My favorite place in the world is the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. For me this has always been a spot that represents the very best of America. I love the intense pride, the intense diversity, the intense independence of everyone there. Each for their own purpose, each with their own meaning.
As I walk around and silently take in the words etched into stone on the walls of the vast memorial, I overhear parents explaining those words to their children. Each with a slightly different interpretation.
“Who was Lincoln?” asks a child.
“The man who freed the slaves,” replies a parent.
“The man who saved our country,” replies another.
I love that they are both correct, that this one President can represent so many different things to so many different people from all around the world. I stand there in gleeful awe of the knowledge that so many people, from so many different walks of life, have walked up and down these steps before me.
Today, America is facing undeniable political polarization. The country is split between Democrat and Republican. Left and Right. Blue and Red.
Source: Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/sociology-explains-polarization-politics-2017-3
But the divisions run deeper than that. It’s not just Left or Right, Blue or Red. It’s about race, ethnicity, and culture. It’s about who our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents were. Where they were born. How they were raised. And, in turn, how we were raised.
But there is nothing more Un-American, in my view, than to be resigned to a bleak future. That’s never been the American Way. The American Way is to press on against adversity, forge new paths, and hope the world follows our lead.
I’m so excited to be launching this initiative on Election Day 2018. I think there is no better time than now to stand up and say – no matter the outcome tonight, we will unite across divides. We will listen to one another even if we don’t agree. In fact, even if we violently disagree.
AmerXchange is not about sacrificing core beliefs and values in exchange for a surface level photo-op with someone who is different than ourselves. It is not about apologies for wrongs committed long ago. Or being asked to forgive the unforgivable.
AmerXchange is about collaborating with one another. Working together to build a better future for ourselves and our children.
Because we ARE the future, and we know it.
It is college students like you, and like myself not very long ago, who understand what is really at stake this Election Night. And it isn’t the control of the House or the Senate. It’s control of America.
America’s future is in our hands. Not just political, but economic and social too. AmerXchange is about getting involved in shaping that future, even if – pause for gasp – you DIDN’T VOTE today (sshhh, you didn’t hear it from me!).
You’ll likely hear more about my journey and AmerXchange in the coming posts, but I want to hear from you too. So where ever you are from, whatever your story, please write to me. You can of course use the contact information provided on this site, but if you would like to contact me directly my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t wait to collaborate with you!