Beyond what ‘used to be’

America’s greatness lies within its people–if they can find it

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Aryauna Thompson

The future of our nation depends on those who focus not on what used to be, but what is to come.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag–”

“Stand up!”

“..and to the republic, for which it stands–”

“Show respect for your country!”

“I have nothing to respect.”

“With liberty and justice for all.”

This generation has been labeled in many negative ways. I can deal with most of them and shrug off the sighs of disapproval. Most of the time, I sigh along also — never voicing my opinion, only showing my moderate disgust. Not many things make me truly rage against my generation, but with the recent “downfall” of our country, people my age forget how great America has really been to its people. They have no respect. In fact, they go to the opposite extreme of showing contempt, which is one thing I just refuse to accept.

Our country has been around for upwards of 200 years. Two hundred. It has seen 43 different presidents, more than 12 major wars, revolutions, innumerable breakthroughs, and a constantly growing population of what is now more than 324 million people. But somehow, teenagers who make up less than 10 percent of the population think they have the right to bash everyone and everything that came long before them. I cannot speak for all of my generation, but I do not now or ever want to be associated with that behavior.

We are quick to deride everyone else, but agonizingly slow to recognize our power to make a difference. ”

— Aryauna Thompson

At least 10 times a day, I hear how doomed the country is from people in my classes. I listen to them talk about Trump and Hillary and more than half of them have no idea what they are saying. My generation is more concerned with memes and “Juju on that Beat” videos than they are about the future of their nation. While they sit at home making fun of the presidential candidates and the country itself, they forget just how much their lives will be affected by the state of our nation. Everybody complains. Nobody acts.

We are quick to deride everyone else, but agonizingly slow to recognize our power to make a difference. America was founded on the idea of freedom and diversity in harmony. Our people have fought for more than 200 years to keep it that way. Countless people shed blood and gave their lives to uphold this legacy. Now, we are willing to throw it all away in the course of fewer than 20 years.

The path we are traveling now is one that will make sure our country will always have that “used to be” before it.”

— Aryauna Thompson

Pride, respect, perseverance, freedom–these words are thrown around casually all the time. They are used so often that no one seems to know what they mean anymore. We used to be a country known for these things. The key words there being “used to be.” The path we are traveling now is one that will make sure our country will always have that “used to be” before it. I cannot speak for everyone, but I will not stand for it.

Forget ‘Murican.

I want to be an American.