A Letter to America: Part Two

It’s been a year. How’s everyone been? Have you been eating well? Getting enough sleep? Have you been to the doctor? Everyone has to remember to take care of themselves nowadays – it’s extremely important to do that.

But, I think we can all agree that besides taking care of ourselves, there are a lot of other things we could be taking care of as well. Like each other.

Let’s take a step back here. A year ago, I wrote my first part to this. A lot of people really liked it, and I felt proud of myself, because, hey, I wrote something that did remotely well. So, why not feel proud?

Since then, we’ve elected a new president of the United States. We’ve had some issues along the way, and have seen some truly horrible things happen because of it. People falling apart, debating back and forth, causing fights. But I guess in a way, that’s sort of what America is about, right? Free speech and all that? If we didn’t have the right to speak freely, then we wouldn’t really be who we are now.

The world has never been more divided than it currently is. I don’t know exactly who to blame that on. But in some way, it’s really on all of us, because we’ve let this time of pain tear us apart, instead of uniting as one.

Mass shootings. That’s a phrase that we’re pretty used to, right? For months now, we’ve been facing mass shootings back and forth, some of the most recent occurring just last week.

But did you know that there have been 317 mass shootings this year alone? Not just the shooting in Texas. Not just the shooting in Las Vegas. There have been 317 of these shootings. People have died. Families have been torn apart.

And yet, here we are, still making fun of our president. Still tearing each other apart on pointless subjects to get torn up on, when people are dying. Every. Day.

I’m not one to get political. I don’t like to talk about who I support or who I don’t, because it always causes some sort of issue or argument. I barely even talk about it with my boyfriend, because we sometimes conflict on our views of the world. But no matter what view I have, or what view someone I’m talking to may have, we can all agree that whatever is going on in America right now has to stop.

The hate has to stop.

In the past two years, I’ve seen nothing but people fighting over whether Muslims should be allowed into the country, if transgender people should be banned from the military, if gay rights should be taken away. In the past two years, I’ve seen people not showing their freedom of speech, but abusing it. We have this right for a reason, and some people just don’t get that.

However, I’ve also seen millions of people come together in times of need. I’ve seen people unite at the Orlando nightclub shooting, trying to help the families of the victims and the survivors cope with what they had been through. I’ve seen people come through to help others after every shooting that has happened this year. After Texas. After Las Vegas.

But, there needs to be more. There needs to be more camaraderie. There needs to be more loving pride in our country; not one that puts hate before love. We need to come together.

Believe it or not, there has been a decline in shootings from last year. In 2016, there were 483 mass shootings, whether you knew about them or not. This situation is very real. Homegrown terrorism is very real. It’s not just the shootings that more of us need to pull together for – it’s everything.

No matter what happens with our president or with our country, we need to come together as one and let go of bias. I know that sounds impossible sometimes. I attend a very liberal university, but sometimes I still see fights between people with different political views, and I just think, “This is so pointless.” There are so many better things to be working together for.

People have died. People have suffered. Natural disasters have destroyed some of our country. Yet, we continue to fight each other on issues that aren’t going to change for a long time. But if we come together now, we can make a difference. And we can make a difference today, not in the future.

I’ll end my letter with this. My dad is a worker in New York City. Ever since the most recent terrorist attacks, I have been terrified of him going there. But he still does, because that’s what he has to do. He can’t let fear run his life, because that’s exactly what he has. A life. And we all do too.

If we let go of that fear and work to help others, I truly believe we can make a difference. For the victims of terrorism. For the people who have suffered. We’re still America. We’re a bit broken, but we’re still here. And we can still all come together, and glue the broken pieces back into one.

I’m still hopeful. I’ll always be hopeful. And I know there are others like me out there. Life will get better, but we need to be the driving force behind it.

I truly believe one day, it will be. No matter who we are, or where we come from, I know we’re one. And we need to stay like that.


A Hopeful Civilian