We are living in a backsliding democracy. Citizens have no impact on what bills will be passed. Politicians refuse to acknowledge police brutality is systemic even as police in unmarked vans beat up and arrest peaceful protestors. The median household makes less than $50,000 dollars a year while almost half of all congresspeople are millionaires. Our President is throwing into doubt the validity of the most sacred of democratic processes, mass shootings are a common occurrence, and 150,000 people are dead from a virus that others have under control. And in the midst of this all, I find myself, for the first time, scared. Not of an outside enemy, or an environmental threat, although those are still grave dangers. I find myself scared that I will live in a country I’m not proud of, a country who’s great experiment one that began 250 years earlier, lies in shambles. That’s not alright. That’s not okay. In history empires almost always last longer than democracy. In the mid 19th century, that started to change. For the first time, as the great empires of the old fell, the bastions of democracy look as if they had a chance of surviving, well into the future. One of those democracies was the United States. As our leaders sabotage the country’s reputation and the structures of government fail us, our only hope for once again becoming a bastion of democracy lies in the people of this country. United, there is nothing we cannot do, but divided, we will fall. So please, stand up for the principles upon which we all agree: that democracy is better that authoritarianism, and that liberty is better than tyranny. For if we don’t, I fear that the fragile flame of democracy will be extinguished from this land, forever.