Guest Editorial: America: Where do we go from here?

by Micah Larson
Two roads diverged into a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Our modern America is much like that traveler in the Robert Frost poem. We, as citizens of this free nation, have a decision to make. Wisely-made decisions can transform our country’s future for years to come. It is also a decision that carries with it grave implications.
America is embroiled in a cultural and political battle, threatening to tear the country limb from limb. We take to social media with our snide comments, tidbits of “our truth,” and attacks on others in the hope of likes, reactions, shares, and follows. Is this what America is? Do we want to continue as a country where citizens are perfectly comfortable attacking each other on Twitter, public discourse is stifled, and the media is happy to amplify the voices it likes while silencing the opposition? If we are dedicated to truly moving forward and creating progress as a nation, we need to come together. We cannot continue to preach “unity” while exacerbating the ever-widening gulf between political, ideological, and cultural groups.
Our founding documents provide us a framework for a nation—not of hostility, division, and animosity—but for “a more perfect Union,” “domestic Tranquility,” and “promot[ing] the general Welfare.” These words couldn’t be more timely. Our polarized country shares these documents and historic, international accomplishments. It is a common ground for all of us. By acknowledging (yet moving past) our failures and mutually appreciating our achievements, we build a solid foundation on which to continue growing and changing positively as a nation.
This communal progress comes with personal responsibility. As citizens, we cannot expect societal change without a change in the individual. Not only do we elect representatives, but we, ourselves, must be leaders. With clear minds and strong hearts, we can establish a path forward together. No matter how difficult our current circumstances may seem, we should never lose hope in America’s promise and greatness. Through the resolve, passion, and grit of ordinary citizens, failure is inevitable, but success is within reach for those who persevere. We must hold true to our values. Americans never surrender. Never will we shy from history. Instead, we make it.
Where does America go from here? Just as Robert Frost, we have come to a crossroads—a fork in the trail. Which path are we, as a nation, to travel? There are numerous options, some less or more difficult than others. One thing is clear: as a country, we undoubtedly have a lot of work to do. And maybe, the better question is, “how does America move forward?” The attitudes we embrace and the tone we set today will have lasting effects on our tomorrow. Regardless of the path we choose to navigate, we must continually bear in mind that our decision(s) can “ma[ke] all the difference.”
The America of our future will be a testament to the decisions that We the People make today. We will look back on this time in history and reflect upon it—individually, as respective groups, and most importantly, as a nation. Hopefully, that reflection is positive, and in some aspects, nostalgic—just like the poem.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.