Where do we go from here?

Today is Inauguration Day for President Donald J. Trump and as Washington D.C., welcomes the newly elected leader of our nation, Americans all over the nation are feeling a wide range of emotion.

For millions of Americans, today marks the sad end to the Barack Obama presidency, their beloved Commander in Chief of the free world for the last 8 years. For others, today is an exciting new beginning to the next 4 years under the new Trump administration. And neither one of these two sides are very happy with how the other faces today.

The truth is, the United States is deeply divided and has been for some time now, and the 2016 election cycle only proved how nasty politics have gotten in this country. And its only getting worse.

After election day, the nastiness of both political parties continued to bubble over into public life. As millions of Republicans were overjoyed that their candidate pulled off one of the biggest upsets in political history, Democrats were devastated. The bandaid of politics  had been ripped off painfully, and it exposed a nasty wound plaguing this country, a nasty wound that was making ordinary people into angry mad men.

Violence broke out. Arguments erupted across the nation in big cities, small communities, and all over social media. Protests arose, and supporters both red and blue took to beating one another to a pulp just because of who they voted for.

Half of this nation could not be any happier with the outcome of the election, while the other half was sad, scared, and angry with the thought of the new president. The chasm between these two groups is as wide as it has ever been. The canyon has pulled us so far apart, that we can’t even see one another as human anymore.

Pew research.png
| Pew Research Center | Over the past 21 years, party polarization and realignment has brought Americans further apart than they have ever been.

In fact, we have minimized the other side of the isle to stereotypical ideas of what people actually are. We often find ourselves thinking of the “other” as ‘Oh, those whiny liberals’ or ‘Oh, those closed minded conservatives,’ all the while forgetting that all of us hold our own opinions and biases. And when that happens we lose sight of what this country is all about.

At the end of today, one question will remain for Americans of all walks of life to ponder: where do we go from here? However you view the new era we have entered, the question is definitely worth asking.

Have things gotten so ugly that we can no longer look one another in the eye, even if they belong to a different party than we do? Will this election mark the beginning of no turning back from political strife, gridlock and hate? So many questions demand an answer, and through the test of time, they will be.

As the United States enters its 241st year as a nation, we all ought to remember that this country operates based upon the people that make up this country, not the president. Whether you like it or not, the fate of this country until 2021 does not ultimately rest upon the shoulders of Donald Trump, it rests upon the shoulders of the American people and it can be impacted by the way that we treat one another.

Love your neighbor. Take time to listen to those you disagree with. Remember that we are all human, we are all American, and that just because we believe we are right another person doesn’t have to be wrong.

2016 blinded us all to the common bond that we share together. We are all Americans, and that can’t and shouldn’t be lost in the monotony of political disagreements. Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian or other third-party, we still have to interact with one another 2017.

Politicians can hide behind their party, but common, every day people can’t. We will continue to go to work together these next 4 years. We will go to school together, raise families together, go to church, frequent the same businesses, and do life together. No matter how much you hate those “whiny liberals” or “gun-totting conservatives,” we cannot avoid one another, like the politicians can.

Stand up for what you believe in. Do not, however, needlessly quarrel with others for disagreeing with you. That does no good for anyone.

No matter who you are, you matter to this country. Without you, we will be exactly in the same place as we are now in four years. Maybe this country won’t look exactly the same as it did in 2016, but it will undoubtedly face the same problems we do in 2017.

Whoever you are, whatever you look like, wherever you came from, whatever you believe in, whatever emotions you may feel today, America needs you. It’s up to all of us to get through these next 4 years together.

Declaring that Donald Trump is not your president won’t fix this nation, and neither will rubbing the new presidency into the face of the other. Listening, building relationships, doing good for your community, and respectfully disagreeing with one another will.

After all, Twitter wars and Facebook trolling is not what has made this country great since 1776, its been great because of the people that make up this nation.

There are two paths that this country can take from here. We can either learn to work together, or we can continue to drive one another apart.

Whatever path may be chosen by the people, we should all take time to consider the impending question we face from this day forward: where do we go from here, and what part will you play in getting us there?

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