This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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By now we have read reactionary commentary on what transpired on the 6th of January on Capitol Hill and pondered within ourselves and of course in social media how life in America got to this point. Although a logical reaction, one must not forget a fundamental truth: Being an American is something of which to be immensely proud.
Some of you may roll your eyes ridiculing such a statement as a nationalistic cliché. Be that as it may, but as an immigrant with a different perspective and as someone who is dreaming and working towards becoming a legal American citizen, I passionately believe in American exceptionalism. However, it breaks my spirit to see how neighbors in beautiful small-town communities wish ill upon each other based on such trivialities as who is or isn’t residing in the White House. Such toxic tribal mentality only exacerbates unnecessary social strains and plays to the hands of political marionettes, whilst propping up the share prices of social media companies. Your discontent with the status quo should not bolster someone’s political capital or business profits.
Turn off the Television and Social Media
To regain some sense of normalcy, we should all start from turning off cable news and limit our social media usage. These two entities’ raison d’être has become to fuel the fire, whilst insulting their audience. We should, rather, read classical books on philosophy than watch 5-minute soundbites meant to divide and distract. You’re not an expert on a topic just by watching Anderson Cooper or Mark Levin! Both sides have an agenda that is far from reporting the objective truth.
We should participate with our neighbors in community building events rather than worry what political sign they might have in their yard or what bumper stickers are glued to their car. If and when you meet someone with a differing opinion, remember that the rulers always gain more from your disagreement with someone than acceptance of differences. If political office is for sale – as it appears to be on Capitol Hill – why should any of the political marionettes matter at all? Why should you voluntarily participate in a game that is overwhelmingly rigged against you and your neighbor? Perhaps the best way to fight the machine is to elevate and support political candidates that have zero chance of winning. And if they do win due to our nihilistic tendencies to support them for the sake of entertainment value, such knowledge in the hands of unhappy voters can do massive damage to the political elite. Isn’t that what America has always been about? Remind these “civilized public servants” who is really in charge: you and your neighbor.
This is not an argument or call for political apathy. Far from it. Where we should exhaust our political energy or perhaps grievances should be in local elections, not in PPV events in Washington D.C. Every two years, Americans have to endure a variety of absolutely virulent character assassinations in television and then upon casting their votes are asked to trust the one that was most effective in smearing tactics. No wonder trust in politicians and institutions is plummeting (as it should). But this mistrust should not poison our communities. Perhaps to avoid this destiny we must focus on why America is a wonderful place to live in.
Why America is Still Great
Here are few of the reasons I, as an immigrant, think America is still a great nation. America is exceptional because it is a country of free thinkers, not indoctrinated masses. America is compassionate because people from other states in the nation rush to help another state that has been wrecked by natural disaster. We in Europe mostly laugh at neighboring nations when they suffer. America is wealthy because innovations which rest of the world enjoys are not made in government labs, but by free individuals tinkering in their garages. America is righteous because you maintain world order when rest of the world cowers away from their responsibilities. America is graceful because you are not ashamed to praise your Creator. America is virtuous because you are the last nation standing for liberty. America is honorable because you’d rather die on your feet than live on your knees.
Be proud of what you have achieved as a nation because America is still work in progress. It is understandable to feel pain, fear, and discouragement when our “guy” is not in White House. But let us make sure that our “guys and gals” are representing us as county commissioners, members of the board of education, members of State Senate, mayors and city councils.
In other words, its time to think local and act local! God bless America(ns)!
Henri Erti is a writer for NRN. Born in former USSR Estonia, he escaped communism to neighboring Finland where he learned first hand about the atrophying effects of socialism. Erti studied international business in Brevard College (NC) and completed graduate studies in international political economy at Dubrovnik International University (Croatia).