By Phillip Graham
“Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….”
These words, spoken by Charlie Chaplin in the last speech from The Great Dictator, seem to ring just as true today as they did all those years ago.
Growing up, I used to dream about what my future would look like. I thought about how my nation would change as I matured and what it would offer the future generations and myself. The last 100 years changed so much for the better, I can only imagine what the next 100 will be. Now more than ever it seems that we have entered a dystopian realm and have discarded all hope for the future. We are in the grips of a never ending love for nostalgia, a desire to return to what we perceived as better more unified time. What is worse now is the complete breakdown and lack of understanding for other citizens that we all now have because of this.
We, as Americans, are now at a point where we must reevaluate our privileges and start taking a better role in politics. We have become sick and tired of being sick and tired. From economic collapse, policy failures, ensuing wars, to Trump in office, we the people have become dissuaded from politics and activism. When greed and politics go along unchecked and don’t get better, it is our duty, collectively as citizens to say, “no more.” No more to our current hostilities in our government, communities, and especially our families.
We the people need to take pride in the fact that we can say “Trump is not my President” or “I don’t like Obama.” This is what makes America great. It saddens me that that it is nearly impossible to not remain calm and listen to those with different views. It has come to the point where it seems we are arguing to hear ourselves argue and we lose sight of the actual issues at hand. America has lost its way and it isn’t because of Obama, Trump, the Midwestern Christian, or the Gay Liberal New Yorker. It was because we gave up dialogue for chants and hashtags.
I don’t believe any of us thought we would be here, but hey, that’s life. The story of humanity is constantly evolving. I have hope that I will one day sit with my grandkids and laugh at how we acted and happy this was a brief moment in the story of our nation. A moment we will pass after we learn to sit together, listen, share, debate and love.