The key to unlocking America’s full potential


America must prioritize unity in order to reach its full potential.

This year, our country has seen its fair share of adversity and hatred. From the election to the riots, I’ve seen enough quarreling and arguing to fill a lifetime. As a sixteen-year-old Indian kid living in the suburbs, I never saw myself stepping out of my comfort zone to pick a fight with the next man who didn’t see eye to eye with me, but I saw my peers wage digital wars against those who didn’t agree with them. Seeing all the back and forth between strangers and the growth of toxic environments all over social media, I was significantly concerned for the well-being of America. New York Times writer Damon Winter noted, “American society is more brittle now than it has been in years…  Residents of red and blue America can’t even agree on the reality before their eyes, let alone demarcate the common ground they share.”  Clearly, I wasn’t alone. 

My history class watched a documentary about America’s reaction to the collapsing of the Twin Towers. I vividly remember learning about the events of September 11, but the days following the attack were what truly captured my heart. Petula Dvorak from the Washington Post said it best: “‘United We Stand’ was the nation’s mantra when we were attacked from the outside.” Baseball games in the days following had the players and fans passionately belting the national anthem, liberals and conservatives alike proudly flew the American flag and to me, it looked like America was whole. Unified in all its glory. Truly beautiful. 

As an immigrant from India, my father appreciates many things that I take for granted. He told me that this nation earned the nickname, “the land of opportunity,” for a reason: each and every person has the opportunity to be successful. It doesn’t matter where you started. If you put the work in, you will be successful. This ideology should unify us. We aren’t all that different. We are all capable of achieving beautiful things. He explained to me how blessed we are in this country, yet we spend our days bickering with each other rather than putting our differences aside and moving forward together. 

Unity isn’t one of the first things that come to mind when I think of the grace of America. Yet, I quickly realized that it should be. When we set aside our differences and unite I truly believe there is no force strong enough to divide us. Now more than ever, we should be encouraging each other to love and respect our neighbors. We must look past our differences in race, religion, and social status to see one another as what we all proudly are: Americans.