America might be having a bit of a breakdown right now but it is still worth fighting for the principles that make this place great. Ok I know I promised I wouldn’t be too political and I won’t be. That isn’t really the point of this post so if you can get past that I promise it’s worth the journey.This election brought out a lot of the ugliness that simmers under the surface of our democracy. Hey no one said this shit was easy! However, it seems that we occasionally need reminding that the strength of our national character is diversity and we live in an amazing place. It takes work to make a house a home, and it takes a lot of work to make a country united and work for those that live there. So hold off on that one way ticket to Canada, stop rooting for your neighbors to leave and let’s just acknowledge 5 reasons why America is still awesome in no particular order.
- Marijuana legalization-if you came to a cannabis advocate’s blog not expecting that to be on the list that’s kind of on you. More and more states are legally recognizing the benefits of decriminalizing marijuana in one way or another with 8 states legalizing it for both medical and recreational use, and many other states and U.S. territories allowing medical marijuana use (exact numbers are a little more difficult here because some laws decriminalize where others don’t, some allow strains with THC and some are CBD only, what can I say it’s a work in progress) That allows awesome little gems like Colorado’s Bud and Breakfast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK1qoFM5n0U
- National Parks– Though there are rumblings of these parks under threat of being sold to private interests we can at least be proud of the fact that we have them. Within the American West alone we can find monuments to natural beauty in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon just to mention a few. Celebrating 100 years this year I encourage you to check out https://www.nps.gov/index.htm to see what other parks we have and events they may have this year.
- System of Government– I know this week sort of sucks for talking about our system of government but let us not forget that there are a system of checks and balances in place for a reason and that they all work best when we as citizens stay involved and hold representatives to account for the way they represent us. Just because someone you didn’t support won that doesn’t mean you won’t be represented. Many of the politicians I have spoken to say they would rather get phone calls, emails, and letters from their constituents, average Americans, than the constant barrage of lobbyists. If lobbyists are the only one’s raising their voices they will be the only ones heard. If you have raised your voice and your representative ignored you anyway you get to vote the bum out. It’s on us to remind them that their time there depends on how they perform.
- Freedom in General– There aren’t many countries where you can freely voice your opinion on political leaders without facing jail time or worse so let’s try to remember that and protect that right.
- Crazy or Not Most of Us Are Good People– I know it isn’t looking like it right now but most Americans are good people. We aren’t as racist as we used to be but racism still exists and will until we confront it and stop being so cozy with it. We aren’t as sexist as we used to be, but we are still too far from seeing past a person’s gender to see their worth than we should be and it is still far more socially expectable than it should be. We aren’t as homophobic or xenophobic as we used to be but still in all of these ways where someone is seen as others we seem to have to great a fear of just getting to know each other. We aren’t bad people but we need to be better than we are.
We are in this together and there are too many great things about this country to abandon it or be so downtrodden because of one election. Liberal values- equal citizenship and rights regardless of who you are, who you love, who you worship (if you worship), how abled you are- these will all have a bit of a rough patch because whenever you push for dramatic social and political change there is always the tug from those who think it’s too much too soon. Be patient with people, we never know what they are going through, but by no means settle for less than you deserve. We don’t have to make America great again, it’s already great. We need to listen to each other and find ways to work together so that America lives up to its promise. We live in an amazing place, we need to do more than just worry about ourselves to make America great each and every day.
Okay I promise my next post will definitely be less political.