July 17, 2019 | 92° F

WANG: America has become its very own parody

Opinions Column: A Third Person Perspective


Our constant push-and-pull games regarding stricter gun control laws or the lack of desire to relinquish our right to bear arms has made our country the biggest possible parody of itself. With students facing potential disciplinary actions by staging walkouts because of their fear of becoming sitting ducks in a classroom in a world of assault rifles — when will it end? 

Our entire country suffers a divide: those who fear that the accessibility of guns is killing children, and those who believe the implementation of gun control is tyrannous and unconstitutional. While the country is incapable of reaching a middle ground, this reiteration of issues that should have been solved after Columbine is only reaching new peaks. The administration’s incapability to make a decision, if one can even be made, paints targets on our students’ backs everyday, who wonder if the next fire alarm or lockdown drill could be the day they meet their fate. 

What exactly is it that caused such polarization in our country? We could spend all day debating statistics or research depicting how the U.S. has the most gun-related homicides, while others argue that these numbers fail to signify a correlation between gun owners and a greater inclination to shoot. We could literally spend hours and days arguing with one another and even leveling ad hominem attacks at our opponents — as those involved in American politics have ever so elegantly expressed their capability in doing so. This country has evolved into a joke — we have resorted to theatrics by using words like “c**ty” to describe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s politics or even “cheeto” as an attempt to demonstrate why President Donald J. Trump’s fake tan makes him unsuitable for president. 

When did we become such a classless bunch? 

By calling liberals “snowflakes” because of their inability to face tough decisions and hoping politics progress by holding hands with people, or by describing conservatives as those with an inherent disregard for human life because of their incessant clinging on to outdated beliefs, demonstrates that the situation is entirely laughable. Our country has literally evolved into a giant playground, where even elementary schoolers demonstrate greater mental capacity than the rest of us. 

Our country, our politics, our beliefs — we have become so divided that the topic of humanity and how we protect the ones we love has become sidetabled. Instead, we focus on coming out on top of internet debates and producing memes that convey what we want to say about politics. One could even say that America’s fervent desire to make itself look half-witted is almost admirable — the American way of turning against even our neighbors because an inherent and totally natural clashing of ideals is something spectacular in its idiocy.

We ask for people to make an effort, and yet when students stage walkouts to demonstrate solidarity and a greater need for gun control, we reprimand them by making them stay after school. We ask for those who want change to seek it, and yet we have the National Rifle Association (NRA) — which has become so ingrained in the mapping of American politics — claiming that a solution would be for "Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence." Or how about Trump’s proposal that educators carry firearms in schools themselves? 

Is that really the change everyone is asking for? Is a greater accessibility of guns ever going to stop what happened in Vegas or Charleston? Will our ability to stop mass shooters be able to reverse the statistics? Or will our schools just become shootouts between mass shooters and teachers with students caught in the crossfire?

To be fair, if anyone actually has the “right solution” to solve this mass-shooting epidemic within our country, they should probably be elected president or be given every Nobel Peace prize. Our country is doing its best to tackle a hard problem, which is commendable, but unfortunately, the way we go about it only leads us further away from where we even started. America is juggling lives here — we have no room for “trial and error.” We have no more room for anymore mistakes, and this includes accidentally firing a gun in the classroom and nearly injuring a student. 

Even as America reaches climactic tension regarding how to approach the issue of gun control, call me a snowflake, but it's time our approach of debasing people’s characters for voicing what makes them feel safe or unsafe becomes halted. It’s time that America stops mocking or degrading others for taking the safety of their own lives into their own hands. 

Ashley Wang is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in English and minoring in philosophy. Her column, "A Third Person Perspective," runs on alternate Mondays.


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Ashley Wang

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