What is going on in our country right now? It seems like we have driven ourselves back in time, back to a world that is divided by ignorance. Tolerance and understanding seems to have been replaced with bigotry and malice. The people of our country once pushed desperately for justice and equality - with movements, marches, changes in our laws, and changes in our constitution. Some dedicated their lives to fight for justice and equality, and some sacrificed their lives. Was it all for nothing?
In the world we live in today, it seems like animosity engulfs us. Everywhere I go, I am exposed to hate-filled graffiti, violent T-shirts, messages of prejudice on social media, and others ways of spreading acrimony. There is an increase in hate crimes, reports of unarmed minorities being shot, and vandalism of religious places of worship is on the rise. I look back to times where Martin Luther King Jr. peacefully protested for equality and think how sad he would be if he knew that in 50 years, the world would still be filled with such hatred and intolerance after he fought so hard to stop it. The world has never been a perfect place, but it seems we are living in a time of increased bitterness.
I can’t wrap my head around the fact that some people still define or judge others by their race. When do we start realizing that we are all part of the “human race?” The concept that people are discriminated against for their race, the pigment of their skin, sexual preference, or what religion they believe in is absurd.
The hatred and acts of violence that go on in the news sometimes make it seem like we are living in fictional dystopia. The more this goes on, people become desensitized to it, and conditioned to think that what is happening is normal. We have a long history of patriotism and pride in our country. We have built our country on including people that want to be part of the American dream. Our Pledge of Allegiance states that we are a country “indivisible.” We can’t let hate divide us.
What are we going to do about this? If we had an easy answer, I wouldn’t be writing this. It seems monumental to solve this problem, and that real solutions are elusive. But if we continue to talk about the issues, and try to find solutions that build respect for all people, we can tear down the walls of hate that divide us, and reach out to each other with kindness and unity instead. I have to believe that if everyone joins together, we can do this. There is no other way. We need to work harder to see each other as equals that deserve the same rights, and the same chances of a happy life. It’s not easy, but by creating awareness, we can build bridges and build a path to acceptance, tolerance, understanding and equality. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Do we really want to be a country divided by intolerance? We can do better. I believe in our country. We have come too far to slide back now. I choose to believe we can come together again, and be the “re-United” States of America - with liberty and justice for ALL.