Dear Baby Boomers (and United States Government),
You are making me kill myself.
Sorry, let me rephrase that—
Your continued perpetuation of legislation and ideologies that benefit the wealthy and disregard the poor have structured a society in which its youth cannot possibly achieve the quality of life of those who came before them, leading to their eventual collapse and ultimate expiration.
I’ve suffered with depression for many years. I don’t take medication for it. Don’t get me wrong—I think depression medication is important, beneficial, and often necessary for people with the biologic need for it. But my depression isn’t caused by a hormonal imbalance, or a psychological disorder—it’s entirely situational. It’s been systematically cultivated by a selfish society looking only to their present, without regard for its future (not only financially, but environmentally—by ignoring REALITIES like climate change and lead contamination). I wake up daily with exhaustion, wondering how I’m going to find a way to live another day with purpose in a world that was handed to me broken. A world that has perfectly designed a trap to keep those who came before, earning increasingly more—and those who are to inherit the world from them, unable to earn enough for themselves.
Depression has in recent years been determined to be a systemic disease that affects the entire body—not just the mind. Being depressed for a long period of time causes a significantly increased risk of developing other health problems and body failures, including cancer. http://www.neuroscientistnews.com/clinical-updates/depression-more-mental-disorder-it-affects-whole-organism What’s more, with the way United States health care is structured, once a person is struck down by a malady requiring expensive medical care, his or her options are frequently to either 1.) accrue unaffordable medical bills to the point of bankruptcy and rest-of-life ruination, or 2.) die.
The truth is, being born poor and having to fight for even the most basic of needs is causing the emotional suffering and eventual death of the overwhelming majority of this country’s people—and there’s no medication to fix that imbalance.
So I have the choice to either 1.) medicate myself (i.e. numb myself) to feel artificially less depressed about the situation this world has placed me and millions of people like me in, or 2.) live (and emotionally suffer) with the reality of it all, putting myself at risk for future health problems, existing in complete awareness of it, feeling the full emotional impact, fighting against it and hoping that with enough collective effort and genuine care for the well-being of others, we can turn this situation around.
And, like I’ve always chosen, and will always choose to do, I choose the latter: a reality uninfluenced by any mood-altering substance, no matter the emotional burden or consequence. Why should I be forced to change or insulate myself against the structure of the world, when it’s the structure that’s the problem—and it’s the structure that should be changed? Shouldn’t we try to make this world better instead of just coping with the mess that it is? Given everything I’ve previously outlined, such a choice seems almost suicidal. But I don’t see it as a choice at all—not as the person I am, with the beliefs that I hold.
Thus, in such a way: you are making me choose to kill myself.
I’m definitely not saying the intentions of your generation or this governing body, as a whole, were entirely malicious, or your actions were explicitly to oppress your progeny’s future (though I have zero doubt that the intentions and actions of specific individuals within the government and society absolutely were, and continue to be, exactly this)—but now that you’re aware these things are happening, choosing to not do anything about them nullifies any debate about intention. The outcome is exactly the same.
I didn’t write this to be an endorsement for a political candidate—but there’s no point in railing against the state of things if I don’t put forward some course of action for changing it, at least in this country. And really, there’s only one candidate running for President of the United States who has promised to do anything about these problems: Bernie Sanders.
*gasp* “But isn’t he that socialist?!!” *sigh* Look, if that’s your line of thinking, just read this before you say something embarrassing, then come back here: http://ilikeberniebut.com/
I know the President alone can’t make policy or change everything that’s preventing future generations from achieving the success of the previous ones. That’s Congress’s fault (and why you shouldn’t vote for incumbents perpetuating these policies, or vote in newcomers who will invent more of the same—SHOW UP FOR MIDTERM ELECTIONS, PEOPLE). But Bernie is the ONLY candidate running who hasn’t taken money from Wall Street, big banks, giant corporations, or abhorrently wealthy CEOs, the ONLY candidate who wants to stop these kinds of people from buying elections and take them to task for rigging and trashing the economy, and the ONLY candidate who has a real plan for making college and health care truly affordable for poor and middle-class Americans and giving them the quality of life they deserve. He may not be able to do it all on his own (which is why, again, PLEASE vote in midterm congressional elections), but preserving this broken status quo by electing Hilary or exacerbating it with ANY of the Republican candidates is not a step toward making a sustainable future for this country.
And if you don’t give a shit about any of that, how about this: you want those grandkids you’re always pestering your kids to give you? Not gonna happen until you can create a societal structure in which they can not only afford to support themselves, but can also afford to raise children. So, to echo the guitarist I saw on stage at a concert this weekend, “Vote for Bernie Sanders, would ya?”—or your family line is dying with us.
_ _ _ _ _
I don’t just want to live—I want to be happy. In this country, we’re guaranteed only the pursuit of happiness; and, as things are now structured, it’s only the pursuit we’ll ever achieve: struggling to survive, while we chase a promise impossible to fulfill.
We don’t want the world handed to us on a silver platter. We just want the chance to live for something more than a daily struggle to survive—the same chance you gave yourselves.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask.