March 15, 1783, George Washington proclaimed, “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Our fundamental right to speak serves as a the backbone of our democracy. Discourse expands the intellect, preserves our principles, and spurs change. Ever since its founding, our nation has relied on productive conversations and our ability to compromise in order to evolve.

The truth remains that articles in the Point of View are more often on the liberal end of the political spectrum. It’s important to recognize that the presented views do not tell the whole story. Instead, our beliefs exist in a synthesized sphere larger than ourselves, where disagreement does not invalidate one opinion over another but indicates an opportunity for growth.

Evidently, our voices do not exist on parallel lines, but rather merge in the open ring of discussion. Anger, fear, passion, and faith gather at this intersection. Hope sparks the discord, but we must unify to preserve the momentum. If we resist the more secure road of silence, passivity, and ignorance, our efforts for social reform will establish bridges of solidarity.

Those in power will hear us, but only if we hear each other first — we the American people, archeologists of a political excavation. It is our responsibility to dissect our past mistakes, to unearth the present truths, and to dust off our biases and inherent prejudices. We often avert uncomfortable conversations and cut each other off without reason, forgetting that we all stem from the same roots.

As President Barack Obama once stated, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America.”

Our unity disintegrates the moment we restrain volatile dialogue. If we allow controversy into our conversation, we can openly examine bigotry and pry apart its shell. Through observation and empathy, we can learn to avoid ill-intentioned criticism and mockery.

Some of us may look forward to the next few years. A lot of us are afraid. Let us channel this energy and translate our fears productively. America has started restoring the dialogue through public activism. From election discussions to various marches throughout the U.S., our nation has been building up the momentum to generate a palpable change.

Many of us may disagree with President Trump’s opinions or disdain his manners, but his patriotism stands undeniable. Throughout the next four years, we must keep on relentlessly safeguarding the foundation of our Americanism. Let us accept our reality and go from there.

Thus, in the words of President Trump himself, “We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, we will make America great again.”