As we kick off the new year with a wave of resolutions and bubbling champagne, let me be the first to recognize our inability to understand the abysmal plight of our own country.
There’s a long list of problems we acknowledge but fail to resolve: let’s start with continued mass shootings, healthcare affordability and (of course) a good ol’ fashioned government shutdown. I know finding a solution to these problems seems nearly impossible, but so did getting Muslim and Native American women in Congress and we accomplished that.
Within 48 hours of the 2016 presidential election, I had accepted that we voted an orange-haired moron into office to govern us for the next four years. However, I refuse to accept that we still can’t influence policies to make this a country truly worthy of the international superpower nametag.
Being raised by immigrants has given me a unique approach to the American dream people fight so hard to experience; to me, the American dream means having the power to save lives just by walking four blocks and casting a ballot. To me, it means having the power to voice myself freely and have educated conversations with people having all kinds of opinions.
That’s a lot of power for a college student, wouldn’t you say? Good thing you have it too.
It’s quite interesting actually — the people closest to me are also the ones whose beliefs differ drastically from mine. How do we make it work? I suppose resolving conflicts within a friendship is different from resolving national problems where lives are at stake, but I still feel as though to a certain degree, the two can be leveled.
I mean, why would I bother to get riled up by conservative views if I deemed myself a liberal? Why would I even expend any energy having a three-hour long conversation the distinction between mental illness and sexuality? And of course, why would I be friends with such people who “refuse to understand”?
I’ve thought a lot about what makes these relationships work and I’ve decided that while our journeys are all different, our destinations are the same. We want a world that we think is “better” by our own respective definitions. However, if we can’t abide by our definitions and end up with similar outlooks, how can we expect the country to do the same? These are valid questions, ones that I unfortunately don’t have the answers to.
After all, I’m not going to leave my parents because of their particular feelings on immigration nor will I drop my friend because of his staunch beliefs on universal healthcare. The thing is, if we’ve managed to reach a resolution between us, then I think we should be able to do so as a nation. I’m not saying it’s easy or simple, but then again, neither are relationships (no matter what kind). Life is complicated and messy, which I’m sure you know, and it rarely has a simple solution. The key here is to focus on the fact that a solution exists and we just have to find it — but we can’t do that if we’re caught up in anger, frustration, revenge and whatever else distracts us from the real problems.
This new year, I resolve to not just acknowledge and get angry with the latest messed up news but take the time to understand it and how exactly I can use the power I have to fix it. I resolve to educate and be educated. I resolve to find a resolution, no matter how small, and build on it. Oh, and I’ll try to hit the gym a couple times a week.