the active citizen

October 21, 2010

On a personal level must people are thoughtful, cooperative, and willing to help. At times they will even lend out a helpful hand to complete strangers on the roadside or even give spare change to the homeless. But as we progress in our own lives, a cleavage begins to take shape which isolates each individual from the outside world, and from those who have taken refugee in their own private matters. Even we, the Americans, who thrive on a system of democracy, have forgotten that our participation in our economy is what enriches our lives with a sense of accomplishment and meaning. However the reason for recent retreat in social involvement is not because we feel the world is well, but because we feel totally unaffected by any political or social change made by our elite. As America’s economic booms seem to keep passing us by, we struggle to live off of meager paychecks. We worry about the rising costs of healthcare, the miseducation of our children, uncertain about social security, and even random violence. Worrying about all this just to wonder how we will survive in our old age, to overwhelmed to even think about how we can change or speak up. We worry and complain about so much but just shrug in the face of change and say there is nothing we can do, simply because we feel that the top 300 rich people have more wealth then the bottom 3 billion poor combined. But the issues at hand have now become so complex that we cannot comprehend the moral implications of the world as we see it. In a world where Nike pays Michael Jordan more to appear on an ad then all of its Indonesian workers combined we fail to grab the concept that the oblivious unbalance of wealth in the world is where all our problems lie. That the issue at hand is not why there is an unbalance but how can we even begin to address it. Yet what leaves most of us out of the game and standing on the sidelines is not that we fail to comprehend the complicity of the matter but the fear of what we do isn’t left in vain. This ultimately leads us to the Ethiopian proverb, “he who conceals his disease cannot be cured”. As a whole we need to learn that it will take a lot to heal our society and the faith that we had bestowed in it. But as we all have been convinced that there is nothing we can do it gives us this feeling of learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is the failure to take action to make one’s life better which arises from a sense of not being in control. This encourages us to leave important decisions to others (elite, the top rich) which would explain the unbalanced distribution of wealth. Ironically, in a country born from a democratic revolution, to be an American means to be a political. Social withdrawal has become our norm, as defined by the ancient Greek anyone who is incapable or unable of being socially involved was an “idiot”. In present day this term seems to fit perfectly, anyone who can complain but fail to change should be called an idiot. All in all social intervention is very important not only for the health of the economy but also the individual. Being more involved keeps us on top, in control, and gives us a feel of achievement that will show that our efforts did not go in vain. Like all the social, economic, environmental, and even political workers we too can fight back some of this corruption and heal the world and our souls. Just by talking small steps we can start talking leaps and bounds across the country and soon change the nation to fit our lives for the better, all because we spoke up and that’s all we ever had to do.

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