Dear America,

It’s good to chat, again. I know we haven’t been in touch for a while, that I haven’t been physically with you, but regardless, I want you to know that still care deeply about your overall well-being. Today, I’m reaching out to express my concerns.

Trends our country has taken the past few weeks, months, and recent years have put me and many of my friends and family, on edge. I’m talking about the rise of toxic nationalism – a patriotism that does more to separate and exclude citizens according to our ethnicity and political alignment than unite – throughout the country. I’m referencing the blind eye we’ve taken for the hundreds of children that remain separated from their families on our southern border. And I’m shaming us for the de facto disenfranchisement of over half our people, that see no point in participating in the political sphere because no change starting from the top will ever trickle down far enough for its impact to be felt.

What should our country’s response be to the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg is the largest anti-Semitic hate crime within the U.S.? To our president’s threats to revoke birthright citizenship for those born with parents that are not citizens? To the nomination and confirmation of a supreme court justice with several sexual assault allegations..?

Some will say our minds have heightened awareness towards these obscene occurrences. Others will argue that the high concentration of tragedies – murders, family separations, and international conflicts – have led to a numbing of the brain. A submission.

Then again, maybe there are things to look forward to. It’s midterm election day! Maybe we aren’t as numb as I feared. Maybe we’ve actually had the courage to think for ourselves, to stand up and criticize our broken two-party duopoly, Countries away, but still in touch — WI has had some record number of absentee ballots received (500,000+ compared to 300,000 in 2014). 500% increase in turnout for 18-29 year olds in TX. Truly, the world is watching. What happens today, the results that appear in the morning, are a sign to the rest of the world about our values. A signal on how we are going to respond to these issues within out nation. Internationally, will the effects of these elections reverberate throughout the globe? As a citizen that is currently out of the country, it has become clear the extent to which your actions impact economics, policies, and individuals’ day to day stability. Will tomorrow transcend trends of populist politics – the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, the resignation of Angela Merkel…? One can hope. A final push to the polls!

Lizzie

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