New-era fears struggle with hope

Bailey Claar

Co-Editor-In-Chief

I am an American teenager, and I am scared.

Issues like gun control, assault on LGBT community members and a level of racial division in the 21st century mirroring the level in the 1960s plague my country. Standardized education crushes children who don’t test well, and the expectation of college degrees we can’t afford and won’t pay off in the end are considered the best option.  

A new-coming right-wing government more scandalous than reality TV, with a president elect straight from prime time is paving the way for its next 4 years in power, and the two party system is split and in utter shambles at each of the problems listed above. That’s just a bite-sized piece of the American pie that is the downward spiraling of the United States, and these are the confining walls surrounding my generation as we come of age.

Whether the results of November 8, 2016 elated or crushed you, there is turmoil much stronger than our trembling democracy.  A civil war in Syria rages on and we see torturous clips whilst scrolling social media.

Vladimir Putin, a neo-dictator and man most teens are not very familiar with, is known to have used Russian intelligence to hack into the 2016 election and is creating far worse havoc across the globe. Human-trafficking, climate change claiming dry land and wildlife, minority groups struggling to feel equality and complete and utter unrest seems to pour from somewhere in every aspect of life.

Kids born in the late 90s and early 00s are yet to own homes, pay bills or support themselves. Most did not vote in this election. These kids do not have a strong say on foreign affairs or the moral standards our government will legislate in the coming years.

They cannot help stop ISIS. They cannot diffuse the ever growing and parasitic need for fossil fuels. They cannot pay back $100,000 in student loans on the salaries of the careers they will work towards. They are yet to have made their mark on the world, and the prospects of nuclear weapons and rampant, senseless violence world may just stop them all.

Living in America, we are taught we live relatively safe, privileged lives. We have a shot at the pursuit of (dwindling) happiness. We have a freedom of speech and press to say as we wish about the issues we face, an inalienable right government officials cannot take from us.

As of late, however, government officials hands have been tied when it comes to the reports of black men and women being shot by law enforcement. When a mass shooting happens, apologetic tweets are posted instead of constructive ideas on ending gun violence.

We are living in a grey, hazy purgatory of “what if?” when it comes to overcoming obstacles, or helping our fellow humans in need. When the gunshots aren’t on your street, the terrorist attacks aren’t claiming your loved ones, the racist rhetoric of the world’s most popular country isn’t against your skin tone, please know it is happening right now to someone else.

We must work together as advanced, diplomatic humans and find light in this deep, deep dark. Until then, in the words of James Baldwin, “I can not be a pessimist, because I am alive.”

I am an American teenager, and I am scared.

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