(Image courtesy of Thomas Ashlock)
Arnold O. Beckman High School

Opinion: The United States has fallen ill

It is June, and it is a period of relief for students who are subjected to nine-month school years. The conclusion of tests and classes is supposed to freshen the air in the lungs of students like myself. And yet, it would be virtually impossible for me — and many of my peers — to feel more suffocated.

In the passing months, I have turned from an enthusiastic news follower to someone who is afraid to use her phone. My classrooms are now colosseums for people to fight to the death over opinions absent of fact. I find myself curling up into a hapless ball in my desk, silent in terror of being burned at the stake. It feels as if a shooting occurs every time I blink, as if another abominable action ignites outrage every hour — and all students do is yell at each other without taking real action.

As an American-born, I am ashamed of myself. The bitter irony is that we Americans are lucky to live in a democracy, but in times of turbulence, violence, and impending issues yet to be discussed, I find myself shutting up and hiding from it all.

However, now more than ever, we need opinions that make sense, and we must act upon them correctly. This is a time where horrors like “consensual rape” and deluded ideas such as “rising CO2 levels aren’t dangerous” are put forth into the media. Thus, there is a low bar for what makes sense, which is why I have elected to speak freely right now despite my classroom behavior.

No matter what you might think, this is not an opinion article nor a partisan argument. This is a wakeup call and a plea from an American to the rest of her country.

Dear Americans, our country has fallen ill — we are sick with ignorance, delusion, corruption, and unsolvable problems that have yet to be addressed. We quote, “People are dying, Kim!” on Twitter and then return to our first-world bubbles when the statement is actually true in our own country. I am certain you have seen the horrifying news articles on your Instagram feeds, but have you internalized it?

Sure, we cannot solve our gun problems, abortion controversies, or border HR issues right at our desks. However, there is one thing we can do: not shut up to our country.

Do not fear seeming too “liberal” with whatever action you take, because in this state of chaos, there is no such thing as partisan action anymore. For example: I myself am a centrist, but the other day, I was so overcome with rage and disgust at my country that I called the Missouri representative offices and demanded blocking action regarding their latest abortion bill.

If you don’t agree with what I did, that’s fine. But the premise of what I’m asking you to do is this: think about your opinions. How do they affect others? Do you think they are logical and applicable to an entire nation? Will hypothetically implementing your opinions in our country’s statutes help reduce the ignorance-driven pandemonium that diseases us today? If so, speak up — not to students whose opinions differ from yours, but to our representatives. On writing mediums like the one I’m using. With any way you can that can reach others.

Because, for the sake of myself and for the United States, we need all the help we can get.