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What ever happened to “When They Go Low, We Go High?”

The political climate of our country continues to deteriorate in what seems to be an endless dichotomy of democratic views and republican views, that further perpetuate parochial perspectives. What ever happen to the famous quote by First Lady Michelle Obama “When they go low, we go high?” While it seems more increasingly difficult to do, this famous quote meant something a lot deeper - We do not have to trade insult for insult. We do not have to add insult to injury. We do not have to attend every argument we’re invited to. Diplomacy is still an option.

There was a time when our politics imbued civility, mutual respect, and healthy dissonance in civic discourse. In today’s society, it’s the trading of insults that gains notoriety. Its the hot mic moments, the convention speeches full of slander, the tweet wars with no foundation or credibility that gain steam because they “sound right” judging by their increased level of sarcasm. The question I ask us to consider is this: Is this who we are as Americans at our core or is this the result of a lot of unhealed trauma within our nation? I tend to think the latter. If the latter is so, what does it take for our nation to heal? Where do we begin to have conversations of calling a truce? When do we begin to appreciate the spirit of debate and free speech without the added “low blow” for a little obligato on top?

These are questions I’m genuinely asking myself as I see more tweets, media outlets, journals, and news stations spew their own rhetoric on the events of our society today. Have we not had enough? Sure we can blame propaganda, or we can take responsibility for ourselves, our actions, and the roles we play to further a divisive narrative. Are these our leaders? Are these the people we want leading our country? Those who can win a Twitter or Facebook debate but have no real plan of how to move our country forward? We invest in social media platforms instead of investing in the moral and ethical fabric of our country. Somehow, I don’t believe adding another social media platform mitigates the issue of being able to delineate between fact and fiction. We have politicians arguing on the senate floor, having no recollection of who signed what bills into law. We have arguments and protests over mandates, vaccines, banning school books, choice, life, and the like. All of this creates a larger wedge between the left and the right.

What would happen if we began identifying ourselves as Americans instead of Democrats or Republicans? Are we so devoted to these ideals that we’re willing to sacrifice our nations years of progression only to to experience the regression of a lifetime? Maybe it’s a whimsical shot in the dark or maybe it’s the beginning of a movement where we’re tired of having to choose sides and pick teams. We want to live in a country that leads on the world’s stage. We want to live in a country that is diverse in its perspectives but united in its foundations. How can any of us really call ourselves free? Free to have an opinion? Free to reinforce self-serving ideals and individualism at the cost of our common good? Our temporary freedom in these moments will cost us the longevity our country.

If you want to be a change agent, a standout among the crowded room of political minutiae… Show genuine respect, empathy, unity and maturity. - You‘ll shine every time.

When they go low, you demonstrate what’s right.

Jade M. Felder



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