The last few weeks in Washington have been very interesting, to say the least. From the firing of James Comey in early May to his ratings-record-breaking testimony, from pulling out of the Paris Accords to Trump's dictator-like “loyalty pledges” he demanded of Comey (and likely other officials), there's been so much – yet it's all been publicized, so most people are aware of it in some way. Meanwhile, Fox News is acting like they're following Joseph Goebbels' methods of propaganda, people are violently split over issues, and American citizens have been killed because they were simply defending two teenage girls who happen to be Muslim. We sit here and look at all this, but we just watch it all happening with no real way of bridging the gap between parties. In fact, it all can end up leading to a second civil war – between the alt-right conservatives who refuse to allow any sort of progress to be made and the liberals who want things to move forward.

The first, and most difficult step, is “de-Fox Newsing” the devout Trump supporters. Of course they have the right to believe what they want, but come on – just because Trump is president and just because they heard it on TV/the internet does not mean everything he does is great. In fact, anybody who happens to actually be educated beyond talking points radio and nostalgia for “the good old days” can see the overflowing racism, hatred, and unpatriotic nature of Trump. This is a man who refused to acknowledge the murder of two real patriotic men, killed by one of his supporters who followed his anti-Muslim rhetoric to a violent end – but when Manchester Arena was bombed, he immediately put up a tweet about reinstating the proven unconstitutional “travel ban.” They have been brainwashed into believing that anything “liberal” is wrong and damaging to the country. Even though the reason why they can bring home a decent paycheck, women can vote, why we don't own slaves anymore, and even have a country in the first place is because of different generations of liberal thinkers. Yes, at the time, the Founding Fathers were incredibly liberal, as they believed in religious freedom for all (despite most of them actually making it clear America is not a Christian nation) and free speech, no matter who they're talking about. The Russia investigation is still ongoing, as Comey simply said Trump himself wasn't under investigation at the time, but he could be now, and Robert Mueller is still leading the investigation with no appearance of stopping anytime soon. If it does come out that the campaign worked with Russia (judging by the amount of nations and groups involved, it likely will) to undermine our election, there is no way a Trump supporter can say it was a good idea without being seen as a literal traitor – yet some will, because the cult is that strong. So we have to find a way to help them realize what is going on in front of them, whether they want to acknowledge the truth or not. How that can happen, well, only time will tell.

Secondly, we must put party lines aside and do what George Washington intended – work together without voting based on what political party they are part of. Republicans are very guilty of this right now, refusing to let Democratic Senators/Representatives speak or even finish their statements, especially during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. In order to keep the people from getting far too divided, the leaders must join together for more than just the rare bipartisan bill. Of course all this is just wishful thinking, because let's be real here, there aren't too many politicians, especially Congressmen, who are willing to actually work together. Obviously the problem is not the people but the reliance on a failing two-party system. On both sides, one always wants to do the opposite of the other, and most vote along party lines because they feel they have to. We can't go and abolish the system, but we can look at the third/fourth/fifth party candidates for elections – even if they don't get in, they're still making an impact. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were often made fun of during the 2016 election, and while their policies weren't the best, they still were making their names known in a way third party candidates rarely see. Meanwhile, may citizens vote only Republican or only Democrat because that's the party they signed for, even if they know their candidate might not actually be best for the job (see: Donald Trump, Richard Nixon). Really, we'd have to create an entirely new system, which is pretty much impossible – so instead, we promote politicians working together by working together to find common ground and topics people can actually agree on, without resorting to calling others names or talking down to them because they just so happen to be on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

And the biggest issue is that we have to realize that in order to make America great, we must acknowledge that America is not, nor has it ever, been truly “great.” We are behind the rest of the civilized world when it comes to tax-funded healthcare and education (see above for the “nobody should be getting any help because I hate anyone less fortunate than myself” mindset). Only within the last century have women been allowed to vote, African-Americans have been granted equal rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution. People were stripped of their name and forced into barely habitable buildings upon immigrating. We still have to pay thousands of dollars if we have to go to the emergency room, people are leaving college several hundred thousand dollars in debt. This is not a problem in other developed countries – and contrary to conservative news, this is rarely a problem in places like Canada. In Canada, people do have a slight waiting period for certain, non-life threatening operations, but they do not have to pay anywhere near as much as we do in America. Even now, people are told they don't matter or shouldn't have legal rights (debate over gay marriage, abortion, etc.), and in some cases, even denied life essentials because of who they are – or killed and the murderer gets off because of the colors of their skin (Philando Castile, for example).

Overall, we need to be better. That's not exactly possible, but hey, we can dream. Whether we like it or not, we are all equally American, regardless of political belief – that's the reason we're even the way we are now, because the Founding Fathers believed in freedom to say and believe what we want. Despite people like Trump who want to demonize the opposition and even cause violence upon them, we have to rise above that archaic way of thinking and find what we all can agree on. There's plenty of it, and as soon as people are willing to actually talk things over with actual sources and well-developed argument, we can get to making America a shining example once again. Until then, well, let's just try to hang on and fight back when we need to. Because if we don't, then we are just allowing this country to fall.