Home of the brave: America heads into trying times

Mariah Niemiec, Reporter

My mom has one piece of consistent advice she’s given me my entire life. Whenever the chaos of the outside world breaks into my reality and leads me to worry about the changes occurring beyond my control, she tells me “Just focus on your little corner of the world.” I can’t decide if this advice is helpful or naïve of me to follow.

As society evolves, we come face to face with new, groundbreaking obstacles that will determine our course. The world news has become as horrifying as the R-rated films we all pay Hollywood to produce. Hatred and ignorance have built barriers throughout mankind.

So is this good or bad advice? Does focusing on our little corner of the world mean we’re ignoring the cries of others? Or is it simply a way to remain afloat in the wash of changing times?

I don’t exactly immerse myself in politics; however, nowadays it is hard to ignore. This recent presidential election has horrified me in countless ways, the most significant being the amount of fear that has made a home in our communities.

The degree to which the advertising and campaigning slandered each candidate was shameful. Political debates morphed into petty arguments that poured through the nation’s media outlets. This election conveyed the message that a negative approach to an issue is the most powerful.

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently published an article called “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools.” It was written in April of this year, long before Donald Trump clinched the presidency. The article describes a survey taken in elementary schools during the election year. More than one third of the students reported a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-immigration sentiment. Almost half of these students were hesitant to even learn more about the election.

SPLC reported the most shocking statistic of all, “More than two-thirds of the teachers reported that students- mainly immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims- have expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election”

At multiple times throughout the election, I heard the observation that it seemed most people were not voting in favor of either candidate. Instead, the people were voting strongly against a candidate. I’ve also heard people describe their voting methods this year as, “choosing the lesser of two evils.”

No matter your opinion of the candidates, America is headed for some trying times. We are in the midst of a political upheaval and it’s only the beginning.

Our newly appointed leader chooses methods of bullying, sexism and racist remarks to gain ground in his success. He leads his followers by laying a foundation of hatred and fear for them to march on. I have seen videos of Trump mocking the mentally ill, the troops, people who are terminally ill, and of course- immigrants and Muslims.

So how do we react to this? Should we just block out the chaos and focus on our little corner of the world? Yes and no.

I think what my mom means when she says this is to start small. To make changes in who and what we surround ourselves with. To acknowledge each person as just that – a person – despite their social standing, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Focus on your little corner of the world by making the changes that you want to see reflected in the outside world. These are unsteady times. We need each other.

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