I have lived in the same neighborhood, on the same street, in the same house all my life. That is where I consider “home” to be. For others, home is the house they’re currently living in. For others, still, home is the place they grew up. Some have split homes, whether due to divorce or immigration or other circumstances. “Home” is sometimes defined as a state of being, rather than a place. “I feel at home here,” has often been the choice phrase spoken by travelers seeking comfort. During this election cycle, I found a new definition of home for myself.
I’ve traveled outside of the United States twice in my life. Always being the child up for adventure, I readily tried new foods and met new people on both trips. However, even as a girl, I knew there was something oddly comforting about hearing an American accent on the streets of Paris, or eating a hamburger in London. As loudly as the world beckons me to explore, the United States has always found a way to bring me home again.
Amidst the confusion, frustration, and impatience of the tallying up of the electoral college votes, with Trump in the lead, the immigration website for Canada crashed. I’d heard many people, my friends among them, joke about fleeing the country if Donald Trump became the President of the United States. I didn’t think anyone was serious until that very moment. While I can not understand the fear going through the minds of some citizens right now, who possibly feel threatened by the promises our new President has made over the course of the past year, what remains more unfathomable to me are the people who are fleeing out of anger with the election.
As background on myself, I will tell you that I have a kind heart. I believe that, because we are all human beings, we have a moral obligation to be kind to one another on a daily basis. I am also only nineteen. There is much I have yet to learn about the world. But, if I have learned anything in my short time here, I know that kindness takes courage. A home is built with love, care, and, above all, kindness. Walking around my university today I witnessed ugly exchanges of words between people about political candidates. I overheard conversations that would not make me proud to call the United States my home.
As Americans, we are loud. We like sports, spending time with our families, and somehow manage to pair sneakers with everything. If you travel abroad, it’s somewhat easy to pick out the Americans in the crowd. We aren’t assertive, but we carry a kind of independent, inquisitive disposition that often finds us at the front of the tour group. It’s admirable.
While there are many things that set us apart from one another, there are also two fundamental things that should bring us together right now: we are human, and we are American. Through the process of logical deduction, it’s safe to assume that we live on same soil. We share the same home. And while not all homes are the same, I’d ask you to re-evaluate what a home means to you. I hope yours is built with kindness for others.
So in this time of change for our country, do not run away from what angers you. As it has been recently said, one vote has the power to change an election. As of now, one person has the power to change the divide that has become our home.