It seems that our nation agrees on nothing. From debates over abortions to pipelines, terrorists to education, and even transportation to fiscal irresponsibility, our country is definitively fractured, and we seem to find little common ground. Over the grand stage of the entire United States, ideological differences range an incredible amount. However, there are some times where even a fractured, diverse, and polarized nation like our own can come together. Whether these rare events are a game where grown men throw around a ball and the winners get a band of metal and rocks (the Super Bowl), or in celebration of our nation’s independence (July 4th), our disparaged confederation of groups need these occasions desperately.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Confucius
While it is far easier to believe electing better people to Washington will solve our problems of national unity, this is preposterous. We will always and should always have disagreements about public and social policy. However, we have an intense issue when our nation’s federal political organs are so factionalized it paralyzes the decision making process our country needs to create the necessary changes. There is no clear solution on how to reconnect Washington to the American people, or to solve the political apathy that is plaguing the United States, but there are ways we can start to make the change for the long term.
“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.” – Charles de Montesquieu
The most direct and effective way is education. Not only in 11th grade American Government class, but in the home, in coffee shops, in churches, in parks, and in community centers. Politics and intelligent discussion can no longer be a taboo. Instead of complaining how one hates politics because of corruption or disconnection from the constituency, it is essential that that person gets involved and combats the issue directly! This can be incredibly easy as well! Just attending local political meetings such as a city council or school board can be an exciting and effective way to become engaged. Patriotism is at an all time low, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance is another small way to join the discussion. Grandparents can be especially effective, by taking their grandchildren to the library or a book club! These seem completely unrelated to the original premise of the issue, but by creating active and responsible citizens, those people who took an interest in educating another will have created a better tomorrow. If we all work together, and play an active part in the community, taking a stake in the lives of youth, we can begin to fix the issues in an infinitely more constructive and productive way.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy