Author: Laura Bowen
Many comparisons have been made between our current economic crisis and that of the Great Depression. The images of the Depression – hundreds of people waiting in line for food rations, investors committing suicide by jumping out of buildings – were so foreboding that it always seemed to be presented as a situation that was a blip in American history. A crisis of this magnitude was something that our country would never face again.
Why then, are people not more concerned about the possibility that this could happen again?
One reason could be yesterday’s Presidential election, leading many people to believe that with a new leader, Barack Obama, in the Oval Office, things will simply just change.
Further, for the past eight years of the Bush administration, America has been bombarded with information telling us of the huge costs of war and the negative economic effects it will undoubtedly yield. But just like the Iraq War, the ramifications of the economic crisis have yet to affect our domestic lives on a distinctly tangible scale. Yes, there are foreclosures and rising unemployment, as we have seen on the news. But with the amount of information we have available, a constant influx of such news has made us numb to these issues.
The downfall of American corporations, as well, could just be viewed as another inevitable effect of globalization. While this could be true, it is also a very easy stance to take on the situation. Were this a warning sign to us that something needs to change, it would be difficult to convince the American people that they need to take action.
As a country we are extremely over-indulged and over-protected from hardships. I used to believe that this was only the case when it came to situations abroad, like the Iraq War, in which we were not the location of the problem. Yes, we experienced the tragedy of 9/11, but rather than deal with the problem at home, we sent our issues abroad where we would not need to face them. However, now that we have a domestic crisis, it is clear that is going to take drastic measures for the American people to take notice and to actively be interested in our future.
I am not saying that no one realizes what is going on, or that no one is worried, but it seems that this concern is only on the surface. In every aspect of life, we tend to have a barrier between the problem, and ourselves as if we are just spectators. And even if we are personally affected by something, significant changes don’t seem plausible because we are so convinced that change will occur by electing a new president, or by giving the situation time to resolve itself. We have yet to realize how exactly our actions affect our country and the rest of the world.
I am not sure whether this barrier was self-created, or aided by the media or the government, but I think that unless we are able to knock down this barrier, and realize that we are active members of the global community, we may end up like our grandparents, harboring Depression-era tactics for the rest of our lives.
Laura Bowen is an undeclared sophomore. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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