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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    The Broken Glass

    In this decadent country, overflowing with alleged opportunities and unrivaled splendor, one realizes that things are not always as they seem. This fine society has been at war with itself for quite sometime. However, this is not acknowledged and in all actuality, it is swept into the dustbin of history. This fierce battle has taken many forms. There have been vast casualties, and the innocent are rarely spared. They are dragged, reluctantly, right to the front lines without even realizing it and they suffer the same fate as the armed combatants.

    This battle is being waged by the powerful on the general population. The elite offer many options to the population. The society is offered a helping of liberty and democracy, with an overabundance of poverty and despair. They offer the public and the world in general a mouthful of equality served eloquently from a Wal-Mart shopping aisle. They have even altered the models to fit specific regions, continents, ethnic groups, and classes.

    Latin America was rewarded with the neo-liberal model while the Middle East was granted the boots-on-the-ground model. Africa was given the model of extreme neglect and abandonment while Europe could have a taste of competition. Domestically consumption, poverty, corruption, and aggressive competition seemed to suffice. They have told the world and their own citizenry that either the glass is half full or half empty; pick your choice and accept it.

    Yet, there is a domestic combatant force that has emerged in the last few decades and it is warring with the establishment and the general population as well. This group isn’t quite easily defined (well neither is the first group), but it consists of a vast array of counter-cultural movements, organizations, and individuals.

    We should all remember in 1999 when the anarchist movement had effectively ruined the WTO meeting in Seattle. That may be merely a prelude to the ‘clash of civilizations’ domestically: corporate greed against citizen participation. During that same year we should also remember the Columbine massacre. However, I doubt people realize that from 1998 till 2006 there were at least 29 school shootings in America.

    People do realize the endless gang related violence plaguing the inner cities. This violence has also reached astonishing levels to which almost anyone living in certain cities may fall prey. According to the FBI, in 2005 there were 1.4 million violent crimes, yet we can be certain that not all of the crimes were recorded or reported. In 1997 alone, there were 18,209 murders and this was recorded as an achievement.

    Activist and author Tim Wise remarked, ‘What affects the urban ‘ghetto’ today will be coming to a Wal-Mart near you tomorrow, and unless you address the emptiness, pain, isolation and lack of hope felt by children of color and the poor, then don’t be shocked when the support systems aren’t there for your kids either.’ We see that coming to fruition at a rapid pace and the citizens don’t even seem to realize it.

    The youth of this nation are in an active revolt against society as a whole. In the inner cities the clich’eacute;s hold some truth; there is a lack of family structure and people have become hopeless. People seek immediate gratification, don’t plan for the future, and continue to have children while their lives are unstable. This leads to the situation we have today. In the suburbs, people have become so alienated from each other and isolated from the greater society that’ the youth don’t quite understand where they fit in. They struggle to rebel against everything and everyone, which leads to further Columbines, drug addiction, and other forms of violence. In turn, both groups have received a half empty glass regardless of socio-economic standings.

    Nationally and internationally, people are revolting against these models. Internationally, it appears, that people are quite aware of what it is they are revolting against. Different societies have distinct cultures; they have pride, and a heritage they can embrace. They can also compare the Wal-Martization of their societies with their past and choose which is better.

    Domestically people don’t seem quite as fortunate. They are stuck with a dead culture. They are stimulated by greed and consumerism. McDonalds, the latest purse, or drunken vacations are what they yearn for. Yet, there are those who are rebelling. The overall population just doesn’t seem quite sure of what they are actually rebelling against. The youth has been offered the same options: the same models. Either the glass will be half full or half empty. Nevertheless, we can all remain with a small sliver of hope because some realize this is a trap. The youth’ are offered this cup. Some of them take a quick drink, some’ destroy the cup, and others’ search for the spigot.

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