“What the Heck America?”
You know what I hate? When someone asks, “What do you expect to do with your major? I’m not trying to be rude but, how are you going to make money?” What I want to say when I hear that is, “Sorry, I didn’t go to school to learn a trade to make money. Because if I’m going to work as hard as I can, in the end I’m going to have a job that I enjoy. Just because I live in a society that has a focalized emphasis on gross income and profit doesn’t mean that I am required to conform. I think it’s sad that we live in a nation where the education and well-being of the citizens are second to money and ‘our duty’ to serve our country. We are focused so much on self enhancement and advancement that we don’t care too much to help the people around us. Wait, I said we. But there is no we. The U.S. constitution says, “We the people…” but where is the “we”? All I see are 320 million “ME’s”. You may disagree and say, “Well what about families?” I would’ve asked the same thing if I hadn’t witness multiple families of many different ethnicities, as well as social and financial classes be more willing to give a stranger a dollar than their own family. And that’s if they were in a generous mood that day. I would say that this country has become so messed up that there’s no turning back, but then that would be saying that we were ever not messed up. Let’s go back shall we? To the foundation of this, oh so great nation. Yes, we had scholars and wordsmiths you could write and think, who wrote a document using a previously published notion that all men were created equal, yet slavery was still a thing. People were brought to a country against their will. People owned people, where is the equality in that? It is one thing to say something but actions do speak louder than words.
Ok, I know the great truth speaker of our nation came along and declared slavery no more, well along with an amendment to the constitution. But alas, the equality was so evident in the segregated country. The law at one point literally separated people in public spaces. And women, don’t think I’ve forgotten the struggle that the women of the past had to face in order to be seen as equal to a man and gain her right to vote just the same as the black community. But, that’s all in the past. Right? Well, let’s talk more recent times. How about a year this nation knows so well, 2001. What happened during this year? The world trade centers were attacked. Somehow we blame an entire religion and its followers for the actions of a small concentration of people claiming to be of the faith. When there is an attack on us it’s a tragedy. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t think that the event was a tragedy. I just don’t believe that the only tragedy was in the event itself but in the fact that we didn’t see similar events as tragedies as well. For example, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Serbia, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and debatably more. What do these countries have in common? They have all been bombed by the U.S. but this is only a few after WWII. If you search these you’ll probably get the number of U.S. citizens who lost their lives but how many lives were taken by us? How many of them were innocent people in the wrong country at the wrong time? The fact that we could never honestly answer this question with 100% certainty is a tragedy. A life is a life. No matter their nationality or is that not the moral standard in the free country… the country of immigrants… the melting pot? But I think you get the point.
But let’s take it back again, because after segregation ended… wait segregation never ended. We just got rid of the laws, better yet traded them in for marketing ploys and government funded systematic assistance that separate us still. Now we have an ethnic aisle, which was supposed to serve the purpose of including other cultures but simply does the opposite because it divides the store into two groups, whites and everyone else. As to say that white is the normal and anything different is strange but tolerated? Explain to me why the ethnic aisle cannot be integrated into the other aisles of the store, because is American culture not a mixture of many cultures? Did it really reach equality yet? I only ask because I don’t see how the government assistance and low income housing wasn’t the same as segregating. In these neighborhoods jobs are almost impossible to find making it even harder to pay for your ‘low income’ housing, so now poor little ‘Junior’ has to skip school to work. And we wonder why the literacy rate is low and the distraction rate is high in these communities. Was that not the plan? And if ‘Junior’ gets to go to school, one good thing – he may get food that day, but is he getting the same quality education as those private schools which he could never afford? His situation is a trap that forces him to adapt and become what society has already expected he was before he was born, an unemployed drop out. But these benefits keep them alive, for the most part, so I guess the governments done its part. But what about those lower middle class white families that don’t quite fit make enough to get by, but make too much to receive assistance. What do we do for them? Do we just ignore them because we don’t have to pretend to care about them because they aren’t a racial minority? Do their kids qualify for free lunch too?
A nation where money and military is more important than education and health care, just ignores the poverty cycle it’s created, what happens? This poverty cycle just gets worse generation after generation. So, you have me, a homeless college student, who’s been homeless my entire life and have had to work my way through boarding school, and go to college with zero dollars to my name. Well, I guess there’s grants and of course scholarship, but they give that to the kids with the good GPA’s, sorry I didn’t find time to worry about my GPA when I was worrying about where I would live, if I would eat, if I could afford my medication because of course I couldn’t afford insurance. But the government’s got my back! There are loans! Yes! I can go to school! But what about during the breaks and the summers when loans don’t cover school and I have nowhere to go? What about when I graduate and have my degree? Now, not only do I have worry about finding somewhere to live but now I need to find a job to pay back all these loans. I went in with zero dollars to my name and leave with negative forty-five thousand dollars because of my debt. Now, you’re probably thinking that I should have picked a more lucrative major, but I think that – that ideology is part of the problem. This is not me blaming anyone for my situation but just saying that the government was not very helpful. I don’t see why seeking an education means I have to either; be a genius to qualify for a full ride, apply to outside scholarships that are like a lottery and take as much time to do as the one assignment it will be able to afford, sell my soul to the government to only be repaid in debt after graduation, or make the same deal with some bank or organization. I understand that I chose an expensive school to go to but the concern doesn’t only stop with expensive schools. And why should I not be able to attend a more expensive school? My education is important and shouldn’t be limited. You can limit my eating. I understand the concept that if I can’t afford to have it my way then the burgers stop coming. That makes perfect sense. I can only eat what I can afford. Granted that eating is needed for survival, but our government systems seem to tackle that a little bit better than they do education. It’s disconcerting! Why is education so damn expensive when it’s not only fundamental to my development as a person but also to my ability to be a contribution to society and the progression of my country? I’m not someone who blames the one percent and their so-called control over everything. I blame myself and the ninety-nine percent for doing just this, only talking about the issues that are apparent and not doing anything about it. We allow ourselves to be distracted from the injustice within a country that we are supposed to pledge our allegiance. I love how the people that seem to be doing something about the injustice in the world are the ones who are living comfortably. If you are the CEO of a nonprofit, how is it that you are sitting on virtually unlimited amounts of those ‘two cents a day’ that could feed a child in a foreign country? And the artist that sing about poverty and change. Where is that concern with your million dollar outfit? I do understand that not all people fit into those categories and that not all people are as careless or disingenuous but it’s just enough that it’s quite disconcerting. I have no doubt that one day I will be able to fight injustice. I understand that right now, I’m not in a position to try to fight injustice without being silenced within the first few months by either prison or worse. And with all this said, and even though you’ve read every word, each of them were almost pointless because no matter how much we talk about change, no one is actually changing. You will go back to living your life, and I, mine. As I get older and as I experience more life I see that we are all hypocrites. So many of us claim to care but not many of us can back it up with our actions. This reality makes me sad. This reality is my country. This reality is me. This reality is us. This reality is you. Are you okay with it, because I’m not okay with what I see? But then again, I guess that’s just the way it is. THAT’S THE WAY IT IS.