This land is your land

When asked about our nation’s current achievements, we as a people cannot joyfully point to such things as the Johnson administration’s pursuit of the Great Society or, along such similar lines, revel at our technological progress at achieving something as grand as, say, the construction of a new particle accelerator or landing an astronaut on Mars.

Unfortunately, as of the present, we as a people can only point to our nation’s series of endless wars, a continuing decrease in our people’s standard of living and the increasingly present mass shootings committed by the disturbed and mentally ill.

To put it simply, we Americans have become the citizens of a second-rate nation run by a third-rate government. These things must stop, and as an egalitarian and progressive people, we have the power to change our country so that these negative aspects of American life can become things of the past.

Reflecting on the congressional gridlock of the past few years, most of us have come to realize that there is no longer an easily assessable means through our federal politics that would allow, in any great and potentially meaningful sort of way, to increase our citizenry’s ability to pursue happiness and economic prosperity. Currently, there is too much radicalization and apathy in our government for our politicians to be able to pass rational legislation which would benefit the people instead of exploiting them.

With the upcoming prospect of another Middle Eastern war with Syria and yet another government shutdown, it has become overtly clear that what America needs in order to achieve genuine recovery is a new political scene.

In other words, we mush smash the current left of its current ineffectualness in supporting the American working class. And at the same time, we must liberate the right from its present political radicalism.

In the upcoming weeks, it seems likely that far better men and women than me might die in yet another senseless war. It is heartbreaking to think that we might allow this to happen yet again in little over 10 years’ time. We have already ruined much of a generation through wars and long-standing occupations, and that should not be. Also, on the poor of this country, it is ridiculous to think that in this age of technological wonderment, anyone would go hungry. Yet an inconceivable amount still do.

We as a people are ultimately better than avoidable wars and the horrors of poverty. We as a people should not send our friends, classmates and neighbors to die in yet another needless war in some faraway desert, or allow millions of children and the elderly to go hungry.

Yet the current political atmosphere of this country makes it impossible for us to avoid the current state of things. Our politicians fight amongst themselves over the ethics of Obamacare while people still go bankrupt by hospital costs. Our president speaks of nation’s exceptionalism as a cause to go to war while the poor are still left with no means of bettering themselves.

Yet through the power of elections, we can easily change our government so that these things are no longer aspects of the American life. We can easily enter into a new age of progress and equality, as all it would take would be to replace those in our government who stand in our way of achieving this.

Whether politically on the left or on the right, there is no question that all of us want a better America. But for this to happen, we must first become actively involved in our government and elect politicians who actually represent our interests. It is only by doing this that we can make America for Americans once again – as, after all, this is our land, and we should treat it as such.

Richard O’Neill lives in Saranac Lake.