I had always been a believer that the world progressively and objectively gets better on a linear trajectory. This was mostly driven by facts and statistics: worldwide poverty, hunger, disease, social tolerance, and mortality rates. This belief was shattered on November 8th, 2016. Suddenly and shockingly, it became apparent that this progress wasn’t on a linear path, and that it could actually regress in certain areas.
It has been a couple of months now, and I’ve finally been able to wrap my head around my new perspective of the world. I realize now my ignorance to believe that progress happens by itself. Here’s the thing though: all great leaps forward in humanity have had an inciting incident. Whether it was the many mistreatments of colonists that pushed them over the edge to declare independence, or Rosa Parks’ stand (sit) that ignited a movement, there’s a clear pattern of movements requiring negative events to galvanize people who otherwise may not have acted.
That is exactly what I’ve seen since November 8th. To be honest, I can’t imagine today’s march being so large, or the same number of people volunteering and donating to causes they care about if the election results had been different. Something positive has awoken, and there’s no sign that it’ll disappear any time soon. We now know that there are millions of determined people ready to take action and push us forward as a society. The best part is, I have no doubt that this is a permanent movement with no expiration date. The smiles, love, and support that that have been on display not only today, but every day, have been the most promising indicators of a better world that I can imagine. It’s more apparent than ever that we’re here for each other. Every interaction with another human is an opportunity to improve the world. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day and don’t make the effort to address everyone with compassion and support. The sincerity and compassion that we feel today must not be forgotten. If we address each encounter as a chance to comfort someone or make them smile, we will become a better people.
I’m incredibly proud of everyone marching and supporting marchers today. Whether or not you support them, they’re marching for you. They’re marching for this country. They’re marching for people around the world. They’re marching so that everyone can be anywhere unafraid. They’re marching to let it be known that there are people who care, people who want to help, people who believe in the goodness of others. More importantly, they’re doing it positively, with a message of tolerance, love, and support. While that message may not win over everyone all the time, it is the only way we can move forward to build the world we believe in.
To the millions of people around the country and world taking action, exercising their rights, and making their voices heard — Today, I’m Proud to be an American.