Unstable leadership. Immense, increasing debt. Deteriorating race relations. A mass shooting seemingly every other day. Terrorism. Climate change. Threats from foreign adversaries. These are just a few of the overwhelming problems we face every single day as Americans. Even reading the news in the morning can make you want to throw your phone at a wall.
I have always considered myself an optimist, but even I have been having trouble trying to explain to others why we still live in a world worth saving. But when I turned on the television in my dorm room last Friday night, I realized that the answer was obvious: there is still good in the world, and it’s worth fighting for. Yes, that sounds like a cheesy Star Wars quote (honestly, it probably is). But if you take a moment to think about the world's ability to put aside its problems every four years and come together to watch some of the most gifted, talented, and hard-working people in the world compete in the Olympic Games, you’ll believe it too.
Take the current situation with North Korea as an example. With Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in power, there is legitimate fear of nuclear conflict in the United States for the first time in decades. The North Koreans likely have few kind words for their capitalist neighbors to the south as well.
Despite all of this international turmoil, last week, bitter enemies united for the first time in more than a half a century and marched under the same Korean flag. In that moment, no one was North or South Korean—they were human. The magnitude of this event cannot be overstated. Despite all the conflict we see in the world on a daily basis, longtime adversaries can still find the humanity and decency to come together and celebrate the human spirit.
If you ask me, if we are able to put aside our differences in the name of a relatively unimportant sporting event, then perhaps there is hope for us all. If we are all the same in an ice arena or atop a tall, snowy mountain, why can’t we all be the same at the negotiating table as well? Yes, we all have different interests when it comes to domestic and international issues, but I believe that a fundamental public good exists for all of us to work towards.
Climate change is real, and no matter your views on how to solve it, combatting it will ensure that our children and their children still have a planet to call home. The poor deserve as much of an opportunity to succeed in life as those born into wealth. No matter how Democrats or Republicans think these problems should be addressed, ensuring that all Americans have the ability to achieve their goals is beneficial for all.
Your skin color, gender, religion, or sexual orientation should not define you. Everyone has a right to life and liberty. At the risk of sounding completely naive, sitting back and saying that life isn’t fair is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, life will never be perfect for everyone, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t try to come together as one human race and make life better for all people. I look forward to the next two weeks of Olympic competition, because there is no better time to realize that we are not all that different. At the end of the day, we’re all one in the same, sharing the same planet.