We the People
I cannot remember an election cycle to be as testing and all-encompassing as this. What I mean by “testing” is a critique of the soul. It was a test of character, of belief, and of virtue. Like many Americans, I was rather undecided about my opinions on the candidates through much of the process. Yet unlike other years, my undecidedness did not come from a lack of knowledge, lack of interest, or both, as one might expect from previous elections.
This confusion was caused by the ferociousness with which both Democrats and Republicans pulled on my resolve. It was an electoral experience unlike any I had ever imagined. There are those who staunchly support the now President-elect Donald Trump. There are those who vehemently resisted his vision, and who will continue to do so. And then there those in the eye of the storm like myself, caught between family members, friends, and peers battling each other’s resolves and wits. In the wake of last night’s results I am left with these thoughts.
I do not fear the offensive dialogue involved in this election. While I wish it wasn’t true, I believe that offensive speech is the price of important speech - meaning that, despite all of the disturbing things have been said this election cycle, it gives us the opportunity to confront them and change the culture for the better. And while it may not seem so simple today, tomorrow, or even the next day, there will come a time again to triumph over such speech, always hoping it will be the last time.
I fear for what this election will have done to friendships. Thomas Jefferson, one of my favorite presidents, said “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” I have always felt that this has gone without saying. I am no longer certain of that. If there is any irreparable damage that can be done by this election as of right now, it is the ruining of our friendships. I urge all people to recognize that while we may have different visions for our country, we must still wish the best for each other, and our nation. At the end of the day, we are all Americans.
I do not fear for America. I have tremendous faith in our institutions and the works of our greatest men to establish our nation as an ever-lasting one. That faith stems from the many challenges our country has faced in the past, times where the future was as uncertain as it seems today. I see this faith as necessary for preserving the great system of democracy we have established. This is because the belief and support in the institution should always be held in higher esteem than the support and belief in any one individual. A politician’s power comes from the height with which their supporters raise them up to. The moment the individual becomes more powerful than the institution is the moment when the door becomes opened for the removal of democracy, regardless of platform, party affiliation, or ideological stance.
Thus, I implore you to be steadfast in your support for the Bill of Rights. Be resolute in your devotion to the Declaration of Independence. Be unwavering in your commitment to our nation’s greatness, because we the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America, and that can never change.
God bless America.