America Is So Broken, Can It Ever Be Fixed?

Grace Whitley
Jul 6, 2018 · 4 min read

Have you ever seen The Newsroom? That political, dark-humored, dramatic series centered around events in a fictitious (yet eerily relevant newsroom)? If so, read on. If not, please watch the following clip:

My (now) husband and I watched this in Sweden a couple years and laughed our heads off. It became a running joke, American “freedom”. But we live here in the US now, and suddenly it’s not so funny.

America, the land of the free, celebrated the anniversary of its independence yesterday, a cruel irony in the reality of this country’s rotting flesh. Once an ultimate dream for people the world over, America has become a sick joke. And America is nothing if not ignorant; ignorance is a huge part of its problem. A majority of Americans don’t even know that they’re living in some sort of horror movie. This is just their normal and considering that only 42% of them have a passport (up from 27% in 2007), it’s hardly surprising.

America was built on industry; it was where people came to work and make some dollars. It declared independence from Britain 242 years and 1 day ago. But somehow, along the way, that industry grew arms and legs and morphed into WORK, WORK, WORK UNTIL YOU DIE AND GET NOTHING FOR FREE. That’s what people do here. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Work comes before all else — and compensation is not even close to fair.

Liberty? I don’t think so.

Americans literally dedicate their lives to work and receive very little support. Healthcare? Not really. Maternity/paternity leave? Unpaid, if any. Sick leave? Sometimes. Annual leave? 14 out of 365 days, encouraged not to be taken. The constant work is simply survival, where somebody in Sweden would choose a job that they enjoy and actually live their lives without fear of becoming homeless. In America, work comes first and health comes second. Who has time for healthy food and exercise when they’re too busy working to survive. Who can afford to go to the doctor upon discovering a lump, and who would be willing to take on debt to do so? And what’s the point if you can’t afford to do anything about it anyway?

But, for Americans, that’s just the way it is. In the land of industry, critical thinking is not and never has been encouraged. And so the cycle is perpetuated. American kids get fed a lie — if you work hard enough, you will be successful. That’s just not true and, as the gap between the 1 and the 99% widens, success feels like a fairytale from a faraway land.

More than 20 million people live in trailer parks in America. The US healthcare system costs more than any other country’s (despite not providing universal healthcare or better health outcomes). More than three adults are obese. America keeps falling in the World Happiness ratings (in fact, it’s never even cracked the top ten). Most Americans will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75. More Americans have died from guns since 1968 than in all the wars in US history. Donald Trump is president. How much worse does it need to get before it can get better?

Somehow, “socialism” is still basically a swear word here. People proudly plant stars and stripes in their yards, and Trump’s approval rating is over 40%. That means that at least 4 out of 10 people approve of him. And yet their country is becoming a wasteland, and Trump’s leadership is only steering it deeper into the abyss. Pulling out of climate change efforts, instigating trade wars, tearing apart families, threatening to get rid of what little healthcare there is. Meeting and befriending dictator extraordinaire Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin up next (of whom Trump speaks so highly). Trump is a literal clown to the rest of the world, serving only to further alienate America, while the Republicans frantically cheer him on.

If America was a smaller country, the rest of the world would have boycotted it. Sanctions would have began elsewhere, rather than in the US. Countries would have expressed their disproval and cut America off — the only thing left to do for such a petulant teenager. But America has colossal power. If there’s one thing all that industry results in, it’s dollar bills: the 2017 US GDP was 19.39 trillion dollars. The US population in 2017 was 325 million people. In comparison to North Korea’s 25 million people and 28.5 billion dollar GDP in 2016. America is too big to boycott, change must come from within.

The American people are funding its demise and their own unhappiness, and they don’t even seem to realize it. Wake up, Americans. You’re in a cult. Don’t believe me? Go overseas and see for yourself; this is not normal. Can’t afford to? Research online, properly, from non-US news sources. There’s a reason why everybody is drawing parallels between you and Gilead; you’re heading North Korea ways.

I’m fortunate enough to come from New Zealand. I have the luxury of not having to worry about my survival in the way that so many Americans do. But for all the people that are from here — once considered fortunate, now significantly less so — something has to change. I only hope that it’s not too late.

Grace Whitley

Written by

Writing is what I do instead of sleeping. Feminist, chemist, protagonist. Made in NZ.

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