Together, We Make One Superman

Flickr / Glyn Lowe
Flickr / Glyn Lowe

Contrary to some beliefs, America doesn’t run on Dunkin, America runs on cold hard cash. Taxes are only a signifier what America values most. If you don’t believe me check this out. As it is now, job creators are the most important people in America. Now, I implore you as the reader to try to receive clearly what I write to you. I am not Republican, I am not Democrat, I am a 26-year-old New Yorker who’s tired of responses to reactions and not actions.

So when I write, “job creators are the most important people in America” I am observing this within the confines of America’s capitalist structure. Imagine the amount of tax breaks as a merit in a game. It’s clear which group wins. Job creators, in my opinion, ARE important but they are not the ONLY important aspect of our economy. Please keep in mind, we are a nation that survives on consumption and poorer folks tend to spend more money so how can they not ALSO be important?

I attended both Phillips Exeter Academy and Urban Academy located in NYC. Both institutions offered me invaluable experiences. Both schools had assemblies and close meet and greets between students and professionals in the height of their fields. This was not only inspiring but it also showed me the diverse possibilities out there in the working world. While these people came by my high schools, not many other American students receive that luxury. Now, I read about the daily updates on people murdered by police and I go through the comments and I’m disgusted.

On both sides of the argument, it is clear that there is a wide lack of knowledge when it comes to our American history, yet, people ON BOTH SIDES have no problems commenting without a good historical foundation. Everyone seems to have an opinion but without a breadth of real knowledge beyond received, not researched, statistics and historical inaccuracies, how can one dare to develop a solution? After reading through all these articles and comments, I’ve realized we need education now more than ever. US budget doesn’t seem to think so, but I do. I am writing this article in hopes to encourage folks to continue learning even when no longer in school and to contribute to the betterment of this country and ourselves. Do America, the world, and me a favor by learning about your fellow man and his or her past, not by news reports about him alone, but by real and respectful conversations directly addressed to the person/people you’re unfamiliar with.

I think it’s time that we as young people or just persons exhausted by the status quo, step up, single out the issues at the root and deal with them. I said it. STEP UP! Start thinking about solutions to these issues you post about on Facebook instead of just posting with the feeling of shock. Shock doesn’t save lives. Shock doesn’t break a cycle on it’s own. We need to be making ourselves open to, not only, teaching others about our experiences, but LISTENING to others’ experiences.

What I’ve come to realize, is that we have lost crucial time, minds, and lives in our inability to embolden our youth and show them that they are not powerless. Throughout my time at Wesleyan University, I had to face up to the fact that something was happening. Every year of my time at that school, someone died; many were suicides. Suicide is also a signifier, not only of a loss of hope but also a loss of perceived power. This country’s youth is suffering so I am asking you to give us, the youth, the “lazy” millennials, the chance to rewrite the wrongs this country has laid out before us. We must also rewrite the wrongs and misconceptions that we may have contributed ourselves as well!

When President Obama came to Wesleyan in 2008, he was Senator Barack Obama. Senator Barack Obama got to me and I kind of didn’t like it. Studying Economics in hopes of getting a job in i-banking, with my only focus on making “TONS” of money, I listened to him as HE said:

“At a time when there are children in the city of New Orleans who still spend each night in a lonely trailer, we need more of you to take a weekend or a week off from work, and head down South, and help rebuild. If you can’t get the time, volunteer at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your own communities, because there’s more than enough work to go around. Find an organization that’s fighting poverty, or a candidate who promotes policies you believe in, and find a way to help them. We need you.”

He DOES need us! But let’s look at the other people/actions he “needs”. He REALLY needs soldiers (this is not my personal opinion, the US budget allocations make it clear to me that soldiers are high on the totem pole of concern due to the $618.7 billion spent on the military), job creating 1% (received bail outs and continued tax breaks), family growth, and charity. All of these are stamped with a seal of approval through tax breaks.

Flickr / Mirasha
Flickr / Mirasha

So now I’m re-reading Obama’s 2008 commencement speech and I’m thinking, “He’s right!” I benefitted from these professionals coming into my life and sharing their experiences but that’s not common across the country. Why can’t we just do it ourselves? Why can’t we as young/sickntireds go out there and do things like offer ourselves as free tutors, share our work experience, teach a guitar lesson, etc? At this point, I start thinking that’s too naïve and not inclusive enough.

There are thousands of new young professionals in New York, while most of them are assumed to come from money and could very well be encouraged to tutor a child for free after school or talk to children about their work experience, a) there is no short-term incentive and b) this option becomes impossible for young professionals who, arguably, would be more likely to want to contribute but could not afford to focus their time on anything but surviving paycheck to paycheck. So I’ve signed up with this old idea for giving back. When I started to look for incentives to give potential volunteers a push, I started looking for tax breaks for volunteers who’ve worked a certain amount of hours within the community. Time is supposed to be money, I thought, but I FOUND NOTHING pertaining to tax breaks for hours worked within the community.

So let’s think about this: Pippa LaCroix (tried to pick a rich sounding name) can donate $1 billion dollars to charity and receive tax breaks but the people who put Pippa’s money to action, which allows her to feel all fuzzy inside, get nothing. I don’t care which side you, as the reader, fall upon but you must admit that that’s a little shady and one-sided.

While I’m tired of the US government, I’m tired of Democrats and Republicans alike, I am still reaching out to the Obama administration because he, in part, helped me continue on this path of social responsibility and I’m not tired of that. I thank him for his influence. Now I want him show me some influence. Can Obama stick to what Obama thinks is important? Because while he’s in DC/flying about the world feeding Fox News and CNN, I’m in New York trying to think of ways to pick up the slack of the US and local government. There are major problems in this country, education is a HUGE ONE, and it is met with $140.9 billion, which in comparison to defense’s $618.7 billion, is a JOKE.

I know Obama’s administration raised the amount of money in education (we can see a distinct rise from 2006 with education at $93.24 billion) but we don’t need a treatment, we need a cure; it simply isn’t enough, especially, while ignorance is LITERALLY killing us. They say “if you build it, they will come,” so according to the budget, I imagine in 20 years most US citizens will be soldiers, job creators, or forgotten AND all of 3 groups would, by in large, still be stupid (140.9 billion on education). If we can’t depend on local government to provide us with good teachers and a good curriculum, I have no qualms about hitting the streets and tutoring children myself for free. Problem is, I am not an octopus, I need family/friends/coworkers to help me get this done. They need an incentive.

All I ask is that President Obama helps to elucidate the importance of realizing the power we have as Americans and, more importantly, human beings by offering tax credits to those who volunteer and incentivize those who normally don’t or simply can’t. I’m asking for help from Obama’s administration and from you. YES, YOU!! Together we can remind America that we are powerful and we can engage in actions to make ourselves happy….with a little push.

I, like, everyone else on the web am asking you for something; It’s not money, it’s support. I drafted this petition and was kind of surprised by how few “outraged” friends neglected to sign it, so I wrote this article in hopes of getting it out there. Please sign if you agree or leave me some critiques as to why you think this won’t work. I’m critical of myself more than anyone else and I know this needs work so sign or help me make it a petition worthy of your signature. I have until April 2nd to make this thing pop so your comments would be appreciated sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your time,
Dionne Anderson. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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