Age of Paranoia

After making it through the last of three painful debates, the American people deserve a pat on the back. With one of the longest election cycles in the world, many people are exhausted of the race and are glad that in just a few short weeks it will reach its conclusion.

Despite the relief, there is still a thick mist of tension lingering over the country, and it is a tension that surpasses concerns over just the two candidates.

The liberals are divided. Yes, Trump has united us against a common enemy, but for how long will we ignore the corruption uncovered within the DNC? The conservatives are divided, too, with top GOP leaders speaking out against Trump and arguing among themselves.

Beyond that, the American people are still fighting over whether saying “black lives matter” is obvious and righteous or blatantly racist. Violence is breaking out at a disturbing rate over these vital issues and it seems the end is nowhere in sight.

And of course, the climate is being destroyed at a remarkable speed, and we can’t agree on whether scientists are honest or controlled by the Chinese government.

These issues all concern trust and respect. There is little trust between elected officials and the people, there is little trust between communities and police and there is little trust between citizens of different religions and ideologies. This paranoia has led the people of America into an era of disrespect and our country into an era of disrepair.

This is not without consequence. Two GOP headquarters were recently attacked. Police officers have been shot at random. The sign marking the place where Emmitt Till’s body was found was shot to pieces. These are just a few examples of what happens when paranoia destroys mutual respect and peaceful tidings among citizens.

If this goes on much longer, I am afraid the country will dissolve and fracture past the point of salvation. It is up to the common citizen to set aside their fears and anger and return to an age of decorum. No matter how cringe-worthy their comments or viewpoints, we need to show respect and dignity to our opponents. Citizens need to respect the officers who are innocent of crime, and our legal system needs to respect our citizens by holding officers accountable for their actions.

Without a sense of honor and dignity, our viewpoints are worthless. We will find no rewards in this world simply for being “correct,” because if we do not find a way to work together, our differences will only lead to mayhem. Everyone senses the direness of the problems at hand. You can hear the weight of them on the news each day and in the disenfranchised conversations among students on campus.

It is time to unite as a country. If not under a central ideology, at least under a mutual respect and a love for peace. It is time to stop placing the blame on your political opponents, and to begin to place the blame on anyone of any ideology who creates vitriol and division in the country we love.