By: Nick Galaiga, TWC Media Intern from Cuyahoga Community College
E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.
This motto that appears on the Great Seal refers to the union between the states and the federal government, which symbolizes the unity of our country. On January 20th, as I witnessed Donald J. Trump be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America, I thought about this motto.
The peaceful transition of power from one elected leader to the next is a hallmark of our democracy and serves as a powerful reminder of how our country has prospered over the last 240 years.
Over the last 18 months, I have seen our country become segregated due to the grueling campaign season that left an indelible mark on the American people. The polarizing views of our presidential candidates seemed to build an unbreakable wall between the American people. It’s as if we the people have created two one-party nations, rather than one, two-party nation.
During my sixteen days as an intern with The Washington Center at its Inauguration ‘17 seminar, I was fortunate to meet with organizations associated with the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian parties, as well as members of the trade and liaison staff at the Australian Embassy. Each person offered his or her opinion on what all of them deemed to be an exhausting and unnecessarily long election election process.
These experiences gave me an important window into how people with different values and ideals (and, yes, citizenship) see our country. Their different ideologies made me think: how exactly are we supposed to have a government for ALL people when everyone has such different desires and needs based on their beliefs and location? Then I thought that the recurring theme across these different ideologies, desires and needs was that everyone wants to make the United States a wonderful place to live for ALL people. We all seem to have different views on how to get to that point.
Instead of hating each other for who we voted for, let’s engage in positive dialogue on how we can create positive social change in our country. We are so quick to judge the actions of others, but fail to consider the experiences they have had that make them act in the way they do. People keep making jokes about how Trump will be the man who destroys America. I learned
over the last two weeks that while the government has a great deal of power in determining the direction of country, so do we, the American people.
The success of our country relies just as much on the 319-million people who have a choice to spread love or hate every day as it does on the government. If we come together and peacefully stand up for what we want our country to look like, as over 500,000 people did in the Women’s March, we will be able to hold our elected officials accountable. If we come together and engage in anarchy, as a small number of people did on the day of the Inauguration, we will only end up destroying cities and more importantly ourselves.
I was incredibly fortunate to participate in The Washington Center’s academic seminar. This program gave me the opportunity to interact with experts on race relations, climate change, the battle against terrorism, lobbying power in D.C and the budget process. I met with various members of Congress and gained an immense amount of knowledge about the history of the world through visits to the African American and the Holocaust museums. This incredible experience has educated me in so many ways, opening my eyes to a whole new way of looking at the world and how to go about making it a better place to live for ALL human beings.
As I watched Trump be sworn into office as the leader of the free world, I thought about the motto on our Great Seal. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. In order for the states and the government to be unified under one goal of making this country a wonderful place to live for ALL people, we must engage in serious, peaceful, respectful dialogue across party lines in an effort to gain an understanding of the desires and ideals of individuals who differ from us.