Calm Down, America

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Calm Down, America

Casey Murray, News Editor

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So ends the latest sparring round in the epic, unending saga that is democracy in America. Per usual, Republicans and Democrats took to the internet to attack each other as the results came in, too afraid to speak face-to-face. This isn’t a brand-new problem; how long has Twitter war been a word?

We live in an age when we can filter all incoming information with the push of a button or swipe of a finger. With a few clicks, we can completely erase other people from our lives. Social media and the internet as a whole have tied the world together like never before, but never before has there been such vitriol and hatred spewed back and forth between Americans.

We have barreled down the boulevard of broken trust, hating one another all the more. ”

Just kidding. It’s happened many times before. Just think of the 1930s, when the specter of a communist revolution hung over the country’s collective consciousness. Think of the 1850s and 1860s, when the Mason-Dixon line sundered the country both physically and politically.

The difference is that we now know the depths to which our country can sink. We are steering a great ship across the ocean blue, and now we know where the icebergs are.

But just like Captain Smith that fateful April so many years ago, we have decided to ignore the icebergs. We have barreled down the boulevard of broken trust, hating one another all the more. Half the country thinks our president a saint; half the country thinks him an avatar of death itself. It’s been that way for far, far too long.

Our generation did not do this. The students of LFHS and their contemporaries across America did not elect Trump. We did not elect Obama. And we did not get to vote in the recent midterms that saw both parties escalate their crusade of partisanship.

You did, dear parents and grandparents. You did, dear Millennials and Baby Boomers. You are all responsible for dragging us down this path, and nothing you ever say or do will change that.

You refused to do anything about the gun violence that plagues our schools, passing laws that don’t work or shrugging and saying “meh” as your representatives drop NRA campaign checks everywhere.

You refused to do anything about climate change, deciding to elect presidents and congressmen who ignored it. Climate change may or may not be caused by humans, but there are clearly more storms, temperature swings, and floods then there were before. The kids who grew up after us may not remember the days when cold, snowy winters were a fact of life in Chicagoland, not some occasional fruit of the random number generator.

And you refused to do anything about global terrorism other than posture aggressively at the people who have murdered countless thousands of people since that fateful September day in 2001. Sure, you killed Osama bin Laden, but a homicidal maniac in North Korea now has the power to wipe countless American cities off the map and bin Laden’s contemporaries, a bunch of doomsday fanatics, are still working to carve out a medieval regime of torture and death in the Middle East. You treated a symptom but you did not cure the disease.

This is all your fault. Yours alone, and no matter how many times you say “kids these days”, you will never, ever, absolve yourselves of your guilt.

But it’s okay. We forgive you, because that’s what humans do for each other. We adapt, put aside our differences, and work together to build something better. That’s the only way our puny species can do anything. That’s how the Egyptians did it, that’s how the Romans did it, and that’s how Americans have done it for hundreds of years.

Why did we stop? We didn’t have to put an end to the days of goodwill and cooperation; we chose to. Maybe it seemed like a good idea back then, but look where it’s led us. You may love Trump or you may hate him, but we can all agree that the government isn’t working as it should.

So let’s all calm down and work toward a more cooperative future. Because if this ship is going to avoid that iceberg, we need all hands on deck. One half of the country can’t do anything by itself; we all need to work together.

Here’s a toast to friendship and good cheer. The holidays are approaching; let’s talk about them instead of lambasting each other over petty politics. We all perish in the end; fighting each other is a waste of the precious few years we have on this wonderful planet we call home. Calm down, America. You have better things to do than hitting yourself.