Relief. Fear. Excitement. Disappointment. Intrigue.
Just when we thought we’d reached a boiling point, emotions (and with them, tensions) are at an all-time high in this country of ours. The entire world looks to us as it wonders what we will do next as a nation which has historically set the example of how industrialized society should conduct itself. It is difficult to argue that the United States has, over time, carved itself into the role of older brother to the rest of its peers – the innovator, experimenter, and deviant who paves the way for others to follow. It’s economic, cultural, and military influence has long dominated the planet, creating a massive responsibility for itself of upholding the core values upon which it was founded.
For those in my generation, we have witnessed a very depressed version of The American Dream – as our only perception of society since entering the work force has dealt with near-unprecedented economic decline, political corruption, and heightened social tensions. We’ve witnessed mass murders on a frequency never before seen. We saw the financial collapse of ’08 just as we graduated college. We experienced millions having their homes helplessly stripped away during the housing & mortgage crises. We watched as civilians were killed at the hands of those sworn to protect, simultaneously begging the question of whether these incidents were simply exacerbated by a cruel and manipulative media seeking to create a distraction. Heck, one of our first adult memories was 9/11.
Perhaps those reading this will think I’m being too harsh. Regardless, one thing is true: people my age have never been fortunate enough to experience the America our parents told us about. Our narrative has been dominated by violence, divisiveness, and the greatest wealth gap in our history.
Yes, it’s suffice to say that we could all use a break.
Thankfully, our country is vehemently fighting a crucial battle of tipping the scales; one that will quite literally dictate life as we know it in the coming years and likely decades. This “we’ve had enough” mentality, for better or worse, just resulted in what I daresay was one of the greatest political upsets in the history of the world. For once, no amount of money, power, or corruption could subdue the voice that the masses so loudly cried. You may not support the president-elect, but any respectable person has to agree that those who hold high society in contempt have finally gotten what they asked for – someone they believe will fight for them. And soon, as the world looks on in both frightened & hopeful anticipation, we will discover if that historically muffled voice will be heard.
Its going to go one of two ways. The man will rise above the hate, pushing the doubts aside and become one of our greatest leaders ever – or he will epically stumble and fall. Regarding his journey of overcoming unbelievable odds, I can’t help but be reminded of the metaphorical dog who finally catches that car he’s spent a lifetime chasing; that moment of now what? Donald Trump has at last caught the one position with which he’s spent a lifetime flirting, and only time will tell what he does with it.
I, for one, am hopeful. Maybe it’s my mother’s optimism shining through. Perhaps it’s childish naïveté. In any case, hope is all we can cling to as we ride this wave into the unpredictable waters ahead. As citizens, however, it’s incumbent upon us to give the man a chance. If we shut down, cross our arms like children and refuse, then we embody the exact judgmental attitude that we all claim to despise. It’s imperative that we maintain open minds if we expect this place to get any better.
I think we can all agree that one thing is true, no matter where we stand.
There has never been a more important time for us to stick together.