By Jenny Wang
It’s 2019. A new year, a new start, and, as the rampant social media posts say, a new “you”. As the witty captions appear in our Instagram feeds, it’s easy to get caught up in the flood of resolutions which are likely to be soon forgotten.
Many of us are trying to convince to ourselves, claiming this is the year we’ll stop procrastinating or this is the year we’ll start going to the gym. Failing to maintain these resolutions has a relatively minimal impact; your decision not to begin your homework or go to the gym affects just you.
However, there are others who take on a responsibility to impact society and provide for the people. For the government, failure to keep promises can no longer have negligible consequences. Consider our current situation: the economy fluctuates dangerously, a new Congress arrives on Capitol Hill, and the government shutdown persists. Although we may face difficult challenges and political unrest, we cannot lose faith in our system. We function because we trust our leaders to foster our success.
The new year is a time to evaluate ourselves and set resolutions for the coming year. While individual goals are important to our personal growth, I believe we should set a national goal for societal growth. A 2019 resolution for American citizens should be to unify and move forward. Not too long ago, individuals could disagree without experiencing backlash for their views. Our lawmakers were able to work across the party line and communicate courteously with one another.
It’s time to bring an end to the practice of shaming those with different opinions. We can come together as a nation who values respect and harmony. We can remind ourselves what it means to disagree and discuss, rather than disagree and denigrate. We can address immigration policy, the federal budget, and income inequality without resorting to name-calling. Democrats must stop criticizing President Trump for every action he takes, and Republicans must stop blaming all our country’s issues on former President Obama. This constant partisanship undercuts the reputation of America’s political system and damages our social fabric.
We can change this.
Every era brings new cultural, environmental, and political developments. As American democracy adapts to new conditions, we must adapt with it and change our judgment-oriented mindsets. The government shutdown we’re currently experiencing has moved both parties further apart. Trump continues to demand appropriations for a border wall, and Democrats continue to refuse negotiations. If our lawmakers are able to reconcile, we can too.
We, residents of the United States of America, have more in common than we have differences. We live in this country because we value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We live in this country because we expect freedom of speech, petition, press, assembly, religion and so much more. Even though our individual goals may vary, let’s commit to putting our country first.
Let’s stop using words like “deplorable”, “fake news”, or “snowflake.” Let’s turn on the TV to find MSNBC praising a Republican and FOX praising a Democrat. Let’s take a step back from the incessant negativity in politics and consider this: what can we do to make an impactful change?
Instead of perpetuating a cycle of futility in our American political system, I welcome you—our future leaders—to consider what can WE accomplish in 2019.
Jenny Wang is a senior at Cheshire High School in Cheshire, CT and governor of the Northeast region of JSA. She has also served as director of activism and convention coordinator for the Northeast.