Washington vs. The People
If you’ve been anywhere but under a rock since January, you’re more than aware of the country’s political turmoil. Causes for alarm seem to make front page headlines daily. And despite White House assurances that all is well and has never been better, the vast majority of people are struggling to find some level of sanity.
While so many of the “tough choices” are being made predominantly by businessmen in expensive suits and neckties, their actions are leaving many of us on our own with barely a fighting chance of pursuing the solutions to the problems we consider important. We are continuing our fight nonetheless, but it now comes at a much more personal cost.
When it was decided that the federal budget would cut spending to areas enforcing LGBT rights, climate change research, health services for women, and anything putting boundaries on huge corporations, the responsibility was placed on each individual to shoulder the burden that the government chose to ignore. And it became necessary for us to start making independent donations to the socially beneficial groups of our choosing.
Many of us did this with no questions asked. Those who have more were able to make a greater financial contribution in hopes of avoiding an all out national disaster. But while personal dollars have been keeping many of the social programs up and running, we’re still required to pay taxes as if nothing has changed.
What we as a nation are realizing is that the priorities of government have nothing to do with the common man or woman. The younger generation is drowning in an ever growing pool of student loan debt while those in Washington have no intention of bringing that disaster to a close. What’s being coined as the “gig economy” is making the top one percent significantly richer while the majority of workers are struggling to earn a liveable wage.
Today, it’s become more important for employees to adopt the social and religious principles of the company than to guarantee their individual rights. Disabilities might present barriers for employment, access to contraceptives depends on the company’s official position, those within the LGBT community face unemployment due to a personal lifestyle that exists globally but is not forced onto anyone, and even the military veterans who are praised during every press conference struggle to make sense of why the country to which they chose to sacrifice an arm or leg leaves them helpless and alone once their term of service comes to an end.
While it has fallen on each of us to protect our valued society and a world that we hold dear, we do so alone. Just as businesses will never give you anything without getting something in return, the U.S. government acts in its own best interest regardless of the detriment it causes to society. And while we continue to fund social organizations on one hand, our other hand pays taxes that provides officials with the means to thwart our own efforts.
The solution to such an impossible situation is hard to see. Do we stop paying taxes? Should we as a nation stop working until the government takes us seriously? Should we start a revolution? Or if all else fails we can have a mass exodus to Canada in hopes of finally purchasing maple syrup at a reasonable price.
Realistically, anything less than civil disobedience is bound to go unnoticed. To public officials, we are only as significant as our names which is why Michael Jordan can get an invitation to the Whitehouse but Michaela Jordan (if such a person exists) can’t even have a phone conversation with the assistant of her state representative. This same political behavior is true when it comes to reviewing signed petitions which is why the physical actions you take will always be your strongest feature.
While this is a time when our right to act outside of the current system is becoming a punishable offense, active engagement removed from the status quo is more important than ever. It is our right to choose our ideals and our obligation to keep life from falling below that standard. Through action, we can save what little we have left, restore what we’ve lost, and finally move us towards a better path.