The day this was written was January 7, 2021. One day after the Capital Building of the United States of America was breached by an angry mob, nine months after the death of George Floyd, almost one year after the first Covid-19 case was reported in the United States, and four years after President Trump took office. We have seen violence, hatred, and prejudice spike so much within the past thirteen months that it seems almost impossible now to think that we have all actually lived through it. Our actions, and our inactions, will forever be looked upon and analyzed throughout history. Those who chose to wear masks and those who did not, those who fought to end racial inequality and those who chose to believe that systemic racism was a thing of the past, and those who chose civility over violence will be what defines us.
Growing up, I was always fascinated with politics. I loved how people got to argue for ideas and causes that they were so passionate about, and how regular people were able to choose who we wanted to represent us in the highest form of government. I think now we often forget how privileged we are to have that right. The right to choose, the right to speak out against our elected officials, and the right to peaceful protest. While I still have a deep love for politics, it is hard to respect those same politicians I once looked up to as a child. Something I have heard repeatedly throughout 2020 from various people is that our democracy as we know it is in danger. As someone who respects and believes in our democratic process, I hope that that is not the case. Democracy is only as strong as the people who uphold it and hold others accountable for violating the strong moral principals that democracy offers. When used correctly, democracy is a powerful idea that can bring even the most divided together. When abused, democracy can become a beacon of disagreements and hatred among peers.
We are in a critical moment. As a global unit, we are faced with the challenge of Covid-19 and racial reckonings. As Americans, we are also faced with the question of who we will be tomorrow. Will we be the people who condone the seizing of the Capital Building? When will these acts of hate be enough? When it will be the last time that an elected official has to say that they condone these acts of violence? I remember a time when we as a country could talk about the issues and our differences civilly, and now we have a new generation who only know talks of differences that end in yelling matches on who is right and who is wrong. Are we really okay with raising a new generation that thinks that by screaming, name calling, and bullying is correct way of winning an argument?
It’s time. It’s time to take a deep breath and say that enough is enough. Divided we fall, and we have fallen so far down the rabbit hole that the idea of getting out is becoming more and more difficult. I still believe that we can grow and learn from everything that has happened, but we have to do it together. So, with all that being said, let 2021 and the years following be the time of personal and societal growth, of empathy, and of kindness. Let us all rise above and move on to the next moment instead of living in the darkness of the current time that we are in. I have faith that we can, do you?