Location, in a way, is the greatest impactor of youth. It determines everything- the people around you, the jobs, the culture, education, and just about anything else. For some, this is advantageous; however, other people often don’t agree with the majority of those around them. This can be anything from sports teams to world views on war. I asked my mom a few questions about patriotism and how pop culture and school could affect that. She grew up in a small town in the upper peninsula, very close to Wisconsin. The town is very patriotic, very pro guns- they even used to get the first day of hunting season off. When my mom was in high school, the Berlin Wall fell, opening up the world’s eyes. Movements to spread awareness about famine and third world countries were common. She attended a liberal arts college, which encouraged free thinking and open discussion. She worked for state and federal governments, worked on campaign trails, volunteered, and more. I asked her if she was more optimistic or pessimistic about the country, and she said something I’d never really thought about. The world, America, politics, and government, all seem to swing back and forth. With progress brings fear of change, fear of unknown, and hatred. After Obama’s presidency, many gave into hate and fear mongering, and now America has a president that many people are ashamed of and disappointed in. Yet a pendulum doesn’t just swing one way. There’s been a push back against fear, and the people of America have seen it with more women in politics than ever before. With the election of Doug Jones over Roy Moore. With the election of Andrea Jenkins, the first openly transgender black woman to hold public office in America. The world has seen it too, with the millions of people gathering together to fight hate in the women’s marches. There’s one step back for every two steps forward, but that’s never going to stop people from fighting. America has a long way to go, but we’re further than ever before.