Keeping the United States United

Students react to the 2020 election

It is time that the United States of America become united again.

Jonah Kim

It is time that the United States of America become united again.

Former President George Washington said, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” If only he could see what political parties have done to our country now.

Division within the country was clear during the 2020 election, which was filled with chaotic presidential debates, powerful protests and fierce posts on social media. However, this havoc did not just end on election night. On November 7, Democratic candidate Joe Biden became the projected president-elect, but it was not until weeks later that Trump accepted the transition to a Biden presidency. While he accepted this transition, he still has not conceded the election and is still pursuing more lawsuits. Without substantial evidence of voter fraud in his lawsuits, he is further contributing to the division in our country. 

As the divide in our country is growing, it is also gaining the attention of a new generation. Junior Brooke Seldes said, “This election changed my perspective on politics because it made me realize how polarized and divided our country can be when determining who takes office.” Students witness poor examples of leadership in politics, which has only fueled their desires to become more educated.

Freshman Christina Foschino said, “I have learned that politics can be a dirty game. The candidates don’t always focus on the important issues, rather they highlight each other’s flaws.” People want to look up to their leaders. They want guidance from them. If these people are unable to be good role models, they fail in their jobs as leaders. Their bad behavior gets reflected in the behavior of their followers and the country becomes further divided and collaboration grows more difficult because of everyone’s inability to cooperate.

This is why students suggest that unifying the country is just as important as any policy. America has learned to come together after tragedies such as the September 11 attacks, but why must a tragedy occur for this to happen? The country’s progress relies on politicians and people of all parties to come together. Senior Susan Dong said, “I think that, at the end of the day, we (and politicians) need to believe in the American people. I truly believe that, at the core, all Americans are good people.” Yes, division within the country regarding politics has been a main problem for years, but now is the time to fix it. 

Unification begins by not labeling individuals by their political party. We do not write our political parties on a “Hello my name is…” sticker, so this principle should not be any different in everyday life. There is so much backlash to the ideologies of the two parties, and people seem to think that the principles of a party define who a person is.  Freshman Dylan Alcruz believes a better approach is to respect everyone’s opinion. “I have many friends and family members, all with varying political opinions. I can admit that I have had some pretty fierce encounters relating to the 2020 Presidential election. Personally, the way I select whether to engage or ignore is to remind myself of one idea–I will respect your opinion as long as your opinion doesn’t disrespect anyone else’s existence.”

The country can learn a thing or two from the maturity of students about how to live as one unified nation. We at OT want to believe that whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent, you’re an American first. Not only is that what Washington would’ve wanted, but what the country should want, too.