To say that this is a tumultuous time would be an understatement. People have said that America is at a turning point where the choices we make in the upcoming election will dictate what happens for years to come. We’re told that every four years. Every election is the most consequential election since the last. It’s a talking point, but this year it feels different. What was once an undercurrent has turned into a powerful rip tide, pulling back the band-aid and leaving bare the open wounds of our country.
In 2016 we saw the rise of a level of disdain this country hasn’t seen in quite some time. I’ll admit, I was excited for the election but not concerned. Maybe I was arrogant. I knew my candidate had it in the bag. There was no way anyone could identify with the things the other candidate was saying. I still lived in a world where I thought most people had good intentions. I was somewhat naive to the true danger that we were facing. I am no longer so unsuspecting.
I’m tired of being told I’m too loud, too extreme, too crazy for believing the things that I do, for calling out the things I see in the world. It is incredibly debilitating to consistently hear that what you believe is wrong, that you are misrepresenting the facts and the world we live in. Saying that I don’t know what I’m talking about is tantamount to calling me uneducated. I won’t stand for that. What I see, hear, and feel is valid. I know what is happening in our world. Despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans are capable of heightened propaganda, those who are willing to twist truths to fit their narrative are not driving what is happening right now. The people are.
We are tired, but we carry on. I can’t even pretend like I’ve been fighting long enough to be exhausted, yet I am. These last four years have been increasingly perilous. As we continue to stand up and demand a change in the way our country operates, treats people, makes policy, and exists we continue to face arguments from those attempting to withdraw authority from our cause. These arguments not only miss the point, they are invalid. I wish I was being facetious. We cannot hope to find a solution while too many remain in denial.
Change usually comes as a result of extreme hardship. Hardship causes people to become radically involved in their own future. Radical is not used in the negative here. It’s truly disheartening that I have to clarify because a negative connotation has been forced upon this word. There should be nothing radical about demanding more from those who are leading us. There should be nothing extraordinary about speaking truth to power. After all, these principles helped form the basis of America.
Nevertheless, we continue to face opposition from people who desperately want to keep things the same. I may not agree with it, but I get that. Change is hard and I have met all too few who welcome change with open arms. Altering what we know is terrifying because it creates an unknown future. If things stay the same, we know what will continue to happen.
People of color will continue to be woefully disadvantaged in our society because of longstanding and outdated policies that were designed to prevent their success. The LGBTQ+ community will continue to be tread upon as our rights are eroded and we further become second class citizens. Some will continue to believe female bodies can be legislated. The majority of Americans who long for change will be overshadowed by the “Silent Majority” who are not silent at all — they have become deafeningly loud in an effort to drown out everyone else.
I wish those few points were comprehensive enough to even remotely cover one-one thousandth of a percent of what systematic, cultural, and moral obstacles we face as a nation.
Things can’t stay the same. Eventually, even those who think they are above the fray will become part of it. When power is consolidated no one is safe except those in power. And even then, it’s questionable.
If you’re apathetic or question why people are screaming in the streets, let me have you pause for a moment to consider a thought. When you look out your window, if you don’t see this happening that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You just need to look harder. Because behind every sweet small town is the propensity for racism. Inside someone you may care deeply for exists a rigid belief that may surprise you. Chances are you know someone who has experienced discrimination even if they haven’t shared their story with you.
What we face right now, and what we will face in the future no matter who is elected, is creating change. This country cannot continue on its current trajectory without hitting a major bump in the road. The size of that road block will be determined by what we do now to invest in the policies that will lift people up, will create a more equitable society, and will ensure that America has a solidified foundation upon which we can build for the future.
Uprisings like we are seeing now are once in a generation. People aren’t angry for no reason. Taking a moment to look past the anger at the forefront will reveal incredible sadness. If you have any empathy at all, attempt to live in that sadness for one second and tell us it’s tolerable.
There has never been a better, or more frightening, time to get involved.