Change We Can (Can’t) Believe In

“We had change, but was it good.”

It has already been eight years since Barack H. Obama first took office as the 44th President of the United States of America. I can still remember hearing his slogan chanted as an undergraduate student, “Yes we can.” “Change we can believe in.” Now I ask myself what has changed in America? Let’s look a few areas of interest: economics, social, healthcare, and educational.

The economy has been the biggest topic of discussion since he has taken office. From my stand point I don’t feel any different with him in the White House than had it have been anyone else. Maybe because I am not that fond of a lot of politicians from the start. Look at the job market, the president says jobs have been created, as matter of fact he said over 500,000 the last time he spoke. But I ask myself, what job exactly? Are these 40 hour per week, full medical & dental, 4 weeks paid vacation, as well as maternity leave. My best guess it no, they are not. A lot of those jobs are low wage, 10 – 20 hours, no medical or dental, and no vacation time or maternity leave.

Even with the federal minimum wage being raised, it still doesn’t make a difference because the hours are being cut. So now people are making less money getting a higher wage. For example, if you made $7.00 per hour for 40 hours, you were full time. This meant making $280 per week. But now people are making $8.00 per hour and getting 20 – 30 hours making $160 to $240 per week. They make more money and are losing $40 per week. Doesn’t sound like much to someone in the middle or upper. But when you’re poor, an extra $40 per week ($160 per month) goes a long way. Depending on where you live in the country, that’s two utilities or even a month’s groceries for a family.

Another area where change was promised was socially. America in Obama’s second term has seen a spike in the racial relationship. And I’m not talking race as it pertains to the human species. I’m talking about socially. Socially, the relationship between Predominantly White law enforcement officers and African American males in predominantly Black communities. This is a relationship that spans nearly 400 years in America since the first Black people were brought from Africa as indentured servants. Since then Black and White has been a hot topic. But what is Black and White really?

Sammy Sosa is Black and Adriana Lima is White by American standards. Why because of their skin color. We don’t call it out because they are public figures, but unknown and walking the streets of America, they fall under the Black or White category. Is that the change Barack was talking, but wait a minute that’s not change, that’s business as usual. Then what change, you mean how the race for president in 2016 has brought out as the people flying their Confederate flags in the south. A flag that most have felt was a symbol of oppression in America. If change has taken place, how does this still exist.

What other social change, like gays given the ability to marry in America. That was passed, but yet there is still push back from people not adhering to the law. One woman, Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis refused to even issue a marriage license to a gay couple. She stated it was against what she described as, “God’s definition of marriage.” Further stating, “It would be against her religious freedom.” How is this all taking place a this new America. My knowledge tells me it’s always happened, we just pay attention more. Because the issue of social relationships has now gone into the Hispanic and Islamic community.

But does that mean the same goes for another issue in America which is healthcare. Healthcare as well has caused a stir since the passing of Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare plan. A plan that would allow for all American’s the right, not the privilege to be covered in case of emergency and in need of hospital treatment. Sounds good right, I mean who wouldn’t want to live in a country where everyone has healthcare coverage. This is the problem; number one you’re forced to have it. If not, at the end of the year, you’re penalized on your taxes. Hard to stomach when Obama stated it would be an, “OPTION.”

Is it really an option if I make you do something. For instance, I have a slice of cheese cake and slice of pound cake. You have the option to choose, but soon as you take the cheese cake I punch you in the face. You gave me a choice, but I felt it was the wrong one. Then tell me I don’t have a choice, instead of punching me. The other problem with the healthcare plan is that small businesses laid-off workers and hours have even been cut at companies for employees. Why? Well it has to do with cutting into profits, and the business not being able to sustain. You can’t hire people if the monetary cost are running through the roof. Some people have to get cut and others employed can’t get hired. And even if you do get hired, you’re forced to pay your own insurance. Tough, when you’re getting 10 – 20 hours on the job.

So where is the change; how about education. Every year students are graduating in mass from institutions across the country. Then, once they walk across the stage, receive their diploma, and the celebration is over, now what? And that question leaves so many young people baffled at what direction to in; what does my future look like. In today’s society so many young men and women are forced to take on other outside jobs. Meaning if you work in an office building Monday through Friday, then maybe pickup more hours freelancing in the evenings and weekends. Why? Well because the new full time is 35 hours, so a lot of 20’s coming from school are only getting 20 – 30 hours on the job.

20 – 30 hours! Who can live off of that in this country. Especially if you are in a major metropolitan city. Not to mention student loan debt that must be repaid after that 6 month grave period. So a lot of people go directly into graduate school. There you go, pile on more debt, to an already crisis situation. But graduate school is an even shorter timeframe than undergrad. So your debt is even more, no job, the prospects you do have pay low wages, and on top of that in your mid to late 20’s still living with mom and dad.

That is just the White males and females, the landscape is even more bleak for minorities coming from school. What are young people left to do? They have to go into their own ventures to make ends meet. Becoming an entrepreneur is now more than ever a necessity than a leap of faith in the past. Because while big business and government fight it out, the people suffer. With all that has been said, one again, what has changed. Seems to me like business as usual. The only difference is that we see things more now than in the past. The internet, cell phone footage, and sharing via social media has made it difficult to hide things from the populace. In the end if this is change, then we need to change the change, because we still have a long way to go if it is change.

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