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An entire year has passed since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Although our nation was embroiled in political turmoil long before last year’s election, we have since been told that the partisan divide is widening, that the pillars of our democracy are crumbling, and that there can be no unity in America’s future.

I don’t see it that way. This is an opportunity to prove the viability of democracy in the 21st century.

Even through massively devastating hurricanes, far too many mass shootings, and emboldened white supremacists, America and her values have endured. The toxic negativity of partisan media and politicians far too frequently eclipses the extraordinary progress that ordinary people are making every day. As citizens, we can and must change that perception.

We also must rid ourselves of the myth of my generation’s apathy. As a student leader on MSU’s Bozeman campus, I work with scores of selfless students who are stepping up to fulfill their civic duty. As college becomes increasingly inaccessible, one might expect for students to retreat and serve themselves over others. Somehow, young adults are finding the courage to stand up for the less fortunate among us. Our future depends on the ability to harness the passion of my generation - to make it the powerful force for good that it is so close to becoming. I ask you to provide the support and guidance we need to seize this opportunity.

I also ask you to remember that nobody - not even the president of the United States - can corrupt our values, demoralize our people, or define who we are. By throwing ourselves into the work of repairing and rebuilding our democracy, we will embody the essence of what it means to be American.

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Miles Maxcer