When did we as a people get to the point that we are willing to defend our perceived personal freedoms at the cost of individuals' freedom to safety and life?

As we approach the 19th anniversary of the Columbine Shootings community in Parkland Florida are reeling from the senseless and tragic loss of 17 students and staff. It seems that week after week, month after month, and year after year we are seeing these horrific stories play out on our news feeds. One has to wonder if we as a country have become immune, almost callused to the heart breaking events playing out in so many communities. 

When did we as a country become so divided that instead of coming to the table to find a solution, we simply back further to our own sides, vehemently defending our own views as the only solution?

When did we as a people get to the point that we are willing to defend our perceived personal freedoms at the cost of individuals’ freedom to safety and life?

I have always considered myself lucky to have been born in a Country that the news cycle did not include the violence we have seen for centuries in other countries. We did not have to worry about being in public places, we did not have to be concerned with going to church, and we could send our children to school knowing they would arrive home safe at the end of the night.

I have always been proud that we as a country would have true debates on matters of concern. Bi-Partisan issues could find middle ground and compromise for the betterment of all Americans.

I have always admired a country that would allow for peaceful protest, a means by which one could voice their beliefs, their concerns, and their dreams for a better America.

Most of all, through all of our differences, through all of our mistakes, and through all of our turmoil we were Americans. We stood side by side, we defended each other, we celebrated our diversity, and we were proud of this great country we called home.

Our children are watching, our children are learning, and our children will one day take over the leadership of this great country. Is this what we want to teach them — that when challenged we stonewall the other views. They see our actions, they read our appalling post about differing views on Social Media and they learn that our democracy is run not by people elected to work through issues, but by inaction, non-partisanship, and left-only or right-only politics. 

It is time for our leaders to lead, and we as citizens to offer the same respect you believe you deserve. Once this happens, we as citizens will again work to find a middle ground, and our children will see the country as we used to see it.

I can only hope that these words find middle ground for all of us and inspire true compromise and change. Making America Great Again has become a political slogan. It is not about politics. It is about every one of us willing to work together in the best interest of every citizen in this country and demanding our elected officials do the same.