Home for the Holidays
Last week on my way home from Manhattan, a homeless Vietnam veteran sang “My Girl” for me on the subway after I gave him a dollar. Today as I rode home, a group of African American teenagers were break-dancing to a remix of a Soviet solidarity anthem as the Russian women on the train tried to hide their giggling. Although I would have loved to see a decrease in the number of people soliciting on the subway (and the number of homeless people), it was a nice welcome back.
It’s also good to see a bunch of new construction projects underway, from progressive growth of the Freedom Towers to revitalization of the Hudson Yards and [finally] more progress on subway expansion throughout Manhattan.
Yet, as much as my adopted hometown of NYC is flourishing, the larger picture of the US looks bleak. Whereas my friends and I have joked since we were kids that we’d want to live in exotic foreign countries after college, it’s now almost a reality. Our collective outlook on the political situation is dismal at best; what’s the point of a democracy if there’s nobody worth electing for office? Obama lost his identity after NDAA FY 2012, his mutant insurance system (instated via the Affordable Care Act), and now SOPA. Ron Paul, while the least air-headed person on the Republican side, is still highly ignorant on issues related to climate change and abortion (such as his Sanctity of Life bill). Regardless of who will win the 2012 presidential election, we as citizens are headed for a downhill battle if the status quo continues. Except now, unlike in our more naive teenage years, we understand that we have no place to run to, for every country has its problems and entropy must take its course.