Americans, quit whining
Elections are to America as puberty is to the human experience. It’s not the most flattering time. Things get a little messy and uncomfortable for a while, while we just pray for it to be over, and then, for better or for worse, we come out on the other side, a transformed being.
Now, after the votes have been cast and counted, we are left with a post-pubescent, adolescent America. As a country, we still have much to learn, but we have endless potential to mature into a well-educated, open-minded and well-respected adult.
Many people have their doubts about America. Petitions have circulated in several states, including South Dakota, requesting permission from the president to secede from the union. All over social media I’ve seen jokes about people moving to Canada because they don’t like the direction the U.S. is heading. Even around Augie’s campus I hear people lamenting the outcome of the election in such a way that they fail to see any silver lining on the clouds. These people are taking the wrong approach.
No matter who is president, the country will continue to operate. Each day we are faced with new challenges domestically and abroad, and these challenges will need to be addressed by whoever is in power.
Republicans and Democrats can both agree that changes need to be made in order for our country to progress forward and maintain our global position. No matter whose presidency you place the blame on, no one can deny that the economy is failing, social issues remain as unresolved as ever and Americans are quickly losing faith in their leaders.
We need to work to find common ground between the partisan lines. This isn’t high school anymore, so we need to stop acting like our party is the popular clique.
To clarify, individual values are important, and no one should ever have to compromise on an issue they hold on moral grounds.
However, I’m confident that we can find ways to solve many of the problems facing our country without trespassing on moral grounds if we just take a step back from the party shtick and listen to what each other is saying.
Political discourse has turned into a juvenile popularity contest, and no serious issue will ever be resolved with 30-second sound bites or soapbox rants (present company excluded, of course). The news today might as well be an episode of Gossip Girl without any plot.
The process of moving forward and getting over our country’s adolescent angst starts with individual citizens. We need to stop acting irrationally and trying to secede whenever the government doesn’t act the way we’d like.
The founding fathers set up a system that allows for citizens to petition their government. If you’re unhappy about an aspect of your life controlled by government, educate yourself on existing policy. Write to your legislators, and hold them accountable for their actions. Policy should be a reflection of the people, but too often we fail to voice our opinions.
If we’re not active in the political process, then we are conceding to let others make our decisions for us. Politics work best when everyone has their input, and if we can’t even have rational discussion among citizens, we can’t expect politicians to reach a suitable consensus.
If America is an unruly teenager, then we as citizens need to step up and be the disciplinary parents. Sometimes all it takes to fix bad behavior is a little tough love.