In the midst of what I believe will be the most important primary elections in recent history, I write this letter as a young American who is exceedingly concerned about the future of this country, and who is also firmly dedicated to restoring this nation to the fair and just Land of Opportunity it once was. To get to the heart of the matter, partisan politics are destroying us as a country, and are preventing us from working together to find solutions that will improve the lives of all Americans.
Now, more so than ever, there is an increasingly large divide between the two major political parties in our country. However, what was once a disjuncture based primarily on opinions of policy and ideology has become a bitter division of distrust, hostility, and at times downright hatred. Many people who consider themselves aligned with the more extreme side of either party feel intense dislike for a person who is aligned with the opposing party, without ever bothering to take the time to listen to that person’s views or ideas.
Democrats hate Republicans solely because they are Republicans; Republicans hate Democrats solely because they are Democrats. People argue until they are blue in the face, yet they say little beyond why their particular party is correct and why the “other guys” are so wrong. To be completely honest, this terrifies me. The more effort people put into fighting the opposing party, the less effort they put into actually TALKING to each other, compromising, and finding middle ground to create solutions that work for everyone.
As partisan politics continue to deepen the divide in this nation and turn citizens against one and other, we become less and less likely to be able to successfully join together to create a real, positive, and lasting change in our country. We live under the motto of being ‘united’ and ‘indivisible,’ and yet where we stand now, this could not be farther from the truth. It has turned into an “us versus them” mentality, and that mindset is a large part of the reason that we are making very little progress on what are very major issues affecting our everyday lives.
Abraham Lincoln once said that “a nation divided against itself cannot stand,” and I see this prophecy becoming reality in front of my very eyes. Decently paying jobs are continuously being outsourced in order to make a larger profit margin for greedy corporate interests. Many Americans are working two or three of the jobs that are still available just to make ends meet. Our infrastructure is in shambles, our roads and bridges are crumbling and dilapidated. Millions of people struggle to pay the ever rising cost of healthcare, if they can afford it at all. In 2011, there were approximately 46.2 million Americans living in poverty, many of them veterans who selflessly put their lives on the line to defend the country that now casts them aside. Approximately one in seven Americans struggles to get enough to eat. These are not statements of opinion, and are completely unrelated to political affiliation or personal viewpoints. These are the cold, hard, and unforgiving facts that face the American people every single day. I have included the sources for this information at the end of this letter. And yet we continue to be told that this is the “greatest country in the world.”
The American people are frustrated, fed up, and demanding change, and rightly so. However, a real and positive change will never happen in America unless people are willing to sit down together, discuss the issues that are destroying this country, and compromise to find common ground. We must work in cooperation, ignoring constructed party lines, if we are to find solutions that will work for everyone. We are a country that supposedly prides itself upon our diversity and inclusiveness, and yet when it comes to our very foundation and the fundamentals of how our government is run, a very bitter divide only continues to grow deeper.
What we seem to forget, especially during election times, is that at the end of the day, we are all AMERICANS. Whether we consider ourselves to be conservative, liberal, moderate, progressive, or any other term used to classify and categorize our beliefs, there is only one self-evident truth, and that is that we are all citizens of the United States of America. If we can ever hope to see our nation make significant improvements, and if we have any desire of our future generations inheriting a country that is better off than what we are currently experiencing, it is absolutely imperative that we set aside our differences and instead embrace what unites us all: the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
I write this letter not as a Democrat, not as a millennial, not as a female, not as a Caucasian, not as a student. I write this letter as a citizen of the United States of America, and I write it as a fervent plea to my fellow American citizens. If we have any hope of surviving as a nation, we MUST learn to set aside our individual discrepancies. We cannot continue to demolish ourselves from the inside out. Let us join together as a country, let us look at the big picture, let us appreciate that we are NOT enemies, and let us allow our diversity make us stronger instead of destroy us from within. This country is still capable of greatness, but that capability lies solely in our ability and willingness to compromise.
With enduring hope for the future of this nation,
Erin L Kreider