do not believe that this administration will be the end of the American experiment, and that is entirely because of the new voices that have risen up out of the masses. It’s now impossible to deny the power of these new generations, and our impact is already becoming apparent.

Via Pixabay

In the months following the 2016 Presidential Election, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour successfully planned and executed the Women’s March on Washington amid extreme skepticism and doubt from all sides of the political spectrum. It was unfathomable that the millions of people that were estimated to attend could all march and protest peacefully, after we’ve seen so many similar demonstrations turn violent. However, they went forward. On January 21, 2016 over 1 million men and women marched in Washington, and over 5 million people marched across the country. They made up over 1% of the United States population.

Related: 5 Things I Learned from the Women’s March on Washington

In 2017, the #MeToo movement kicked off against a wave of sexual assault allegations towards prominent men in  Hollywood, Washington and everywhere in between. During a special election for a senate seat in Alabama, Roy Moore (Republican) faced off against Doug Jones (Democrat) in a deep red state, and many felt like they knew the outcome of the election before it had even begun. This was going to be an incredibly easy victory for the Republican party -- until it wasn’t. Nine women accused Moore of sexual assault and misconduct in the workplace, one of whom was only 14 at the time of the assault. Suddenly, a senate election in the Deep South became a referendum on whether, as a society, we would chose to excuse and accept sexual assault, and Jones’ stunning victory proved to people all over the country that we weren’t just saying “me too.” We were saying “enough is enough.”

In February of 2018, a gunman opened fire in his former school and killed 17 of his classmates and teachers. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the survivors mobilized and rose to the role of activists, most notable being Emma Gonzáles and David Hogg. These students created the March for Our Lives and have been present at town halls to provide support for victims of other school shootings, and have inspired other young people to stand up and demand gun control in the process.

Related: Why Emma Gonzales is the most Influential Teen Right Now

Via Pixabay

Since the election people have turned their attention toward the upcoming midterm elections, the phrase “flip the house” serving as the mantra. The house and senate elections are in full swing, and history is being made. Ayanna Pressley has just pulled off a massive upset in the Massachusetts House Democratic primary. She defeated incumbent Rep. Michael Caupona to become the first African-American Representative in the House from Massachusetts. (There is no Republican challenger). Her history-making win provides new hope for the future of this midterm election cycle.

Regardless of how dark our political future might sometimes seem, there is always going to be a new voice that rises up to provide hope for a better tomorrow. Whether it comes from 3 women organizing a march, countless people breaking their silences, young victims of an unfathomable tragedy, a young politician who is ready to rise up and create a positive impact, or any of the countless other people that are working to create a brighter future, we are ready. When considering the state of America in 2018, it is important to remember that our democratic system is strongest when the people are active and engaged with political issues, and continuing to be engaged with them. It depends on all of its citizens going out to the polls and showing what kind of America they want to live in.