Mug Hannah Ball, Staff Reporter

Tri-County Times | Hannah Ball

I’ve heard the phrase “make America great again” hundreds of times on TV, online, on shirts, and even on an old classmate’s Facebook page. It’s everywhere.

 This overreaching phrase is too ambiguous for me. One, it implies that America was great at some point in time, and two, that we as a country have lost said greatness. I don’t believe it is definitive nor does it define “greatness.”

 It’s been more than 50 days since the election, and I’m disappointed in the American people. I don’t see greatness in this country right now. I see division.

 I see older Republicans running away from discussion about issues dealing with race, sexuality, and gender, and I see a huge slew of people that are unaware of the definition of “xenophobia,” while acting out the term.

 I see young liberals boycott the electoral college and protest our election system just because this election didn’t turn out in their favor.  

 I see people on both sides of the political spectrum fighting for the same things, just in different ways. I see the right ignoring facts about police brutality, and I see the left using the same kind of hateful rhetoric that they fight against.

 I saw the Republican Party struggle with, but ultimately support, a loose cannon this past election. Now I’m seeing an increase in hate crimes because of that loose cannon, and what I’m not seeing are people on the right condemning those hate crimes.

 I see Republicans saying “get over it” to fellow Americans who have to put up with said crimes.

 I see the Democratic Party unfairly supporting one candidate who’s broken the law, while pushing down the one clean candidate who I believe truly cares about Americans.

 Now I see Democrats calling all Republicans “racist” because they voted for someone who has encouraged xenophobia.  People on both sides care more about winning fights on Facebook rather than establishing effective communication.

 This is why I loved Trevor Noah’s segment with Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show. Those two represent the extremes of both sides, and were able to have a civil conversation.

 People talk big, but most everyone falls in the middle – and that’s where we have to meet. It’s not black and white. It’s every color of gray you can imagine.  

 What’s going to help this country finally achieve greatness is effective communication and compromise. It’s not going to matter how right you are or how staunch you are in your beliefs — if you’re not initiating effective, progressive dialogue that leads to solutions for everyone, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

 Picking fights with people online solves nothing. I see people of all ages fall prey to fake news that’s easily identifiable. Don’t be the sheep — the thing you’re always accusing the other side of being — by only reading headlines. Do the work to get the entire story.

 To ‘make America great again’ we need to make America educated. We need to empathize with people who don’t look like us, talk like us or worship like us. We need to do more listening instead of soapboxing. We need to realize that someone else’s struggle isn’t invalid just because we haven’t experienced it.

 Make America great again? It’s up to us.

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