We have to stop depending on our politicians to make our country better. Yes, there are big things that we individual citizens are not capable of doing on our own, but this is our country. We don’t have to wait for others to make it a better, more equitable place for all of us.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frightened about what will happen next week. I am the most frightened I’ve ever been about the future of my country and the most hopeful I’ve ever been about real, lasting, impactful change. The election won’t be over on Tuesday, November 3. Coronovirus won’t disappear on November 4. All of our problems will not go away on January 20. But I’m hopeful about the future because people not only want change, but they are fighting for it.
I will never choose to look backward to a time when America was great, because it can always, always be better. I will never choose to seek the perfect candidates down the ballot because that person doesn’t exist, but I will vote for the people with plans to move forward. I will vote for those with a plan for a better future, always a better future.
As Americans we have watched the pendulum swing higher and higher to the left and the right with each election cycle. It has left many of us in the middle out of the conversation, asking what we need to do to get our politicians to listen to us. The answer is simple: active citizenship. Our founding fathers and mothers fought for a country with an imperfect system, but they believed that future generations would keep working to figure it out. For a long time, people did keep tinkering with the experiment in an effort to make a “more perfect union.” But then we got lazy, believing that the machine would keep working without our maintenance and care.
When we consider the needs of the least of these, when we seek to improve the situation for the most vulnerable among us, we demonstrate a clear understanding of the interconnected nature of humanity. And in working to make the lives of others better, we create a safety net for ourselves should we ever be knocked off of our own feet. We are at a crossroads, people questioning an overhaul of the entire system. I would argue that we don’t need to turn the Constitution upside down. But we can’t leave people outside in the cold just because we see it as benefiting our immediate self-interests. It’s time we start thinking long term, considering the human cost, and finding a better way.
Living life with other people is messy and requires multiple perspectives to find solutions that will positively impact the largest number of citizens. But being politically comfortable moving around in the in-between can be a lonely existence because American politics don’t seem interested in the growing number of us in the middle. Extremes make headlines and create talking points.