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The party is over and everyone is paying the price

In the post-9/11 era, it seems few months have passed in the U.S. that haven’t been characterized by some sort of calamity.

If it’s not the housing market, it’s the job market giving way to outsourcing. If it’s not gas, it’s food prices. If it’s not any of those, it’s global warming.

However, it seems that these misfortunes are happening at an accelerated rate in comparison with the hardships of prior decades.

One could argue that in our “golden age” of digital advancements, technology allows the faces of people who suffer to surface more frequently even though many of these unpleasant things have always existed.

To those who would make such an argument, I say these images are no longer just on our plasma screens. They are in our own backyards.

The American Dream has gone into hibernation. And,  as our generation starts climbing the ranks, we are posed with striking odds amid exclamations of how we will be the first generation to be worse off than those who came before us.

Suffering, anger and panic mount, yet nothing changes. After all, it’s hard to consider change when you’re struggling to survive.

This recession that is now on the brink of another Great Depression is being fueled by something bigger than economic factors such as poor investing, fiscal policy and supply and demand. If we want to move past this and on to more progressive times, we need to see this recession for what it is worth.

This recession is fueled by values such as greed and power rather than economics. The corporations running our society are clinging to their last dollar in hopes that they’ll be able to weather the storm. All the while, other important things like family, the environment and fellowship are forsaken in the name of corporate competition and struggling expansion.

Although I may be stating the obvious, something that is not so obvious is how to get through these troubled times. The solution that I propose is easier said than done, but still worth noting. The answer to our hardships is simply to sit back and enjoy it. We should be using this time to reflect on our values and behaviors as a society, because when all is said and done, change will inevitably come.

Looking around, it is evident that attitudes and behaviors are already changing. Businessmen are leaving their Hummers for the Toyota Prius. Scrabble is taking the place of a night of clubbing. Families are turning their televisions off and going to parks, and our government is finally recognizing the effects of global warming.

For the last decade, American society has been in a state of fluctuation — always in motion, never still.

As we have spent our time restlessly seeking new pleasures — rushing to stores to buy the latest gadgets, buying up real estate like it is going out of style and traveling the globe blissfully unaware of the troubles in other lands as well as in our own backyard — we’ve turned a blind eye to things for far too long. Now that the party is over, we’re paying the price.

Consequently, we have two choices: We can continue to resist and push forward in panic, or we can remain still and take this time to reinvent ourselves and our values as a nation.

Hate, greed and hypocrisy have replaced the valor, purity and perseverance once symbolized by red, white and blue. These colors stood for the things that made America great. Arrogance and ignorance spearheaded by men and women in power have led to their demise.

It’s time to consider working together to find new and unselfish ways of doing things if we are ever to get back to what we stood for as a nation.

The universe is trying to tell us something and as the world slips into slow motion, maybe, just maybe, we’ll be awake enough to listen this time. With any luck, we’ll be bold enough to rise to the occasion.

To quote Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh: “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”

Jeremy Castanza is a junior majoring in economics.