As excited as I was for the inauguration on Jan. 21, I was certain there was no way I could get myself out of bed as my alarm blared at 6 a.m. I knew others had woken up earlier then I had as I dragged myself out of bed and somehow got dressed.
Although I was excited to take part of a moment in history, I had recently lost hope in American politics. We live in a country that is undoubtedly divided by race, ethnicity, faith and money, but more importantly, divided into red and blue.
The most recent election in November solidified this in my mind, after watching government officials bicker for the sake of proving the other color wrong and not compromising for the common good. When did politics become about being the best party and not about doing what’s best for the people?
After what seemed like a century, the inauguration ceremony began. Watching both Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama get sworn in was a once in a lifetime experience. However, it wasn’t until Obama began speaking that I realized just how significant this moment in history was for the future of American politics and my personal faith in our government.
I expected Obama’s speech to be about inequality, gun regulations, the debt ceiling and hope. I expected facts, numbers and inspiring words about how we would overcome these difficulties. What I got instead was a surprise.
“We have always understood that when times change, so must we,” Obama said, “that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
Americans must work together to see progress, not focus on proving each other wrong. This spans from small things like fixing roads to big things like gun regulation and foreign policy.
While Obama didn’t openly say how he would fix the economy or gun control, his message to me epitomizes what we the people must do to succeed. To succeed as a nation, we must work together and compromise.
Many Americans find it odd that I think Obama deserved to be re-elected, while at the same time I do not believe all Republicans are evil. Today in America, being blue means you hate red, and being red means you hate blue.
I am proud to be an American. However, I am not proud of the bipartisan political monopoly that has taken hold of this country, where Democrats and Republicans refuse to work together and oppose anything the other says, even if it used to be their idea.
While I’m not suggesting we abolish parties and all think the same, our bipartisan system has become divided to the point of inefficiency. “Liberal” and “conservative” are now bad words. Instead of taking the ideas of each party to come to solutions, only one point of view can be right.
We, the people, can accomplish anything. Let’s listen to Obama and look past the primary colors that divide us. Let’s work together and make this country what we know it can be.
Julia Greenwald is a sophomore in the School of Communication.