by Anthony Deluca, Lincoln High Class of 2009
A high school teacher of mine, Rick DeLoia, taught me (along with many others who paid attention) that the United States of America is great because we protect the freedoms of the minority groups and that goes further than race/ethnicity.
That concept applies to any group who thinks differently than the majority of the population. There was a time in the United States when we put the Japanese in camps, because as a nation we were scared and didn’t know what to do. Since 9/11 it’s been the Muslim people under scrutiny, and now it’s the illegal immigrants. Although not citizens of the United States, illegal immigrants are human beings.
We cannot let the fear of the majority lead us into a realm of society where we try to justify immoral actions and unjust policies. If more people in the country are pro-life or pro-choice, are for marriage equality or not, that doesn’t make one group right or wrong. America was founded on fairness in law for all its citizens to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The problem that has always plagued the United States has been fear. Since the time of winning the Revolutionary War, our nation has a looming fear that we can lose what we fought so hard for, so long ago. The media and politicians will flood your television and newspapers with headlines inducing fear, and it is that fear that is our downfall. We cannot act out of fear; fear causes irrational behavior and hasty decision making.
The conservatives will have you believing America has been hijacked and we need to take it back, we need to make it great again. To a degree that is true, but it has not been hijacked by the usual suspects as they would like you to believe. Our nation has been hijacked by the media, and the ultra-rich. They control what we see and hear, and subconsciously how we think about certain topics and issues.
We do not become greater by vilifying the poor and destitute, we do not become greater by closing our borders, and we certainly do not become greater by slandering anyone who has a different belief system than ourselves, whether at home or abroad.
The fact of the matter is, we have always been great and that greatness stems from our rich diversity. Where else on Earth is there such a mix of cultures living cohesively all sharing the same dream of being free and controlling their own destinies? If we let fear of the unknown lead us to closing our borders and discriminating against people based on their race or religion, then that will be the downfall of this great nation. That will undermine the precedents the founding fathers have set for us.
We are living in a time of hypocrisy, where people who have inherited their wealth and success, can lead attacks on people who work hard for very little money by telling them the reason they cannot get ahead is due to lack of effort and education. Minimum wage for minimum skill they shout! What skill does it take to inherit 200 million dollars, or to be born into a family with a prestigious last name, in turn creating an avenue that leads that person to an Ivy League education?
We have dynasties in this country; whether in politics or in business. There are families who have held power positions in our government for decades, and companies that have just as much money and power as the politicians they lobby to vote in their interests. Most of Congress sits on the board of directors of the largest corporations in our country.
Coincidence, I think not. It is easier, and cheaper, to be blame the poor. It is more dangerous to blame to rich. We are living in a time where the politicians despise handouts, yet the average college graduate is living at home until they are 26 years old. My grandparents were married with children and their own home by that age.
We are letting the media and politics divide us so much, that we only care about helping our own. “It’s not a handout if it’s my family providing the help.” Yes, it is. And there is nothing wrong with receiving a helping hand to pave your way to a successful future. But, we need to expand that mindset and realize that all Americans should be considered family and we need to build each other up rather than tear each other down. Only then can we come together and fix this nation.