It's not been an easy week. Two police shootings. Riots. Our presidential candidates are meeting on Monday, and I'm already expecting a barrage of insults back and forth. We live in a crazy time. A time of anger, a time of indifference, a time of unparalleled technology, a time of beauty and madness and trials and judgments and confusions and hope. Our parents look at things and say we have it easy. We look at our parents and say "Thanks for handing us an American Dream that doesn't exist."

2016 is three quarters of the way over. We live and die by memes. We put our fears and anger and opinions onto social media. We join together, we come apart, we fight back, we argue, and we find a common ground (though, sometimes we don't). I have no answers for any of this. I have my opinions, and I'll share them here and there. I guess all I can say is: we gotta keep trying. We have to keep working at this 250 year experiment. We can't give up on each other. America is not over. 2016 is not over. Things are not easy. What I know is that negativity must not come in, unless it's being used for good. We have to keep working. We have to keep fighting back. We have to have those uncomfortable conversations we don't always want to have. We have to find a way out of this mess.

I'm talking about the America we live in today. I'm talking about when we choose fear over hope. We choose pessimism over optimism. When we hide away when we should be spreading love. When we say it's broken and we don't look for ways to fix it. When we are this close to electing a demagogue into office. 

I don't think America is over. But I do wonder, how did we get here?

I don't want to be a meme, though. Memes don't solve problems. Memes don't lead to donations and change. Memes don't fix systems, change minds, or bring about happier homes. I don't want my opinions to go viral unless they move someone into action. I don't want to be fodder for a blog if it's not going to lead to some kind of change. I want people safe. I want people to be able to walk the streets and not worry about what's going to happen to them. I want the bloodshed to come to an end. I want a traffic stop to not end in death. I want the children of war out of the rubble and somewhere safe. I want to create things that make the world a better place. I want to create things that give people joy. And I want to use whatever platform I am given to help people. If all I have right now is my pen, then that's what I'll do. If I have more down the road, then I'll do something with it.

We are all family. We are all citizens. We have disagreements, battles, opinions, thoughts, feelings. We are all here, trying to work through things. And maybe it's in these battles that hope can shine through. And maybe it's going to get bad before it gets better. And maybe 2016 has been our wakeup call. But November's election is going to come, whether we like it or not. We must decide what we will choose. Hope or fear. Regret or love. Hate or change. Violence or kindness. It's on us.

That's what I hope. And hope is the thing that drive us. Hope is the thing that must keep us going.