Courtesy of Slate
The new year has finally arrived, and with it comes the much-lauded tradition of New Year’s resolutions. People of all ages use such resolutions to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, often focusing on self-improvement. Popular resolutions include making more of an effort to go to the gym, picking up a book or learning a new skill like cooking or playing an instrument. Others focus on cutting back on certain things like caffeine and sugar.
Resolutions like these are fine and can lead to a healthier lifestyle, but often they are more flashy than anything else. We tend to like resolutions like working out and learning something new because they are relatively easy. They give us something we can put on our Snapchat stories to show the world how we are taking on 2022. New year, new me, right?
This year, we should adjust this resolution mindset to see something bigger. Maybe instead of 2022 being simply the year that Americans learn to cook or to eat healthier, it could be the year we step away from this “me-first” mentality and work toward addressing our sense of nationalism. It could be the year we face the putrid stains that 2021 has left on the fabrics of our star-spangled banner head-on.
Jan. 6, 2021 was one such blemish, which just experienced its first anniversary two weeks ago. For those of you who have already forgotten about what transpired on this day in 2021, I implore you to continue reading. One of the most pertinent resolutions we should have as a country is that nothing like this ever happens again.
Jan. 6 is the day that the electoral college ballots are counted after the conclusion of a presidential election. It has been this way since the mid-1900s, and the event is usually more of a formality than anything else. Many of you surely remember that this was not the case in 2021. Rioting citizens stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. claiming that the election was stolen.
While these citizens purported to be preserving democracy, acting as patriots, their demonstrations had the opposite effect. I, like many people, don’t feel too deeply rooted in one political camp or the other, but there is no denying the fact that the events which transpired on Jan. 6, 2021 were heinously unpatriotic and a sad reflection on our nation.
So, in the typical fashion of New Year’s resolutions, let’s opt to look back at this event in order to learn from and make a change in our behavior for 2022. The United States Capitol attack demonstrated the depressing effects of demagoguery and manipulation on a malleable general public.
In the new year, let’s resolve to be better consumers of information, looking for credible and trustworthy sources and properly digesting news before acting prematurely and making our nation look foolish.
Additionally, the insurrection highlighted mistrust in one of our defining democratic processes: the election process. Should we desire to alter it, let us resolve to make changes in this process through laws and legislation, rather than savagery and stupidity.
The riots demonstrated that we have forgotten what words like patriotism actually mean. Let’s make the resolution of learning from our mistakes, by seeing that what happened was inherently unpatriotic and unamerican.
Of course, all of these “resolutions” are easier said than done, as any resolution always is. Still, we continue to set out into the new year, one juice cleanse at a time. In 2022, we owe it to ourselves and our brethren in this nation to at least try.