The United States v. the Problem


Brooke J. Freundschuh, A&E Editor

Wow, what a crazy week, month, year. The 2020 United States election was unlike any other in our nation’s history from the beginning. Never before have we had debates cancelled due to the president contracting the virus that over 200,000 of his citizens have died from. Never before have so many of the votes been cast by absentee or mail in ballots. Never in my lifetime have I seen such an outbreak of celebration, not because one leader was elected, but because another lost.

People were scared before the election and people continue to be scared after. There are problems in our country now, and there will continue to be, but we must have hope. 

After the Associated Press called the projected winner, I took to my personal Facebook to post a quote from Hamilton, reading “look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now,” followed by an American flag emoji.

Here’s what the post meant: We are on the tail end of one of the worst years in United States history, and although things will not automatically improve once the clock strikes midnight on Jan 1, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are living amidst a pandemic. Over 200,000 Americans did not live to vote in this election. Thousands of families will celebrate this holiday season with empty seats at their tables. Hate crimes have taken away even more Americans. No matter who you voted for, no matter who you wanted to win, no matter who is president the sun is still rising and we are alive and many people cannot say the same. Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.

My comments immediately erupted with some of my most beloved friends and family disagreeing with me. They feared for the future, for their family, for their kids. It broke my heart. There seemed to be a general assumption that because I had posted something positive that I had voted a certain way. I had said nothing about either candidate because I know the people I love have opinions on all points of the political spectrum, yet people were furious with me. I had my Christianity questioned over saying that I was grateful to be alive. I was so confused. I still am. I privately messaged several people and assured them that I did not mean to offend them and asked them for their points of views and if there was anything I could do to help them. I eventually posted a similar comment on the post saying that I respected everyone and if they needed help I was always there. This entire experience left me with a bitter feeling that so many seemed so lost for hope.

On the other hand many of my closest friends and family members were rejoicing. I had people tell me they could finally sleep again. Fireworks exploded in the sky all throughout the country. For once, New York City was void of isolation and rioting and filled with music. Some seemed at peace while others seemed like their families lives would fall apart the moment President-elect Biden was sworn in. My friend’s grandmother cried. My sense of empathy was so troubled. 

A friend from high school showed me that after she posted an Instagram story celebrating Biden’s win that an underclassman from our alma mater had sent her messages that were just plain cruel. He called her ugly, said she was unappealing to men and taunted her for mental health struggles she had in high school that she has since recovered from. It was extremely disrespectful, and it was solely triggered from her being a Biden supporter. 

Standing back from this, it’s honestly horrific that so many people are so dependent on one man. I’m not stating that they don’t have the right to be, but it is scary nonetheless. A Facebook post circulated stating not to lose friendships over two men who don’t know your name. I couldn’t agree more. Today, in America, we don’t just need a leader; we need each other. We need to be America.

We need to spend less time bickering on Facebook and more time checking on our neighbors, whether or not we agree with their lifestyle choices or values. It is time to step up. Whatever thing you’re scared of, you must at least work to prevent it. The communities must rise up and support one another, because if we the people are united, no leader can divide us. 

There’s a post that circulates on Pinterest of all places of a grandmother giving advice to her newly married granddaughter. She tells her to remember that in a fight it is never her versus her husband; it was always her and her husband versus the problem.

America, we need to realize that it is We the People of the United States of America versus the problems. We the people versus dishonesty. We the people versus inequality We the People versus economic struggles and poverty. We the people versus fear, hate, division. 

We are not the enemies of one another, at least we don’t have to be. 

A leader cannot divide or unite us until we dedicate ourselves to helping one another unconditionally. We all can do more to help those around us, despite how they voted. Period. 

We are one team. What’s our next move?