On Letting Go Of What Once Was

Posted by Logan M. Michigan

This piece is a critique of the fallacies in America today and a proposal of what can be done to stop them. This nation has tried to rely on the same old values yet still pleads that progress is being made, a stagnation that goes against the rights of man, woman, and child.

 While you could get partisan answers to any other question, Americans today can not argue that this country is unified, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. Sure, at its inception America was to welcome all who crossed the oceans with open arms, but there hasn’t been a time where this has seen proper execution as those already here can’t find an agreeable medium. This nation was experimental in that it was to be this great melting pot, a country of immigrants all bound together by a nationality thicker than blood, all the while a divisive history still ploughs along. It’s time to let go of a dated sentiment of unity and an American Dream if we’re to realize our problems and make America the progressive nation it claims to be.

The notion of an American Dream found a foothold within the 20th century as America dealt with civil rights issues and policed the world, doing the most to try and hold onto the label of a “beacon for freedom and prosperity.” A philosophy that goes so far as to say that every man, woman, and child all want the same thing and, in that, are all one, undoubtedly has good intentions yet possesses absolutely no self awareness. If the proprietors of this ethos saw America right now, they’d see a polar opposite to their ideal. People may want a similar outcome to their lives, to settle down, make your wealth, and raise a family, but the paths that can be taken to get there vary too much to allow one sturdy mindset.

America fell victim to this false hope in its youth and inexperience. Just because something works doesn’t necessarily mean it’s working well and this is something America has overlooked time and time again. Yes, the government may be functioning and the economy could be thriving, yet this does nothing to help the problems dividing citizens but, if anything, bolsters them. Creating a solid, functioning framework of a government that’ll function regardless of party occupation has promoted partisanship to whatever caters to certain desires.

The Founding Fathers infamously warned against forming of this two party system. Take George Washington’s farewell address. “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” This came from the first President and sure enough, become a reality. The detrimentality of the situation has come in that there’s no easily thinkable solution.

In order to get rid of this duality, the government would have to reset from the ground up and that’s not just something that could happen overnight. When you look closer, the parallels between the American government and a coffee machine are shockingly similar. You have the government’s framework, the three branches, and the brewer itself, both of which function as the catalyst. For the nation to operate fluently, it needs its framework just as you need that machine for your coffee. The indecision comes with what goes into the both of these. Do you want to see a democratic, more liberal government, or inversely, a conservative republican one? Do you prefer French or Columbian roast? How about cream and sugar? See, both of these are anchored by their constants. Just as the machine brews without regard, the nation chugs along.

Seeing as we can’t just reconstruct the machine and expect to keep on getting the same premium results, it’d be in our best interest to see if we can change what we ask of it. Is pushing our every desire onto a labelled pedestal and electing it into office so necessary? While my life has been short and the time I’ve been politically aware even briefer, I haven’t seen any overtly drastic changes made to fundamental rights. Division is sprouting from this incessant demanding of getting what we want exactly how we want it. You could blame the politicians for that, but they’re only carrying the message that the people want embodied. Why must we compete so much if we all want to fulfill a similar goal?

In the end, none of these petty demands will matter so much. You won’t find yourself on your deathbed cursing the liberals for pushing their pro choice agenda. The point is that this friction simply isn’t necessary. Open yourself up to your fellow Americans ideas and lose the facade that we all give our loyalty to a nation and it’s set values. This isn’t some sort of hive mind scenario even if that’s what is being promoted. We should all be able to revel in our individuality and not align ourselves with just some label.

For America to truly become the land of the free, American’s need to dissolve their political notion that the nation is theirs. If this writing holds any effect, I want it to be that I helped someone open their mind. Next time you find yourself at odds with somebody or something, try to practice sympathy and see the situation from where they stand before you turn to hostility and defense. Ignorance is the problem, so to make change and wear the title of American with pride, set yourself above the nationalistic conceptions of the past and come to terms with what being an American in the 21st century means. 

Published on Jun 12, 2018
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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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