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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


Voice of Democracy 2023 – 2nd place

Democracy is a term that, in our States of America, is likely to evoke several different reactions upon hearing it. For some, it is a gasp of fresh breath in the morning, the clangs of a flagpole’s rope on a breezy day, and the sharp dignity of freedom created by oneself. For others, it is a stab of betrayal, a mockery of what it should be, and dishonest in its so-called “people’s choice.” For most, though, it is simply what it is: a word. It is this very word, however, that enables the different voices of these people to be heard, allowing for all sides to voice their opinion. We are divided as a people, but as a Nation we can once again be whole, indivisible under God, as intended by the penholders of the Constitution. Our democracy is not a perfect one, as it was not meant to be, but it is borne from red, white, and blue, stars and stripes, and a promise of “we, the people.”


Red stains our history all the way from the Boston Massacre 250 years ago to our troops being sent to Afghanistan only 22 years ago. We have fought for what we’ve wanted with our own blood, our freedoms not only God-given but also fully earned. As the nation and its people have grown, we have added 27 amendments to our Constitution, with as late as 1992 seeing the addition of the 27th. Were it not for the ability of our people to have a direct say in their government, the life lost in our fights would be for naught. Our veterans and patriotic warriors have bled so much for everyone to live together uninhibited. Indubitably, we are a nation built upon spilt blood and red stripes, and we shall continue to fight whenever finding it necessary to defend our unalienable rights.


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Compared to many of the bodies of the world, we are a young nation, still in parts unruly and teenage in our systems. We still carry with us the pure white innocence of a child, and our power completely dwarfs our age. Yet when the Colonists felt that their British rulers were unjust, they did not lie down and learn to deal with their government. The system our founding Fathers created, our representative democracy, allowed for Americans to make the changes where it was thought necessary. Suddenly, the white slips of papers in ballot boxes meant more than just state leaders; we were voting for patriots to represent our country, for a president to wholly guide the new nation, hand-in-hand, with the other branches of government to form a system that would be led for the benefit of all rather than the benefit of one king. With white stars and stripes in our eyes, the nation was able to look forward to what was to come next, with the pledge of chosen representation in government putting the nation at ease.


We are still learning and growing, as every nation is no matter their age, but we are built upon a promise to be better. Our history, from its ugliest, darkest nights to its warmest, clear blue skies, has shaped every aspect of what it means to live under an American democratic nation. The multi-party system does not allow for one opinionated group of people to reign over another, but instead advocates for the blue-blooded hands of justice to consider all sides and opinions before forming its own. Over time, the wedge between the two parties has grown, with most politically-aligned people not even being able to consider being friendly with a member of the opposition. However, we are all Americans – all of us members of the Nation of Earth and we are indivisible when it matters. The promise our forefathers made will not be forgotten, as strong as the promise of looking into the navy blue night sky, knowing you will see the stars on their indigo backdrop.


“We the People of the United States,” was first written by Thomas Jefferson in a world that is nothing like the one today. He could not be certain of the future of his nation, but he was willing to write for it nonetheless. Deep in the hearts of every American, his words ring, clear and true as the Liberty Bell, calling for the unity of a people, all who are so vastly different yet uniting as if they are all from Adam’s rib. We are still learning to change, still learning to accept this change, and the reds and blues have fought on either side of the white picket fence for too long. We came from vastly different histories but we can all endow America’s beauty today, standing under Her flag in joined hands and torn fences.


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