Are we headed towards our downfall as a nation?

Turn on the news, scroll through Facebook, browse retweets, find any platform where large quantities of people are absorbing and distributing information. What do you see? Another active shooter? Another black kid shot by a white cop? Another celebrity scandal? UFO’s? Flat Earth? More polar ice caps melting? Another devastating forest fire? Someone being shamed for being fat, gay, trans, or non-binary? A new strand of Covid-19? Jeffery Epstein still didn’t kill himself?

There is a lot going on in this country of ours and I don’t know if it’s just me, but it’s getting hard to find the positives. Not that any country is really doing much better than us but I don’t know enough to speak on their behalves, so I will stick with reporting on the land of star spangled freedom, super sized Big Mac’s, and a 700 billion dollar defense budget (that’s billion with a “b”).

I’ve only been on this planet for 24 years and have only paid attention to the national climate for the past six or seven years so I do have one question for more seasoned Americans: Has it always been this crazy? I know the foundational years of our country were quite violent, even borderline genocidal. I can’t defend the history of the United States. I guess a better question would be: How are things so crazy now?

It’s 2021, last I checked slavery was abolished in 1865. Since 1970, everyone can vote fairly. Same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states as of 2015. I underdstand there is still systemic racism and discrimination that allows for the wealthy white upper class of America to remain on top. I am not naive to the corruption that still exists within our borders. All I am asking is, how are things not a little better?

We are supposed to be getting better as a nation right? We are calling out bigotry and racism and, as a whole, we no longer support those behaviors. Derek Chauvin is in jail for the next 22.5 years. We are slowly making America a better place for all. So why are the depression and suicide rates rising? Why is the income gap still increasing? Why are we in an affordable housing crisis? Why does the media frame our elections as a war between Democrats and Republicans instead of one nation trying to decide who is best suited to lead us for the next four to eight years?

The problem is you. You are the reason things aren’t getting better. No, this isn’t a metaphor or a hyperbole. You, the person reading this article right now on your phone or computer, you are the problem. Don’t worry though, I am also the problem. So is your neighbor, so is my neighbor. We the People of the Unites States. The problem has been in front of us all this time in the first seven words of our constitution. We the People of the United States, are the problem.

Why do you think mainstream media is flooding us with tragic headlines and stories? It’s becuase We the People are viewing those headlines the most. Why is college tuition so high? Because We the People are still taking out huge loans and forking out cash to these insitutions. Gas prices, interest rates, rent increases, our entire economy is 100% influenced by We the People and it’s time we realize our power as individuals. We are the problem but we are also the only solution.

Take a look at what happened with Gamestop shares this year. A bunch of everyday people like you and I, joined together on a reddit page and decided to short squeeze all the Wall Street investors that were betting on Gamestop shares falling. These modern day internet crusaders cost wall street investors a whopping 20 billion dollar loss (estimated). In one day, they caused so much turmoil that investment platforms were halting the buying and selling of stocks.

These people weren’t financial experts or succesfull day traders. They were regular people sitting on their couches at home with some spare cash to invest in a dying video game retailer just becuase they wanted to see if they could mess with the big dogs on top. The results were far greater than anyone had anticipated. I think we need to look at that event as a shining example of how much power we really have.

So what do we do with this information? How do we team up and use our collective powers to fix the problems we are having as a nation? Well, I think we have to be concious of what we do and support. If you don’t like those articles or posts that are biased towards one political party, don’t click on them. If you don’t like how depressing the news channels are getting, change the channel. Our everyday actions, as a whole, determine what happens in our country.

Let’s apply this theory to the high cost of college tuition in our country. How could you and I make them lower and make college affordable for more people? It’s simple, we just don’t go. Tell your friends and kids not to go. Even if your dream job requires a college degree, don’t go. Tell everyone exactly why you won’t go. Say you will not support current tuition rates and tell everyone. Tweet about it with a hashtag like #lowertuition or #college4all. I gaurantee there are millions of people who would love to see tuition rates fall as well.

I know why this theory might seem scary because you might think: “Well, if I don’t go to college then I am not going to be able to get that dream job I want and all the people who are still attending college and paying tuition are going to do better than me”. Don’t think that, that’s what all these universities want you to think. The second you say screw it and pay the crazy tuituion rates, you are only assuring the tuition rates won’t decrease.

This is why I say We the People are the problem. We can’t think that we as individuals don’t hold power. If you and I don’t attend college and tell all our friends not too attend as well, just for the next couple of years, and we get enough people to not attend college as well, universities will be forced to lower tuition or close their doors for good. They need us way more than we need them. Then, in a matter of a couple years we could all attend college at a much lower rate.

Now look at all this on a larger scale, if all of us start withdrawing from things we don’t support, everything will have to change with us or face total collapse. We’ve already seen our powers used to get justice. A few bystanders recorded Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd and shared the video to social media. Then from there, we the people spread that story until every person in this country had heard about the cop that abused his powers and took a man’s life. Do you think a police officer would have been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison if we didn’t shine a light on the injustice? We demanded that police be held to the same level of the law as us and we got it.

So is America doomed? Are we headed towards collapse just like the once unstoppable Roman Empire? Yes, it is totally possible that We the People of the United States allow for our worst qualities to rise to the top until we defeat ourselves or are defeated by someone else. On the other hand, We the People can realize the power we have and begin to use them to further better this country of ours and inspire progress.

Let’s not hate each other for differing political views, religions, or ideals. If you won’t respect the opinions of others than how can you expect them to respect yours? I have been all over the United States and I have met people from all walks of life. I can assure you that our commonalities are much greater than our differences. I truly believe that 99% of Americans are good people and that our indifferences aren’t the problem, arrogance is. We need to live up to our name and be United, we need to help each other identify our biases and not chastise those who disagree with us.

Our nation, as strong as you may think it is, is vulnerable. We the People are the problem and we are the solution, remember that. Democracy is a great thing because it allows us all to have influence but that can also be the vary thing that makes it fail. I think all of us are getting a little fed up with the current social climate of our country and it’s time we take a step back and get our priorities straight.

“This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in” -Theodore Roosevelt

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