Getting your piece of the American pie

With the insufferable diminishing of the middle class in a society that insists you either sink or drown, students may begin to ask, “what am I really going to school for?”

College students’ debt is climbing with greater student loans to cover tuition increases, bachelor’s degrees are becoming more obsolete as job markets now insist on a professional degree, and the economic divide between the middle class and poverty line seems to be blurring.

I remember when going to college was a necessary step toward a higher standard of living, like driving a nice car and becoming “well-off” financially.

However, college graduates are moving back home with their parents while on the job search, can barely afford food for their children if they have them, and some are even forced to live out of their cars or spend nights in shelters.

Financial desperation among a group of educated people — who have gone from the richest people in the world to being a dime a dozen — has caused Americans to lose sight of what is truly important.

The inconsistencies in the pursuit of a slice of the American pie and the desire to one day be wealthy are disappointing. America continues to glorify individuals who burn through money as if it grew on trees.

America’s failure to acknowledge hard work and tenacity is due to the glorification of instantaneous success.

What measures your success and worth in society is your car, the location of the neighborhood you live in, net worth and who your friends are.

Who decided what should be encompassed within the definition of value has concluded that human nature at its finest, i.e. lending a hand, is irrelevant.

When financial bullies sitting in boardrooms and other positions of power decided that helping people was not profitable, America took a turn for the worst.

Contrary to popular belief, these are not hard times for everyone. Some people, especially those working for the government, still drive nice cars and live in million-dollar homes.

According to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, government spending is out of control at taxpayers’ expense.

The government will have to “borrow” around $12,500 per household this year to make up for its carelessness, according to the AFP Foundation.

Powerful people with means to help the common man traded integrity for dollar bills, morals for prestige, and the well-being of others for self-indulgence. When this happened, my slice of the American pie became unappetizing.

So, let’s throw out this undesirable and unattainable piece of pie we’re chasing and redefine what brought our country to its dynasty.

Many people have forgotten and strayed away from the fundamentals our country is built on: hard work, compassion, tenacity and dedication — which is, unfortunately, the opposite of how many of the lead decision-makers act today.

What really matters and measures success in this nation is not one’s ability to acquire endless fiscal wealth or how you look or dress, but how we uplift the less fortunate.

We have detached ourselves from the possibility that it could be your family living out on the street or your loved one begging for money at stoplights.

When people wake up and refuse to let capitalism’s ugly cousins, competition and greed, overtake their good judgment or kindness of heart, we will be in a better place.

Share a piece of your mind at shala.marks@asu.edu