It seems just about everyone has an opinion about politics, even if that opinion is that you hate it! It may or may not come as a surprise but my second major in college was Politics. Usually when I told people that I was a Marketing and Politics double-major, they would ask if I wanted to be a campaign-manager. I had thought about it, but perhaps it was the study of politics that made me very disinterested in that career path. Don’t get me wrong, I love political theory but the practice, many times leaves me letting out a huge sigh.
Being a non-citizen in America, people often ask, as in just yesterday my brother commented: “why do you care so much about American politics? It’s not like you can vote, at least not yet.” Well, for one I like to be informed. Secondly, it is a topic of conversation I am familiar with having studied it. Thirdly, I pay taxes, and fourthly, why I may not be able to vote, I believe being active in the community and communicating with those who have the right to vote, can still be influential. Lastly, as any student of politics knows, voting is only one form of participation and arguably, the easiest.
Lately however, there have been two things on my mind as far as politics is concerned:
1. THE ECONOMY. I bet you saw that coming. I am indeed part of many people in this country who are underemployed. Not to mention the 9.1 % or 14 million people who are unemployed (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). Yes my situation is a little bit different because I have some latitude to be picky and choose with whom I interview with and where I “want” to work. Still, it seems that every time I turn on the TV, and especially the news, people are talking about fixing the economy but few people are actually doing it. Maybe that’s just cynical. Maybe it’s also just the truth. I don’t know all the economics and policy-making involved. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that things will not get better any time soon unless people start getting employed and fast. Businesses need to hire. Let me say that again: BUSINESSES NEED TO HIRE. We can talk about Americans personal financial responsibility or lack thereof, all day (and it is an issue we must address) but the reality maintains that people have to feed themselves and their families, spend money in their communities and educate their children. These are just my first thoughts of the economic situation so before I go on a rant, I’ll stop there. What are your first thoughts of this situation? What policies do you think will get us out of this mess? I WANT TO KNOW.
2. OCCUPY WALL STREET Like most people, I am still trying to understand the Occupy Wall Street movement. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the movement as a recent graduate who like them is concerned about the state of the nation. I am however, not in the business of endorsing or denouncing movements that I don’t fully understand. The point I want to make though, is that they, the OWS, have a point. As one of my friends pointed out to me-ask yourself why is it not “Occupy the White House” but “Occupy Wall Street?” Think about it; the name itself is significant. People are frustrated at what they see as a society in which this thing called the “American dream” is not available to people who work hard, go to college and get a job or at least try to do so. Many people are living pay check to pay check in this country and young people especially want to know why. What do you think about the OWS movement? Do you think they have a point?
Let me know your thoughts about these topics. I am still trying to form all my opinions as well, and I learn from knowing what other people are thinking and why they think the way they do. For the record too, I would like to add that I am not on either “side” of the political parties in this country. Perhaps I get this from my family not being party people themselves in my country of origin, Nigeria. We believe in the issues you could say, but more importantly, I believe that it is not just the job of government or businesses or movements but it is each person’s responsibility to work hard for what they want. That said, people need people to work hard and institutions to work hard too. What do you think?
Finally, I’d like to end with a little bit of hope to remind us that there are some people out there who are doing what they can with what they have to make things a little better. Below is a picture of a dry cleaner in Colorado Springs that I believe was taken from the OWS facebook group: