I was born in 2002, still early enough to be considered a time of a transition into a new century. With the mainstream use of technology rising rapidly and the state of our government trying to pick itself back up after 9/11, the early 2000s was a historic period of time that will always be remembered in American culture.
With the scar of 9/11 still fresh on America’s skin, our country had begun down the slippery slope of xenophobia, nationalism, and divisiveness.
But this definitely wasn’t the first time America dealt with horrific events that have sparked fear, prejudice, and greed in our county.
Many times throughout the history of humanity have we seen some sort of major event or incident that is immediately met with an uproar of mixed opinions. While the major events infamously go down in history, it is the way people respond and react to those certain events that truly affect the way the events are perceived in the future.
On the evening of April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. This horrific scene traumatized the nation, breaking the hearts and spirits of millions across America. The gears of the Civil Rights movement had suddenly come to a halt. Though the nation was plagued with grief, activists and organizers still took action. From Dr. King’s death arose numerous protests, marches, the rise of the Black Panther Party, and most importantly, it sped up the process of the Fair Housing Act, a bill that banned discrimination regarding the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, or sex. This bill was the last legislative achievement of the Civil Rights era and is an important follow-up of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So you see, while this event is remembered as a time of sadness, it’s imperative to recognize the positive outcomes that came from it as well. The actions that people took in the past reshaped the future for the better.
Now, a slightly more pessimistic example of how the reactions of the past affect the future is the aftermath of Richard Nixon’s presidency. The Watergate scandal rocked the nation, causing the people to lose faith in their government. Suspicions rose as people began to catch a whiff of what was really going on behind the White House doors. The rise and fall of Nixon was the beginning of a domino effect: dirty tricks in politics and cheating to win. Or at least the beginning of the public’s awareness surrounding these issues.
I’ve come to realize that with almost every scandal that arises in politics, after every horrific event, during a pandemic, there is always one motive for the people in charge—money. Money is the true leader of our nation. Almost every decision we make, every war we begin or participate in is fueled by money. Rarely do we see a decision made that will benefit the well being of the people.
I’m not saying money is the devil. I love money. However, it pains me whenever a choice made by our government claims to be “for the people” when it’s clearly money-driven, and only benefiting those up top who already HAVE enough money to buy 18 Bugattis and still have some cash left over.
Most kids my age are luckily able to see how corrupt our political system is. We’ve had to grow up with the looming responsibility to deal with the discarded remains of what previous generations have left us. We see how money fuels our nation, and we have seen the response. I want to be able to re-teach future generations about humanity. About human decency, about civil rights, about climate change, and about how money isn’t always the answer. I want to leave this planet knowing that future generations will not only be aware of the amount of social, economic, and environmental issues but that they will know how to solve them. Or at least be a couple of steps closer to a solution.