America, Are We in the Twilight Zone? It Could Grow Darker or Lighter (and It's Entirely Up to You) by Kathy Ast

It is certainly a strange time in our nation’s history. Same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states in 2015 – something I didn’t believe would happen in my lifetime. A little more than a year later, a man with no political or military experience was elected the 45th President of the United States. The stark contrast often causes me to wonder, “Am I in the Twilight Zone?”

We live in a time of great division between people, and we allow our leaders liberties with secrecy and scandal more than ever before. As a result, people feel very comfortable making erroneous assumptions about people who don’t look like they do or come from the same region of the U.S. For example, this video of a man harassing a woman for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag on it, demands that she “go back to your country” even though Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.

That scene evokes as much disgust in me as this next story generates hope in me: four months ago, a 28-year-old Latina woman named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ousted a powerful, 10-term congressman in New York. This stunning upset was solely the result of a “ruthlessly efficient grassroots” effort, which means maybe, just maybe, people are becoming aware. There is no time to wait. Now is the time register and vote in order to influence change.

The protesters in front of the Supreme Court building last week also give me hope in that we are finally saying goodbye to apathy, inertia and the depressing feeling that one vote cannot make a difference. The melting pot is alive and well when I think of Ocasio-Cortez and other women who won’t stay silent about their experiences, intelligence and ultimately, their desire to change the world. There has never been a place for racism, sexism, genderism, ableism, classism, ageism, weightism, tallism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism. And there certainly never should be. 

Only casting your vote can influence how the government reflects what America truly looks like: a rainbow of all colors, sizes, abilities, genders, ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Is this an impossible dream? Not in the Twilight Zone! I leave you with Barack Obama answering the question on all our minds: “Is America going to be OK?”  

Don’t throw away one of your most important rights: the right to vote. To register to vote or to locate your voting precinct, visit

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Elisa Schmitz
"There has never been a place for racism, sexism, genderism, ableism, classism, ageism, weightism, tallism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism. And there certainly never should be." Well said, Kathy Ast-Kutzbach . Thank you for this powerful post. I love the contrast between the examples you shared. Yes, hope is alive and well. And I agree with President Obama - we will be OK if we rock the vote!
Kathy Ast
Thank you, Elisa! My son Josh keeps talking about the great division between people's points of view, and I just felt compelled to write about it. Plus, Ocasio-Cortez is such an inspiration to me!
Ann Marie Patitucci
Yes, yes, yes, Kathy Ast-Kutzbach ! Thank you for this. I am trying to find hope, too. I see it in my kids and students.

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