I’ve been neglecting this place, in part because I didn’t want this place to be completely politically focused and that’s all that has seemed to be on my mind lately. But maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about diverse content. Instead, I think I should just be writing what’s on my mind. The important part is the writing. The topic, while important, is perhaps second.
I had a thought the other day that I posted over on my facebook page, and I’d like to share it here so I can expand upon it a bit.
“I’m not sure if it’s just been lately, or if I’ve just become more sensitive to it, but I’ve been noticing a lot of the attitude, ‘If I suffered through [x], you must suffer through it as well.’ Whatever happened to making the world a better place? What if it’s a relatively meaningless struggle? Why keep going with it?
Examples: The card catalog in the library. Why on earth would you ever tell someone they are not allowed to use a digital catalog? The slide rule. You want to take away calculators and Mathematica and force people to calculate everything in logs?
I think it’s silly to be afraid of progress. There will always be struggles and character-building. It’s just going to look a bit different in the next generation than it did in yours.”
Now, I use a couple academic examples to illustrate my point, but what really provoked this point was some of the reactions I’ve seen to social and economic issues lately.
Specifically, there is a push in New York by Governor Cuomo for a free tuition program for those attending eligible schools and families in a specific income bracket. Logistics of this aside, I have seen a lot of push back on this idea from older generation. The core point I see is that, “Well, we *worked* while attending college, why should students now get handed this?” (Interjection: I’m assuming these people are not taking into account inflation and any aid they may have received, whether federal, state, or from their own families.) Yes, you worked. I worked. I still have debt. And my debt is no where near as crippling as it could be.
But these people are using their own experiences as justification for character-building, and that if they toughed it out, well this generation just isn’t trying hard enough.
If we are at a point where, as a society, it is mandatory to get a college degree (up for debate in itself), shouldn’t there be a bit of help there? Schooling up to 12th grade is “free,” and yeah you pay for public school with your taxes, so I get that it isn’t really free. But if that is commonly accepted, why not extend that a bit?
Another contentious topic is health insurance. People don’t want universal health care like Canada has, because they don’t want to pay for other people. Yes, I’ve literally seen this argument. Nevermind that your insurance premiums are ALREADY paying to help cover the costs of health care for others. I really don’t understand this argument. If we are in a position as a society to recognize that everybody should be taken care of, and nobody should suffer because they are sick, why are some against making a small sacrifice?
People also like to pull out the, “I don’t want to pay for some slutty girl’s poor choices” including birth control and abortions. Y’all realize that, again, your current insurance premiums already help pay for my birth control? That aside, why do you feel like you get to pick and choose who you help?
I’ve also seen quibbling over the Women’s March in late January. Older women speaking up and saying that they, “don’t feel oppressed.” Congratulations. Now take a look at some other women’s lives and see how they ARE oppressed. Yes, we all have it better than we did 50, 75 years ago, but it could STILL BE BETTER.
People are suffering. They are struggling to make ends meet. They are fighting to be seen as equals. If you can help, even a little bit, why wouldn’t you? Why are people so selfish?
I firmly believe that as adults, we should be working to make the world a better place for the next generation. And part of that is giving them opportunities that weren’t available. I don’t begrudge people for being born later than I was. I don’t see a need to be stuck in the past, and “do things the way they’ve always been done.”
Let’s move forward. Part of life is striving to be a better person, solving problems, and answering our own personal questions about the nature of life, the universe, and everything. Let’s not stagnate just because your bubble seems ok right now, and you are adverse to change…