It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I despair of my country.

I have great hope for my country.

I despair of a country where two leading Republican candidates for President demonstrate a manifest unsuitability for that position, and engage in fear-mongering, misdirection, and outright falsehoods to bolster their popularity.

I hope for a country where the two leading Democrat candidates for President seem to understand the issues facing us, and offer solutions instead of blaming outsiders.

I despair of a country where guns are cheap and easily obtainable, and where when a mass shooting occurs our only response is to call for increased mental health services (all while mental health services across the country get cut).

I have hope that most of us have hit a breaking point, and that both gun control and mental health will get the attention and funding they deserve.

I despair of a country where forty-two percent of the populace do not believe in evolution.

I have hope that the increasing numbers of STEM graduates can make headway against the ignorance.

I despair of a country where young black men and women get harassed and killed by police officers all too frequently.

I have hope for a country where the Black Live Matters movement flourishes.

I despair of a country where a state can go to desperate lengths to get drugs just so they can kill somebody.

I have hope for a country where a state as red as Nebraska can decide that the death penalty is in no one’s interest.

I despair of a country that imprisons more of its people than any other in the Western world.

I hope for a country where calls for dealing with mass incarceration seem to increase daily.

For all our fear, for all our insularity, we have within us the promise that we can be great again. Not in the jingoistic, bullying way that Donald Trump would have us be, but as a good and ethical people who no longer shy away from our history.

I despair. I hope.

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