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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A treatise on America

America will soon be defeated by the canyons of societal division that set us apart from other so-called Western countries, in that an increasingly larger size of our society is forced to live in corrosive conditions ensuring their failure in having a productive life.

The basest of fears that stem from simple differences in the color of skin, exacerbated by differences of economic class, threaten to turn what has thus far been the greatest country yet seen in history into a quivering mass of a few haves, and many have-nots.

Living in the economic canyons of Trenton makes this truth more than apparent.

Small pockets of economic prosperity that come from outside economic opportunities and a blind hope for the goodness of mankind lead the minority of Trenton's residents to live, work, and play here, despite overwhelming pressures in surrounding areas of the city that demonstrate some sort of futility that seems almost insurmountable.

Yet the lesson of Trenton and its greater Mercer County environment can only serve to educate this region, and better yet this country, about the problems that must be solved in order for the legacy of America to continue.

This country was founded on the loftiest of ideals, yet the reality of the nation confronts us in the most salient of ways.

We live day after day as residents of a New Jersey county that is one of the most affluent in the entire country, but even more so as residents of a city that boasts a massive abyss of poverty, broken promises, and broken dreams.

Someone living in Princeton Borough or Hopewell Township complains of massive property tax levies, yet the same person does not acknowledge that decisions that lead to great disparities in wealth and opportunity seemingly for the safety of one's own livelihood also result in segregated economic living.

These same forces mean that while the other half lives in such a horrible reality, the other, more prosperous half is left picking up the tab, in state aid that has implications in both municipal and education funding.

Trenton has one of the highest municipal tax rates in the county, yet much of the city's bill for standard services is paid for by state aid coming from outside municipalities.

The same goes for the education system, where Trenton students get some of the highest per-pupil aid amount spent upon them, yet these same students fare the worst according to many educational indicators, including both graduation rates and the rate of subject proficiency attained.

It seems that only when those living outside Trenton's borders accept that the problems associated with leaving a massive urban cauldron of problems stewing for so long affect them regardless of the breadth of their borders or the distance from the city itself, will the plight of Trenton and other cities be relieved.

Further, the fact that those making up American society seem to be willing to allow a large and growing section of its economic workforce live in such horrendous conditions out of fear seems to spell imminent doom for this great nation, unless it is willing to cast aside the shackles of fear and difference for a national unity and common effort towards our greater, national good.


Irving Bertrand Clean said...

I'm gonna take off my sarcastic wise-ass hat for a minute. Enjoy it while it lasts.

I don't always agree 100% with every single word you write, but among a continuous supply of thought-provoking writings, this one continues to resonate with me.

You said "...increasingly larger size of our society is forced to live in corrosive conditions ensuring their failure in having a productive life."

Another man might say "... an increasingly larger size of our society fails to have a productive life, ensuring that it continues to live in corrosive conditions."

I would then say that you're BOTH right.

This piece was sobering and angering. Because it's true.

Who has the answers? How on Earth does this ever get fixed? Pardon the "man on the moon" cliche, but... we could do THAT, but we can't do THIS?

I'm at a loss. Thanks for putting this out there.

Greg Forester said...