“One Nation, Indivisible” and Other Lies
by Olivia Bretzman ‘22
Many Americans grow up with the notion that the United States of America is a nation of liberty, justice, and unity. It is considered the “land of the free and the home of the brave” in our kindergarten classrooms, where students are taught that America is the best, America is powerful, and America is a nation in which everyone desires to live.
The older one gets, the more difficult it becomes to believe these notions and values because of the injustices that we see and experience. The Capitol riot on Jan. 6 made it clear that our government is broken. Both political sides agree that the riot represented an anarchist, corrupt, and anti-democratic movement fueled by discontent with the government. The exercise of violence has created a political climate that is the antithesis of the unity, bravery, and justice that our democratic republic has prided itself on for centuries, and we as Americans need to devote serious attention to fixing this problem.
The riot at the U.S. Capitol frankly scared American citizens. Extremist groups gaining entry into one of the safest, most nationally sacred buildings reeks of secrets, corruption, and degradation. Many ask themselves, what is our country becoming?
Over the recent presidential elections—not just the past two, but even before that—politicians have become celebrities. Public office no longer represents humble, qualified people willing to serve the needs of their constituents. Our government has become a game in which we focus on exteriors and tweets rather than real change, policies, justice, and the continuity of our country.
The United States is a democratic republic. Our nation was designed to be run by elected representatives and the voices of our people, yet we have ultimately become a nation of censorship and narcissism. If social media is the main means of communication among the American people, it should be reinforcing free speech rather than eliminating it.
In light of this notion and the delicate nature of our country, as young Americans, we can be the generation that creates a necessary shift. True, it is not a matter of just voting; it is a matter of educating ourselves so that we can ensure we are not supporting falsified and glamorized politicians and policies. We must stick to facts, inform ourselves, and use our moral compasses to drive our government where we want it to go.
Our country is still strong, indeed. People serve our country and make selfless sacrifices every day, and our assortment of beautiful cultures and influences is growing. The United States has much on which to pride itself. However, it is clear that we have significant issues. No party can deny this.
Instead of picking out each of the differences between us, we should attempt to find unity in reinvigorating our democracy. By restoring some of the values on which our country was built, such as equality, individualism, free speech, and general freedom, we can hopefully heal the discontent, tragedy, and strife. We can build a better nation for ourselves and for future generations.
The whole world is watching. It is embarrassing to see a country you are proud of fall on international television. It is embarrassing to say one is American when our country is so divided and spiteful. We can change that. Will you be the one to create that change?