I know motherhood is years away, and I know I have plenty of time to worry about kids in my future. Really, I should not even be thinking about kids when I am still a college student working towards an important degree. Lately, though, it seems like I run into babies left and right. Maybe it is the generations of maternal instincts in my DNA kicking in, but something about their innocence makes me want to protect these children from everything cruel in this world. Maybe it is a little weird to feel that strongly about a stranger's baby, but I still do.
We live in a society where sexual harassment scandals run rampant and mass shootings occur periodically. It is 2018 and racism still prevails, feminism is considered "cancer" and LGBT+ people continue to be treated as inferior on the daily. We call electing a black president an incredible accomplishment without realizing the implications of our words. Yes, it is truly exciting to see my country growing and advancing, but the very idea that a black person in such a position of power is a milestone is abhorrent. It should be something ordinary, not a rare achievement, but that is not how America works.
Our country is so deeply fractured by the liberal-conservative dichotomy that it is no wonder circumstances are so disheartening. Middle-ground continues to elude us because the leaders we elected, on both sides, spend more time arguing than getting stuff done. This is not a phenomenon specific to Donald Trump's presidency either, though it appears as though Democrats and Republicans are more charged under his leadership than ever. America stands fiercely divided on just about every political and social issue that, at this rate, my children's future may never see peace across party lines. And I have not even touched on the corruption within our government.
Of course, the problems continue far outside the realm of the government, too.
The same people who call abortion an act of genocide will fight tooth and nail for their right to own a gun. If you are pro-gun, you have placed your "constitutional right" to own a firearm, a weapon of war intended to injure and kill, over the life and safety of every single person. I write "constitutional right" in quotations because not everything in the Constitution should be set in stone. The entirety of human history is dependent on growth and change, and the words that initially founded this country, including our amendments, are no different. The value of tradition means nothing when black people were once considered three-fifths of a person, and women only received the right to vote within the last century.
Most of these hot-button issues stem from the same place, too — religion. For a country that prides itself on both religious freedom and no endorsement of religion in its laws, America favors many religious principles. What other reason would someone be opposed to gay marriage other than their belief that God defines marriage between a man and a woman? Why should a woman be considered inferior to a man if not because of the story of Adam and Eve? Just saying homosexuality or women in power is "unnatural" is not a valid argument for keeping things a certain way. Dyed hair and Botox are unnatural, but that doesn't stop people.
As for abortion, most of the arguments against abortion rest on the premise that it is against God's will. God has no meaning in my life, so why should his words affect me? It is like outlawing meat because vegetarians do not agree with it morally — wrong to do. Some people need to eat meat for health reasons, or maybe vegetarianism is not for them in general. Some people get abortions for the safety of their health, or maybe kids are just not for them. I am not free in America if I am living under the thumb of someone else's religion.
Still, some may argue that abortion is wrong simply because it is killing a human life. So why do we go to war? What about our atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Those were lives, too, lives of fully developed people, but we did it anyway. Why do we let people own firearms when they so often fall into the wrong hands and end in mass shootings? You cannot claim taking a human life is wrong in one situation but fail to protect life in another.
There are just far too many problems and disheartening realities today for me to have hope for tomorrow. For every step we take forward as a society, it feels as though we take another step back. I want my children to grow up in a healthy, happy environment, and I doubt our future as a country can provide that for them.
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