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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Let's embrace America's spirit of independence

Lacking my iPod that I had left behind the last time I was home, I was much more perceptive of my surroundings on my walk home from work on a typically frigid January evening this past week. This heightened level of auditory and visual awareness took my mind away from its normal daydream instead to the attention of a woman. She was pushing a high stack of blue soda containers via cart on the sidewalk outside of the Equinox. Seeing that she was struggling to push the top-heavy cart over a raised slab of concrete, I asked her if I could be of any assistance. Her reply was one of self-determination.

""I've got it. This is my job,"" she said looking into my eyes with a kind smile of appreciation. Taking no offense, I began to ponder the persevering nature of her response, and couldn't help but smile. That is America, land of the free, home of the brave: do-it-yourself.

This approach to one's job, one's life, to do-it-yourself, is a well-represented embodiment of the American dream. It is one that draws completely on the advantages of capitalism; it is one that takes the concept of individual liberty and pushes it to its limit. The ease of our ability to create our own financial well being through entrepreneurial endeavor is simply unparalleled in the other countries of the western world, even globally.

Observing the relative failure of the baby-boom generation and its cling to the corporate structure as seemingly the best way of approaching a career, I argue that we must distance ourselves from the proclivity to jump into such a scenario so that we do not end up in the same position. As if the burden of this immense chunk of our population and its weight of social security and welfare responsibilities were not enough for our generation to deal with, we now have the added pressure of a job market with rapidly closing doors. And those same baby boomers, already in the inevitable position of leaving us with their debt, have now sugarcoated the deal by having roughly half of their investments, savings, and retirement funds wiped out by the ""Great Recession.""

This means that most will have to add several years to their time in the workforce just to supplement the overwhelming deprivation of their retirement plans, their financial position. So, where does this leave us now? Well, the availability of even entry-level jobs has decreased dramatically as more and more men and women are settling for inferior positions. This is sure to progress into problems of our generation's upward travels along the corporate ladder and a foggy outlook of the future prosperity of our middle class.

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We can overcome this. How can a generation transcend the boundaries of society, to revolutionize if there are not immense challenges and obstacles standing tall, waiting around the corner? We must be tested in order to truly shine, and I think this difficult and uncertain future will do just that: force us to rise above the expected, the ordinary, the certain. We can overcome this by returning to our revolutionary roots and exploiting the opportunities provided by the bountiful fruit that is capitalism. We can do something we love, we can be socially responsible and we can make the world a better place if we return to the philosophy that small business is the answer. The gap between the wealthy and the poor will narrow; the middle class will grow and rise to prominence once again with the abandonment of our reliance on big business and its insecure promise of middle management positions in the corporate world.

Why not build companies based on the principles we so strongly believe in? Instead of watching and listening to political commentary as if we were churchgoers, why not bypass the slow-moving and unreliable political system and create our own agendas through active economic participation? Job creation? Let's build small empires that crutch the crippled legs of working America, not succumb to the large ones that suffocate it.

This basic economic opportunity provided by capitalism is what still makes this country unsurpassed in its greatness. We can no longer turn to big business for the answers; they have failed us. We can no longer turn to big government, for in its intentions are rooted in at least the intent of humanitarianism, we can see how, even with such an inspiring orator as our president and a majority stronghold of Congress by his respective party, justice waits impatiently for its number to be called. We must instead turn to the mirror, look at ourselves deeply and at length, and courageously step out into the precarious world; we must make it on our own. America, do it yourself.

Cole Wenzel is a junior majoring in English and economics. We welcome all feedback. Please send all responses to opinion@dailycardinal.com. 

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