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“Madame Speaker, the President of the United States.” These words began a moment of American tradition: the State of the Union. This constitutional mandate requires the president to address Congress on the status and condition of the United States and has over time become an address to the American people about the country. Even more so, it is an opportunity for the president to set forth his agenda to a national audience and the assembled branches of federal government. In front of the nation, President Trump delivered an astounding State of the Union that set forth his agenda but, more importantly, called for national unity.
A call for unity is something that most presidents — most politicians typically — include in their historic speeches, but now is a time when America needs that call the most. Our times are politically charged, the affairs of politics quickly seeping into other realms. Celebrities in Hollywood take moments meant for artistic recognition to express political hate. Members of the sports community use their moments on the field or their status to make a statement. Every time something like this happens, the media takes it as a moment to run headlines across the television screen.
Each time, America seems to become more divided. It is everyone’s right to speak their mind, and so these moments are not what I want to speak about today. What I want to speak about is a call for unity.
The calls for unity by President Trump were questioned by many, some even before the speech had started. I believe the president was genuine in his call, however, and the comments made by some regarding his request play right into the divisiveness that he has called for an end to.
America has been in the midst of this divisive trend for some time now, but the 2016 election brought to the front lines two political extremes that perpetually battle it out in the media and sometimes in the streets.
There are legitimate crises happening all over the world and in the United States. Even so, we are at a point where some of us can’t even be friends with someone who supports President Trump. Some of us are unable to fathom eating food with a liberal. There are moments where we hate simply because we cannot agree. While there are calls for unity from those who lead us and, I believe, personal calls for us to undivide ourselves, we need to ask serious questions about our climate, and we need serious answers. Will we ever be able to truly unify ourselves regardless of our circumstances?
I think we can, and not only can we, but we must as well. The fate of the republic, of these United States, is dependent upon we, the people, to be the people. We cannot be divided among ourselves simply because we disagree. We do not need to all believe the same way or agree with the same ideology. We do not even need to abandon our passion for our beliefs, our values or our causes. But we must abandon our hate toward one another.
I believe in our country, and I believe in our president. And though you may disagree, I believe that you, too, want a unified America based on its principles of liberty, equality and justice. I am not pontificating myself as a guiding light. But I will always try my best to unify with my fellow Americans regardless of what they believe or what they say. I believe in our United States.
Tyler Harmon is a first-year Private Interest and the Public Good master’s student. He is a guest writer from Colerain, Ohio.