It’s November 2022, and if you paid even the smallest bit of attention to the political atmosphere in the United States, you’ve noticed the feeling of division.
As a Communications graduate student, I can’t help but notice the way our community at large processes messages. I’m sure you’ve felt the tension in your own inner circle.
Have you left a dinner conversation recently wishing a certain topic had not been brought up?
Unless you’ve secluded your social circle to an echo chamber of similar voices, you’ve experienced the tension building within our culture.
So, when I planned a trip to Washington, DC, during the mid-term elections, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
My time on the ground in the District of Columbia was limited to three days.
We walked miles upon miles each day, toured the nation’s landmarks, witnessed a couple of protests in action, and hung out at the Wharf and National Harbor.
And as the election results continued to roll in the day after the mid-term elections, I drove away from Washington, DC, surprisingly full of hope.
Here’s why 👇
The People of the Political Epi-Center Are Full of Kindness
The people of Washington, DC, are kind and helpful.
Seriously, no matter who I interacted with, I encountered people who went out of their way to be helpful and kind.
While FOX News and CNN may have you under the impression that everyone is out to quiet the voice of the other, that doesn’t ring true.
Hotel staff, strangers, docents, police officers, Uber drivers, tourists, and locals walk through the city with a genuine concern for others.
As you experience the city of Washington, DC, you experience a humanitarian air that is hard to ignore.
As you experience the city of Washington, DC, you experience a humanitarian air that is hard to ignore.Tweet
The Nation’s History Displays Hope
Our nation’s history is full of absolutely horrific events that have left entire people groups in cycles of struggle. That is true.
It is also true that when you dive into recent history, you can find stories of people who truly believed in unity, democracy, and the care of ALL people.
While not ignoring the truths that have caused immense pain, we can also look at the past to find hope for a brighter future.
Something as simple as the WWII meme, Kilroy was here, displays the human urge for connection and community.
While not ignoring the truths that have caused immense pain, we can also look at the past to find hope for a brighter future.Tweet
Things Tend to Improve Over Time
Is it our pessimistic nature or the narratives we share that cause us to think things in our country are getting worse?
That answer is up for debate, and I’m comfortable with that.
However, what if I told you things are actually not getting worse? In fact, what if I told you things are getting better?
In a super interesting TedTalk, Hans Rosling discusses this very issue. He actually uses survey data to display how our intuition has become unnecessarily, overly pessimistic.
Rosling shows the audience that things actually tend to get better over time, not worse.
While we may read that sentence and say, “That’s obvious,” we don’t act like it.
And unfortunately, our actions are perpetuating a culture of fear, anxiety, broken relationships, and hopelessness.
Move Forward With Hope
So yes, I left Washington, DC, full of hope.
Hope for our future.
Hope for our children as they navigate all the issues we’ll leave unresolved for them.
Hope for the democratic process and this wild experiment we call the United States of America.
There is hope for the democratic process and this wild experiment we call the United States of America.Tweet
What is it like on Election Day in Washington, DC?