Trash Day Is Overdue: Why We Should Acknowledge That Our Problems Aren't New
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Politics and Activism

Trash Day Is Overdue: Why We Should Acknowledge That Our Problems Aren't New

They're just new to us.

Trash Day Is Overdue: Why We Should Acknowledge That Our Problems Aren't New

The world is not getting worse.

In light of everything that has happened lately, that may be hard to believe, but it may be easier if you think of it in terms of something simple: a trash chute.

If you have ever lived in a multi-level space, then it’s a concept that you’re probably familiar with. Even if you aren’t familiar, though, it’s a pretty straightforward concept: there’s a small room where you take all of your trash so that you can put it down the trash chute (a long, metal tube) to get rid of it.

I have lived in two different apartments with trash chutes, but there was one important difference between the two: one trash chute was inside and the other was outside in the parking garage.

With the inside chute, people were diligent in making sure that they actually disposed of the bags properly because there was a mutual understanding that if they left the trash out then they (and all of their neighbors) would suffer as a result.

With the outside chute, however, it was common for people to simply leave their rotting garbage on the ground rather than actually put their garbage away correctly because the trash chute was out of the way, so people could easily ignore it until the room finally overflowed with trash and attracted rats and bugs.

This is exactly what the American populace is experiencing: the trash is finally beginning to overflow.

Recently, timelines and Twitter feeds have exploded with news about racial prejudice (and those who somehow convince themselves that it doesn’t exist), terror attacks, and even military coups. With it all happening in such a short period of time, there are many people who are beginning to feel as if the world is crumbling around them, but this is a counter-productive outlook.

Besides the lack of truth in this idea (violent crime has decreased significantly and consistently with time), succumbing to fear also ensures that we miss an opportunity for real growth. Just like in other times when the status quo was disturbed in a big way, the only real change was that those who had been privileged enough to ignore it no longer could.

Harvey Milk and other members of the LGBTAQ+ community did not suddenly decide that they were being persecuted, they just gained the platform to finally attract greater national attention.

Tensions between law enforcement and the black community did not suddenly begin with Trayvon Martin, but the national coverage of the case made it a reality in the homes of people all across America.

Terrorism did not begin on 9/11. The use of force to try to gain power has existed since civilization has existed and will (unfortunately) continue to be utilized by the powerless as they try to build themselves up by tearing others down.

What can be done?

Acknowledging the issues is a good step, but the step that must follow is to use the power of our voices to hold our leaders accountable, both locally and nationally, for continuously making progress. In short, we have to take out the trash.

We can’t get there until we’re all finally ready to acknowledge that the trash has been festering for years and that it truly is affecting all of us.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the smell.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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