Change not always a solution
One generation ago there was not a college campus in the country where American policy and the Vietnam War was not being discussed and acted upon. Post-war youths found themselves coming of age richer, healthier, better educated and more empowered than any of their ancestors. Also, the last big wave of immigrants had already settled and assimilated, so this generation saw themselves as more purely American.
All of this contributed to historical levels of involvement and participation in political and socio-economic affairs that led to the dramatic changes that ended with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the United States taking a role as the single leader of the world. Sadly for us, it seems that one generation later we all have come to believe and rely on that lie.
Colonial Europe was no better or stronger than the imperialistic blocs of the Cold War era, and technological or economical invincibility is as real now as it was then. The youth of today care less for the building of our nation and where current policy could lead us than for social networks or kosher and vegan food at the cafeteria.
The puzzling tendency of reversal immigration is not making things any easier. Contrary to their forefathers’ struggle for assimilation, an increasing number of Americans are now longing for the old country.
Could it be that the sense of security and stability our fathers worked so hard to inspire in us has ultimately handicapped our ability to recognize and make up for our weaknesses by identifying and building upon our strengths? The failure of a social and educational scheme, which attempts to bring everybody to a higher level (the No-Child-Left-Behind syndrome) is instead keeping everybody in mediocrity (the No-Child-Let-Ahead reality), we appear as a nation too content with itself and disconnected from the realities and dangers of the Second and Third Worlds.
It is human nature to reject the status quo and seek our own identity in change, no matter how impulsive or unnecessary; however, and despite some candidates’ calls to shake the current structure from its very foundation, change just for the sake of change should be avoided.
A conscious analysis of the realities and needs of our country as a whole, as well as a clear perspective for the future, free from selfish quests for personal and immediate gains, is needed before the errors of the current administration could be blamed on the system itself or be made the culprit that rots all of us.
We are a great nation and that should be the first teaching at school.
Most importantly, we should understand that such greatness comes not from divine intervention, but from the pains and sacrifices of our ancestors, from their skill and commitment to reach a higher stand in history and from their willingness to cast aside differences and place the pillars of progress where common ground can be found.
The youth, no matter how more intelligent than our fathers we believe ourselves to be, needs to learn and keep the good teachings of old. It is not our job to reinvent the wheel, but to make it work in a changing road. College campuses equipped to spark discussion and trigger progress, because our minds are free of corporate lust or personal commitments. Progress, however, does not have to come as the result of revolution or anarchy. Bonilla, a computer-engineering technology senior, can be reached via [email protected]. From the birth of our nation, we already survived and prevailed over British colonialism, Japan’s imperialism, Germany’s fascism and Russia’s communism (as well as our own demons of slavery: secession, racism and corruption).
There is certainly something right at the core of our capitalist democracy, and we can surely survive extremist Islam and the internal strife over Iraq or the economy without breaking apart or turning against Washington, like a candidate is suggesting, but rather by uniting and pulling our share.