It is so very difficult to feel safe right now, when there is still so much virulent plague running rampant in our streets. And when we see that our cities are still burning. And that divorce and separations are unspooling the very fabric of our social unity. And when a war that threatens to be anything but civil threatens and taunts from a not too distant future if we do not shift our course.
People are understandably scared in these unpredictable times. People are undeniably hurting. People are becoming lost, struggling to find their way amidst all the confusion and disinformation that feed the cancer of a disenfranchisement festering at our very national core.
It often feels nearly impossible to find a solid footing in the face of such complicated uncertainty. In hesitant moments spent within the confines of isolation, it feels almost foolish to plan or hope for a better tomorrow. Not when that possibility seems to slip even further down the caverns of political decisiveness with every day that passes us by in the carefully regulated pump of a ventilator’s wheeze. Not when things hurt as badly as they do now, nearly every single day.
But despite those many challenges staring down this nation, I take heart in knowing that we are fundamentally stronger than those challenges. We are better, and more durable, than the temporary pitfalls laid out in front of us, seemingly incalculable in their destructive force. We are smarter- and more cohesive- than either the news, or the tainted streams of social media, would have us believe.
We are, and have always been, a country of innovation. We are a nation of unique individuality, a sight seldom seen in the history of the world’s stage. We are a beautiful tapestry of cultures and experience, combining our independent strengths together to form a more perfect, and resilient, society. A society that, despite it’s undeniable flaws, still shines the light of unregulated freedoms out into the darkness of a challenging world, promising life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to those who want it.
And I still believe in those promises.
I still believe even though it often becomes easy to suffocate under the weight of dishonesty, disingenuously reported. It often feels nearly effortless to become bogged down in the partisan aspects of our politics, pointing fingers and constantly shifting the blame. Finding fault is always easier than offering realistic solutions, especially when circumstances conspire to create an immense division based on emotionally charged talking points. Like race. Or economic disparity. Or the possibility of unearned privilege.
But I still believe that we can find a way free from that grasp of distracted bad intentions. I remain convinced that we can rise above the stormy seas of our current discontent to find the light behind the storm. I stand firm in the conviction of an American dream, perhaps one redefined and reimagined, but still fundamentally the same at its core.
I believe that when all the distractions and accusations are stripped away, we all desire essentially the same things. We want to live productive lives of honest effort. We want to achieve a sense of stability- not just for a single day or week, but for a lifetime’s worth of work. We want to be in a viable position to offer our children, and our children’s children, a better world than that which we inherited from the generations that came before us.
And in order to claim those achievements, we simply need to stop.
We need to stop the constant labeling and categorizing of our citizenry. We need to refrain from falling prey to simplistic insults born out of fear and ignorance. We need to listen more and speak less, because every voice has value and every opinion is valid, unless it advocates hate or intolerance.
The label “American” is one that is all inclusive. It is a designation composed of every race and religion. It is a better, and more strengthened, ideal built upon a foundation of both diversity and tolerance. It is the result of the dreams of our forefathers, who were bold enough to foster a bloody revolution, just to keep a fledgling country alive and free.
Those were the dark days that tried men’s souls. These are the uncertain days that try our patience and our national identity, pushing the limits of our acceptance and challenging us in ways those forefathers never even imagined.
But we will find our way through this dark time, together. We have faced unexpected catastrophe before and we have risen to the challenge nearly every single time. The disease we currently face might be novel, but the expectations are not. We must be clean. We must be diligent. We must sacrifice temporary comforts and desires for the sake of helping keep our fellow Americans safe.
This is not the time for blame. This is not the time for hateful words or political gridlock. This is not the time for sunshine patriots.
This is the time for all Americans to stand up and demand that we do better. Not just for ourselves, but for this great nation of our birth, so that we might ensure its legacy for the generations yet to come.