What is America?

What is America?

Jasmine George

What is America? Is it the land of the free? Or land of the fee? Is it a country? Or is it a business? Why are race, money, and diabetes the modern ‘American Dream.’

The division. Coming from someone who’s lived their entire life in the most populated state in America, I can tell you that the division is REAL. You are either a democrat or republican. You are either poor or rich. You stand with the ‘blue lives’ or the ‘black lives.’ I see and hear about division on a day-to-day basis.

Gun violence. Well if you thought America couldn’t get any worse, it does. The Small Arms Survey reported that 46% of the US population legally owns a gun. Yes, you heard that correctly. It is LEGAL to own a killing weapon. A legally owned weapon that killed 61 people in a Las Vegas hotel. A legally owned weapon that killed 50 people in an Orlando nightclub. There were an estimated 10 mass school shootings from 1997-2001. Since 2001 those numbers have skyrocketed to 220+ school shootings during the less than 20 years. The weapons used in each shooting were legally owned either by themselves, their family, or the killers neighbors. We are talking about hundreds of children and teen deaths that could’ve been prevented.

What about my future? My dream in life, even as a child, is to become successful and independent. No husband. No kids. I have always wanted and still want to become a lawyer. My mother says I have potential, but that isn’t enough. What about the $40,000 per year law school that I want to attend, and the $200,000 debt that follows it.

What about the health costs? Thank God I don’t want to have kids, because apparently the average cost of giving birth is $10,000-$30,000. As for breaking a bone? There goes $1,400. Do you have a sickness that requires you to stay in the hospital? Well I hope you have $15,000 sitting around because apparently that’s the average cost per hospital stay. I also hope you know how to drive with a serious injury because you probably don’t want to pay $500-$1,000 for a ride from the ambulance. 

How do you feel about living in the United States? I once felt safe and protected. I now feel afraid and ashamed of growing up in America. I feel afraid of not being able to afford a life in my future. I feel afraid that the world is going to end before I even have a future. I feel ashamed of living in a country so full of greed. I feel let down by the system and politics controlling this country. 

What is happening in America today? Yes there is division, crazy costs, and legally owned weapons everywhere in America. These are clearly serious issues. However, with new music supporting and encouraging female empowerment, artists such as Cardi B, City Girls, and Megan Thee Stallion are making an enormous impact on society already. The LGBTQ+ is also being widely accepted online and in real life, which is an amazing step towards the future. Makeup artists such as Bretman Rock, James Charles, and Brad Mondo are living proof of it.

Is there hope? There was a moment where if you’d ask me this same question, I’d tell you no. I’d tell you that we are either going to get wiped out by the pandemic or a nuclear war. However, I don’t agree with that anymore. As crazy as it sounds I truly believe that we may have a chance at LIVING. Living a life in a place with peace. Living in a life where kids won’t feel afraid of going to school. Living a life where money won’t define your character. 

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw