Western Courier

US should provide free college

Joshua Defibaugh

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With the holidays fast approaching, it is important to remember that in order to show how much we love the ones around us, it depends on what we buy for them, right? That is what we are told to believe in America. We are led to believe that the people around us will only love us if we buy them expensive gifts. We are led to believe that we are only worthy if we wear the latest fashion trends to holiday parties. We are led to believe that we are only beautiful if we cover our flaws with concealer and contour. American society has become a corporatocracy. We allow companies to dictate what is considered valuable instead of making that decision for ourselves.

We toss the “handmade with love” gifts aside and go for the most expensive and flashiest gifts we can’t really afford. Because if we go broke showing someone how much we love them, then that must mean we truly love that person. Why did we allow ourselves to become entrapped in this vicious cycle of thinking? When did we allow corporations to control us so much? We wait outside for hours and hours in the freezing cold for the hottest new item on the market. We literally fight people to get these items. These are material items that prove how we are worthy only if we have them: the newest iPhone, the newest shoes and the best electronics. When did we stop thinking about how we are worthy based on our actions, not by the things we own? We have become branded in a never-ending cycle: getting a job to buy things that will only be relevant for two months, and then going broke trying to have those items so we stay at a job that we hate so we can keep buying the newest item because that item makes us, or the ones we love, happy.

We are a generation that can’t seem to get away from this cycle. We can’t seem to bring ourselves to start making things for the ones we love. We don’t want them to think we didn’t do the very best we could for them this holiday season. We don’t want to seem like we don’t care about them. We have allowed ourselves to be cast aside as humans and taken over by what items are considered the best, because that is how we show we care, by sacrificing our happiness for “things.” A lot of people do not like their jobs, but they want the expensive things. Yet, they have to work twice as much, and then they don’t get to really enjoy the expensive things they worked so hard to obtain.

The American people are consumers. It is instilled in our minds ever since we are born. Our babies have to wear name brand, even though they will ruin it the first time they wear it. We are held by the confines of consumer loyalty. We let that loyalty define who we are based on what we own and what we give others, especially during the holiday season. Most people go broke this time of year. We have forgotten that it is not the gifts we buy for one another that proves we love them, it is the fact we are there with them. We share dinner, we tell stories, and those are the moments that matter. We have lost that somewhere along the way, and we have to remember that we should not be defined by soon-to-be irrelevant items, but by our actions of kindness and caring for one another.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
US should provide free college