By Garrett Strother, entertainment editor
I am a concerned American. At this point in time, there is no shortage of us. Left and right, the approaching election taps us on the shoulder, draws us close, and yells into our ear that, no matter what the outcome, our country is going to be shaken at its core. Of course men and women of all ages should always be concerned with who their next president will be, but this seems to be the only way the election can get our attention. Each extreme runs further in both directions, with the antics of the reality-star ringleader flustering average Americans into a join-or-die mentality.
But we all already know that.
The issue is what to do.
There is a boiling inside me to take action, any action, to try and remedy the turmoil I fear my country is about to fall into. But just like the vast majority of citizens, I have no special soapbox to stand on. I feel gagged while watching a devolution into bigotry, hatred, and presidential debates where size matters. Those who stand up and protest against the hairpiece/mouthpiece hybrid are met with threats and even actual violence, none greater than in my beloved city of Chicago. My normal voice is drowned out by louder and more hateful ones, and I hesitate to join the protests for fear of a First Amendment expression turning into a Second Amendment tragedy.
So now I’m back where I started.
Many have suggested moving to Canada, which is, at first, not a terrible idea. They have a similar lifestyle, mostly speak the same language, and have a compassionate and charismatic leader.
But I’m an American, not a Canadian.
I love democracy, and I love capitalism. I stand up Monday through Friday, pledge my allegiance to my flag, and unlike the majority of the droning masses reciting around me, I mean it. This country belongs just as much to me as it does to any loudmouthed billionaire, and he will not scare me out of it.
This is the manifesto of the concerned American, the American that feels silenced by the growing extremism that surrounds them. This is the manifesto of Republicans, Democrats, Coke fans, Pepsi fans, immigrants, and the descendents of Plymouth Rock themselves that abstain from the politics of abuse and belittlement, that are willing to stand up straight, and with an unwavering cocktail of patience, patriotism, and perspiration, take their country back.
Certainly, this thesis will be met with a wave of discouragement no hull of idealism could fully fend off. The more perverse the system gets, the more its cancer seems to spread. Voters are not repulsed by sweeping statements of contempt, but instead flock to them. The age of the thinking masses has been severed by a framework catering to a sensationalist flash-in-the-pan cultural method of consumption. Despite technology’s steps towards a world without anonymity, many find the growing polarity around them a valid excuse to not only engage in unruly behavior, but fully indulge in intolerance and act on their ugliest and most primal impulses.
The concerned American’s trepidation of this path is what drives them to counter it. Only by meeting belligerence with the accepting and diverse ideals on which this nation was founded can we truly honor those that came before to give the gift of freedom. We will not stand silent as the clock is wound backward and we see the worst of mankind’s history echoed on our own soil.
It is the the duty of the concerned American to find a resolution. When our own democracy is manipulated to yell in our ear, we must grab it by the shoulders, look it in the eye, and remind it what it once was.