Op-Ed: The current state of America – through a millennial’s eyes

Op-Ed: The current state of America – through a millennial’s eyes
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An American flag.

As of December 2019, I have been stuck in Canada after moving here to obtain my dual citizenship. COVID-19 has made me unable to travel back home to the United States to see my family and friends, but I have come to the realization that my situation could be a lot worse.

Over 200,000 Americans have died from the virus, many of them alone without having the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones. Families were unable to have proper funerals, and citizens were turned away from hospitals due to a lack of healthcare insurance.

However, our president said, “It is what it is”, and held rallies during a pandemic without masks. He lied to the American public and said it would “magically disappear”, but then admitted he knew it was dangerous all along and did not want the public to panic. He didn’t listen to scientists and doctors about measures to stop the spread and had the audacity to blame former President Barack Obama for the lack of ventilators and PPE. President Trump calls COVID-19 the “China Virus” and refuses to take responsibility for his inaction to contain the spread of the pandemic and provide economic relief. In fact, he has never taken responsibility for his actions and always finds a way to blame others or call it fake news.

Due to the fact that I have been watching Canadian news networks, I have been able to see an unbiased view on the current climate brewing in our country. The state of our nation is in shambles when looking at it from an outsider’s point of view. There is a blatant divide between Republicans and Democrats which is dividing the country into two opposing points of view and sides. This current divide is reminiscent of the precursor to the Civil War, although this time it is over differing issues. American politics need to shift; it is 2020 and desperately needs to move forward towards positive change. There should be no hatred between the two parties, they should be working together to help America and its citizens. Regardless of their stance on points of view or personal beliefs. Why are there 80-year-old men and women making decisions that directly affect our lives and our future children’s lives, and why are these politicians allowed to serve decades in office? There should be no such thing as a career politician. Why is there not a cap on term limits these politicians can serve? These are questions I have been asking myself and believe there should be a dialogue to potentially change regulations.

The millennial generation is willing and capable to join the conversation regarding politics. We have constantly been stereotyped as entitled and soft, as well as being responsible for ruining industries such as department stores, among many others. Contrary to older generations’ beliefs, that is far from the truth. Our generation has great potential and ideas that are needed to change the status quo to make a difference in our democracy and future. Education, housing and healthcare prices have skyrocketed and put many of us in insurmountable debt. Buying a house and going to college decades ago cost significantly less than what it costs now, yet our generation is still blamed for the fact that we can’t afford what our parents were able to at our age. The current economy is a millennial-screwing machine, and we are presently watching the middle class disappear. Unless our generation steps up and takes an initiative, we will stay permanently stuck under the current politicians and economy’s thumb, leaving us in a constant state of calamity. It’s time to stand up and show that we’re fed up with the current state our country is in.

The United States of America used to be a beacon of light and hope to achieve the “American Dream”. The Statue of Liberty states: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” How can those yearning to achieve the American Dream achieve that when our president has them sent to immigration camps, often separated from their families, and ban Muslims from immigrating to our country? President Trump has called Mexicans “rapists” yet received no backlash from Republicans or his supporters. A woman counter-protesting at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was killed by an attendee, which consisted of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and far-right supporters. You would expect a head of government to condemn hate speech and what this rally was promoting, but instead, he said there were “fine people on both sides”. How can a group of people promoting hatred and bigotry be “fine” people? Donald Trump has refused to denounce the far-right or Good Ol’ Boys, and his supporters and Republican politicians have stayed silent. Republican politicians who have stayed silent and complicit during Trump’s last four years in office should be held accountable for aiding and abetting; they are just as guilty as he is for allowing this to occur.

President Trump has broken many laws in office that he should be charged for. How can we call ourselves a democracy, but turn a blind eye and not charge him for the laws he has broken? Some examples of laws Donald Trump has clearly broken are: profiting from his presidency while in office, obstructing justice by intimidation and firing those in charge of investigating Trump’s relationship with Russia, soliciting foreign interference in US elections, advocating political and police violence, abuse of power, attacking the free press, violating immigrants’ right to due process, and violating campaign finance laws.

Now ask yourself, if Former President Barack Obama committed just one of these unlawful acts, what would have happened? He would have been impeached and charged for breaking the law. President Trump cannot and should not get a free pass to do as he pleases and needs to be charged and held accountable for his actions. There is clear and documented proof that the Russians interfered with the 2016 election, yet nothing has been done about it. Why has the Republican Party stayed silent and allowed President Trump to get away with these blatant acts of unlawfulness? The hypocritical standards of President Trump and the Republican Party should not be tolerated, and if the roles were reversed and it were the Democratic party acting in the same fashion, I would want them to be held accountable as well. It is not about partisan bias; it is about following the law and Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett recently was voted in with the Republicans rushing the vote, despite the fact they would not let President Obama appoint a judge so close to an election in 2016. Didn’t Lindsay Graham tell the American people: “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.” Well, Mr. Graham, it appears you are not good for your word, are you? Now we have a woman who was rushed through onto the Supreme Court, who frankly does not even have the qualifications to be there

The constitution states that church and state should be separate, yet Coney Barrett clearly has biased views on abortion and women’s rights due to her religious beliefs. Abortion and a women’s right to choose should not even be a topic of discussion in the year 2020. Women don’t go get abortions like they visit the store for ice cream. They must make the hard decision for themselves that best suits their circumstances at that point in time. It is no one else’s business but the woman herself in what she chooses to do with her body and does not involve anyone else’s opinion or judgements. People can have their own religious beliefs and opinions but should not shove said beliefs down others’ throats. The same goes for judgement upon the LGBTQ community and people who think they have the right to tell them how to live their life. Christians cannot cherry-pick the bible and “love thy neighbour”, and pass judgement on others at the same time.

Another question I have asked myself during my time up here in Canada. Why do we spend so much of our budget on military equipment and weapons? In 2019, over $718 billion went into the military budget, which included a drone that cost one billion dollars to make. President Trump called those who have served their country “losers” and that he “didn’t like prisoners of war” yet allocates billions of dollars to said “losers”. My great-grandfather and grandfather did not fight in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War against fascist dictators just to be called a loser by our current fascist in chief. A portion of the military spending budget could be allocated elsewhere that could help benefit bettering the American schooling systems, mental health clinics and addiction centers.

Big pharma has decimated thousands of Americans’ lives and has yet to apologize or be held accountable for the opiate epidemic they have created. Among big pharma, companies such as big oil, big tobacco and the NRA buy out politicians, which directly affect bills and laws that are voted on. Politicians who are paid out by these corporations should have it be public knowledge exactly who is funding their campaigns and positions in office. These “donations” to politicians dominate and suppresses the voting process when it should be a fair and equal vote for the citizens of the United States of America. These big corporations working under capitalism disregard morality and environmental degradation, which in turn has destroyed the environment and displaced Native American communities. As well as immoral and corporate greed, these corporations, such as Amazon, do not pay a dime in taxes which needs to immediately change. Why are billion-dollar companies paying no taxes, while the average American is paying more in yearly taxes than said companies? It is unacceptable and a conversation about changing these regulations needs to happen now. It is especially mind-blowing when our current president only paid $750.00 in taxes because he is “smart enough for the tax loopholes”.

The United States needs to make many changes, with sustainable resources and renewable energy being at the top of the list. Climate change is real, and we need to work fast towards our treatment of the environment. Sure, everyday Americans can do small things like recycle and use solar energy; however, 71 per cent of global emissions is produced by just 100 corporations. Until we hold these companies accountable and either tax or fine them for their part in the degradation of the environment, nothing will change. Millennials and the younger generation are ready to step up and change the flaws in our government and move towards a better democracy. However, we cannot do that until we vote these career politicians out. It’s time to make a difference, and we won’t see that until we stand up and fight for what is right.

This opinion piece is by Alexa Larson. Alexa Larson grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and is currently living in Honeymoon Bay on Vancouver Island. She attended Arizona State University for urban planning and moved to Vancouver Island for dual citizenship and look at attending the University of Victoria. Her father is a Canadian citizen who grew up on Vancouver Island and moved to the U.S. in the 1980s on a scholarship to play hockey. He met Larson’s mother and has stayed in the States ever since, getting his U.S. citizenship  Due to COVID-19, most of Larson’s plans are on hold, but she does plan on staying on the island and living in Victoria. 

Alexa LarsonAlexa Larson

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