The Paradox in the United States: Funding for Education

By Austin B. Hahn

I find the inner conflict between human beings’ needs and wants to be subtly amusing.

Marijuana is now legal in Oregon, the state that I live in, but a measure supporting education didn’t pass in the 2014 general election. I don’t have to cite a statistic to pinpoint the frustrations of young people in higher education today. It’s been talked about, it’s been written in newspaper articles, and it’s been reported on the news. If you’re unaware of the economic and personal burden that college debt imposes, then you have no one to blame but your own ignorance, especially since we’re in the information era.

Getting back to my point, I find it rather pitiful, but psychologically intriguing at the same time, that Oregonian voters would rather pass a ballot measure for marijuana than one supporting education.

I can’t help but wonder why. Are there that many people who feel so compelled to smoke cannabis that they would contend that making education accessible to our youth as a way to invest in our nation’s future is subjective? If so, I would ask, “What would you propose then?” The United States cannot continue to rest on its laurels and pretend that it’s living in the glory days of the industrial age. What’s more, take a look around. As a young adult, I have seen the United States transition from newspapers, cashiers, manufacturing, books, and receptionists to online periodicals, self-checkout machines, engineering, e-books, and automated voice message systems. What was once appropriate for a previous generation is no longer appropriate for today’s generation. How can the United States expect to adjust and keep up with the technological advancements when we don’t support funding for education?

U.S. Americans want to see their country get out of debt and economically prosper; however, they don’t want to implement policies that would benefit the collective whole that might come at their personal expense. Similarly, Oregonians would like schooling to be more affordable, but they would rather smoke their marijuana first.

What is our nation to do in the struggle between individualistic desires and the current sociological context that calls for more collectivistic action? When will we wake the fuck up and realize that the only way to insure the future of our country is through education? We must adopt making education affordable for all citizens into our value system. Until then, we cannot consider our people to be competent in the global market when our education is only accessible to a wealthy minority.

(A response I made after someone reblogged and added a comment to my post):

There might have been a misinterpretation of my point. I’m saying that most people in the U.S. would like education to be more affordable and accessible to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status. However, there are people that don’t want to make it happen if it comes at their personal expense.

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