Was America Really Ever “Great”?

A first hand account of America in 2017

A fellow American exercising their freedom to speak.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege to travel to our nation’s capital to document the Inauguration of the 45th president of the United States. The right to vote, having a say, or voicing your opinion is an American value that has written the history of our nation. Witnessing this with my own eyes and not through the TV screen was a memory that I will never forget.

Throughout the past year, the political system has taken a very sharp detour down a road that a large group of American’s have been troubled by. Going to the Inauguration allowed me to witness the culmination of strife and disagreement between the two parties at hand. In the midst of this very tumultuous time, seeing the emotion and heart ache on so many American’s faces emotionally brought me to my knees. People were celebrating for what they saw as the right direction for our country, but on the contrary people were weeping and protesting for the rights they feel were being stripped away.

When did the notion of disagreement in our country become something that is not acceptable?

The United States is a nation built on the principles of free speech, every voice mattering, and that liberty should be held to the utmost highest standard.

Was America at one point “Great”? Or is what we are witnessing today and what we will over the next few years just be continuation of what the citizens of America have kept silent for the entirety of their lives? Whether you are on one side or the other, we can all humble ourselves and admit that there is a very apparent problem and it is rooted in hate.

3 ways to get through these next few years without becoming a part of the problem that harbors so much hate in America

1.) Listen to your fellow American

No one can be entirely correct about everything that they preach. As fellow citizens we have to humble ourselves to listen and hear what others have to say even if it doesn’t align with our belief set. It almost seems unheard of that we would listen to what others have to say. Pretty ironic, huh?

2.) Stand up for what you believe in

This does not mean to hatefully discount your adversaries opinion and stance, but it does mean to educate yourself and study what you believe in. Speak up for what you think is right and don’t allow hate to infiltrate your neighborhood, community, or friend group. The last thing that we need as a country is more hate.

3.) Love one another

Your definition of love may be different than mine, and different than your neighbors, but we can all agree that we need more of whatever this is. Whether to you it means counting others more significant than yourself, to treat all people equal no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or personality, or if it means that you simply just do not harbor hate towards your neighbor based on your belief set; the United States and the world can only benefit from loving one another.

A Few Images Through My Eyes From My Time In Washington

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Jacob Austin Rank is a photographer and creative living in Dayton, Ohio where he lives with his wife Savannah. Jake and Savannah create together, serve at their church, and volunteer with high school students through the youth ministry of Young Life.