When I was a little girl, for Christmas, I would ask my grandmother to buy me Victorian porcelain dolls. She did, every single year. Eventually, I outgrew them and they remained on my shelves, collecting dust. Though I never played with them, I loved them dearly. Their porcelain skin and frilly dresses never left that special place in my heart, even if I often traded them for the games on my iPad or cartoons. Oddly enough, America reminds me of one of these dolls; stunningly beautiful, but fragile. Once it falls, the fragmented pieces will never fit together the same way they once did.
On the afternoon of November 4th, 2020, I was desperately clicking the reload button on CNN’s presidential election feed. The information that would pop up every couple of minutes was truly useless, and yet, my finger would continue to obsessively hit the button. I knew full well that it was pointless, as the results of the race wouldn’t be known for days. However, what was certainly evident that hot Miami afternoon was that we had woken up that morning in a different world. The world we were living in was one where America was divided like few generations alive had seen.
While sitting in a classroom with my friends during our free period that day, we inevitably jumped into yet another political discussion. The hot topic: there were 160 million citizens who felt the need to defend the America that they believed in. Because what was on the ballot in 2020 was much more than Donald Trump or Joe Biden; it was who does America represent and who represents America.
The national hangover that the American people felt on November 4th made one thing perfectly clear: the last four years were not an accident. There was a phrase that resonated with far too many over the course of Trump’s term; ‘how is this the President of the United States?’ It was often employed by comedians or disappointed citizens. However, that punchline had lost all merit; the election proved to the nation that Donald Trump was no longer, nor had he ever been, a joke.
Since 2016, it had become standard practice among Democrats to attribute Trump’s win to low voter turnout. So while record-breaking numbers in 2020 did grant Biden the title of ‘President-Elect,’ the Democratic party can no longer deny their own contribution to the existing divide in the country. Consequently, the party, but moreover, we as American citizens have two paths that lay in front of us to choose from.
The first? Acceptance. It’s certainly the easier route. We let the internal poison that now plagues us continue to grow. We don’t work to fix the divides, not on a national level, or on a personal one. We each get draped in either a blue or red hue, and simply close our minds to contrary opinions. We shrink into labels like “liberal” or “conservative” that we may only partially agree with. We accept that America, though once a shining beacon of hope, truly was nothing more than an unsuccessful experiment. We pick up the pieces of the doll, mourn how beautiful they used to be when unified, but then put them in a box, and let them burn in the fire.
There is a second path, however. It’s much more difficult, much longer and it will be exhausting. It is the path that would require the concept of “bipartisanship” to become the norm, not the exception, in both government and our personal lives. We would need to stop vilifying those we disagree with. It would certainly require the dismantling of phenomenons like “Cancel Culture.” It would require for both Democrats and Republicans to stop lecturing each other on where the other side falls short but instead to listen. In this age, we seem to be unable to accept that there is validity in the opposition’s point of view. The lack of trust and amount of hostility towards each other has left us shattered as a nation and as a people. Therefore, besides continuing to fuel this division through mutual hate, there is only one other option. Make others feel heard and consider the merit in the opposite point of view, because for tens of millions of people to believe it, there must be some, no matter which side you are on. Pick up the pieces of the doll and put her back together again. She will never look the same and you will always see the scars on her skin. But something as beautiful as that doll should be cherished and protected, no matter how fragmented you have let her become.
Katya Sucher was born in the United States but grew up in Moscow, and moved to Miami when she was 11. She speaks five languages and has a huge passion for traveling around the world and exploring different cultures. She attends Ransom Everglades Upper School, in Miami. At school, she loves to dance, throw discus and shot-put, is Vice-President or French Club and a member of Diversity Council. She loves writing, and she has every since she was a child. She particularly enjoys fiction, but also research papers about topics that interest her, like the Cold War, or fashion history. She loves sushi, chocolate, music, dogs and fashion. She believes that Gen Z has a voice much more powerful than any generation that preceded it, and its exposure to the ever-changing world is a tool that can help Gen Z influence society for the better.