Opinion | Uniting the nation, one step at a time

Philip Goodrich, freshman political science and history major

There is no question that the United States is a divided nation. Over the past few years, it seems as if there has been more political polarization than ever in the modern era of this country.

This hostility can be seen in a variety of ways: Recent acts of violence towards innocent civilians, unfair treatment of minority groups, animosity on social media, enmity between our elected officials and an overarching sense of outrage that is present in this nation.

The unfortunate truth is that there is no single solution to mend America. This country is severely broken, and it will take time, patience and understanding to fix it. The first step is to vote.

The upcoming midterm elections are exceptionally significant due to recent scrutinization of the current administration, and many individuals are likely tired of the endless voting campaigns. But the call to get out and vote is warranted, and Americans need to respond by taking action.

We live in extremely tense times, and it is crucial that we send a message to our elected officials. We desperately need to bring respect and compassion into politics.

To illustrate the lack of these values, we can look at the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the poor manner in which our senators conducted themselves.

Whether you approve or disapprove of Kavanaugh, we should all be able to agree that the lack of composure among our leaders was embarrassing for the country.

Respect and compassion have been lacking since the foundation of this nation, and if present, they could change the world. Our elected officials reflect our values, and if they do not exemplify dignity, then neither can we.

Not only do we need to elect considerate individuals, but we need to elect more moderate candidaes who are not afraid to defy their party. Partisan politics are destroying this society, and if we stay on this path, we will continue to be a divided nation.

Politicians are too afraid to stray from their parties, and these fears are reflected in their votes on recent tax and healthcare bills. We cannot rely on the “blue” or “red” waves to fix this country, we must rely on the cumulative power of the American people.

The next step in unification is controlling our emotions and developing open minds. Debating political issues is a vital component of our democracy.

But when these debates turn into attacks and harassment, we begin to witness the decay of unity. Whether at work, in school, on social media, or even in our own homes, we must strive to treat others with kindness while taking part in healthy dialogues. This will be hard for Americans who have difficulty agreeing, but if we can establish this empathy, then we can establish solidarity.

The third step is to set an example. Change will not come unless the American people create it. If we want to build a united nation, there is nothing but division standing in our way. The revolution for unity begins with the individual – it is the people who will transform this nation. We must rid ourselves of bigotry and lead with an open heart.

There are many other steps toward repairing our country, but if we could accomplish these three, we would find ourselves in a much better position.

Many people have a great deal of trepidation toward the current state of our nation and it is our responsibility to change that. We must not divide ourselves in order to form a country capable of moving forward.

This unification will not happen overnight, but if Americans can recognize the situation and work toward a solution, we may one day have a truly United States.