Unlike what Donald Trump seems to think, America is great; it is our freedoms and diversity that make it so. But who has a say in how the country is governed? The government? The people? How is the group in power supposed to determine which values are going to be emphasized in their system?
Not everyone lives by the same set of morals, if they exercise any at all. But right now, the group “in power” seems to be the corporations, and their golden rule has begun to bleed into many aspects of our lives; we have welcomed it.
The system that has fostered this shift in power is called Capitalism. In its prime (used to boost war-torn economies in the late 19th, early 20th century), a system in which production was dependent upon private owners made sense — the market needed to become responsible for its own rate of production. But it has since gone unchecked and is proving to be an unsustainable system.
We see its effects throughout our day-to-day life, where we are subject to millions of advertisements a day and encouraged to recycle to make up for the detriment we have caused our home planet. We have fallen prey to businesses like McDonald’s who sell us products that harm us and cause us to purchase more products (like type 2 diabetes medication) that reduce the damage.
Within our capitalist economy, the most emphasized value is that of the impersonal “profit motive”. It is valuable to consume, to keep up with fashion trends and new products (“You didn’t buy me something for Valentine’s Day? We’re through…”). Within this mindset, there is always a winner and a loser; for one to gain it must be at the expense of the exploited other. This is the fuel that drives Capitalism; humans, the Earth, just about everything becomes commodified (made to be something you can own… think of Tinder and casually swiping through the selection of potential partners!). We have sold our planet to the point that our human activities are undermining that planet’s natural ability to compensate for them, and this is something that affects all of us.
A common objection to socialism and a pro-capitalist argument is to say that some do deserve more than others because of how much effort they are putting in to work and earn a living. The twist is, however, that the system in place makes it infinitely harder for many of us to earn a living to begin with. The concept of what someone “deserves” changes once it is considered within the context of a system that is rigged against certain people — those who are disabled, mentally ill, have a certain skin color or background, etc. Many people can’t just go out and “get a job” as easily as their peers.
So along comes Bernie Sanders. He becomes a hit with millennials (yes, you and I) because of his unique views and support for the underdog. He calls himself a Democratic-Socialist because he believes that wealth should be spread equally, and not confined to a select few, and that all people should have a say in the way they are governed. Doesn’t sound so bad, doesn’t it?
Then there’s Donald Trump, who comes in with his extensive knowledge of the business world and believes he can make America great again. Well, let me ask you, America: what is so wrong with America as it is? Who has made it that way? And who wants to change that? Or will they simple cause things to escalate?
Ultimately, WE are the root of the system in place; as consumers and voters, as well as those who created the system itself — it is up to us to re-evaluate our circumstances and express ourselves for our own benefit and that of our worldly neighbors.