Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Look at me starting up some controversy!

So here's an interesting story. About a month ago I had to write a letter to one of the editors of a newspaper about a sociological issue as an assignment for my Summer class. I didn't want to do it because I hate controversial issues. Nothing ever gets solved and people just end up being mean to each other. Well, I wrote it anyway because I had to but hoped it wouldn't get published. Yesterday Scott and I went to one of his ward activities and the bishop told me he saw my letter in the newspaper. I was really embarrassed and it's too bad that my teacher didn't get to see it published before the semester ended, but what's done is done. If you want to read, click here before reading the rest of this blog and there are about 20 comments that are from a few readers but I wouldn't suggest reading them all. They are long and boring (probably like this blog).

Let me just start off by saying that I do love America and I wasn't comparing poverty in our nation to that of other nations. I realize that we have it better than most other countries. What I was trying to say, though, is that our country is one of the most unequal countries in the world as far as wealth goes. Before you start wondering whether or not I'm a democrat, let me just tell you that I'm not (not that there is anything wrong with that). I consider myself more of a conservative but since I've taken sociology classes, I understand the liberal side to things and somewhat agree with some of it. There are two sides to everything.

If you read some of the comments people left on my letter, you will notice that some of them are nice and some are not that nice. At least no one was out right mean to me, but there were a couple of commenters going after each other. One guy said that my teacher needs to take an econ class because his data isn't correct. I'm not sure why he is attacking my teacher when all the data we learned came from reliable sources in text books and I know that my teacher has taken econ classes. One guy asked what I suggest we do if we don't have a capitalist society. I do think that capitalism is what sets us free, but I also think that nobody deserves to have billions (no matter what you do) of dollars when there are others who have next to nothing. Sure, those who have more experience and schooling should get paid more (otherwise there wouldn't be much incentive for going to school), but it shouldn't be as unequal as it is. One comment said that the rich deserve it and the poor are lazy. Yes, there are people who have worked their tails off to get where they are and there are also poor people who are incredibly lazy and have no intent of getting off of food stamps. This is not true in every case, though. Look at Paris Hilton for example. She has done nothing besides make a pornographic Carl's Jr. commercial and a dumb TV show but is incredibly rich because of her parents. Then there are poor people who work two or three jobs just to get the bills paid. And whose to say that a capitalist works any harder than a farmer who works 15 hours a day? I personally wish there was a limit as to how much someone could make and the rest would have to go to employees lower than them (farmers, factory workers, salesmen). After all, the Waltons wouldn't be billionaires if it weren't for their employees. We need every job in order for society to function and maybe we'd getter better customer service at Wal mart if their employees were paid more.

I'm not saying that rich people are evil (doesn't everyone want to be rich?) and I know that most of them give money to charities, but only after they have thousands of acres of land, plenty of cars, and HUGE houses, yachts, etc. Anyway, I could really go on and on about this stuff but I won't because I'm sure none of you are as interested in it as I am. The point is, yes America is based on merits but there are so many other factors that go along with it, like who you know, where you were born, life chances, race, gender, etc. I do believe that anyone can make it if they try hard enough, but some are just not given the education or opportunity to even try and that's where I think we need to help out those people. I think the government should provide equal education throughout the country, universal health care, maternity leave with pay, etc, etc because we are far behind these things compared to other industrialized countries. I wasn't saying that the government needs to do everything for the poor or that the rich need to give all their money away, just give them better opportunities to get out of poverty and whether they take them or leave them is their choice.

Anyways, like I said earlier, I don't like controversy which is why I won't comment to the commenters on my letter to the editors. I know that there are many points of view about these topics and I only wish I were educated more so that I didn't just know the sociological perspective. Speaking of sociology, I started my last first day of class today (and I'm going to have to write about 80 pages worth of essays this semester, YUCK). I am glad it will be over soon, but actually a bit sad that I won't be learning anymore about these things. They have been interesting and I feel like I have learned more about our country in the last couple of years than I have in my entire life.


Mom said...

Wow Maran I'm impressed. I was wondering if Jake was one of the commentors on your article :) Just kidding. You are brave to have sent that in. You really did a good job because of all the comments that came in. Lots of controversy. I do agree that the super rich are ridiculously rich, especially movie stars, sports stars and TV personalities. Are they any better than the humble kindergarten teacher or a nurse or the trash collector? Peg told me that in Ala. there are Very Poor people living in a house not much better than a cardboard box. I was really amazed that that could be so here in the USA. Anyway, some day we'll all have a discussion on it. Congrats on the first day of your last semester. We are very proud of you and love you. Mom

maren winterrowd said...

Maran you are so smart! I totally know what you mean about the controversy and wanting to avoid it. I remember being shocked as I studied the world from a sociological point of view. It looks very different than the world I always thought I knew.
Are you taking Ralph Brown's class?

kerrie said...

What sociology class was this for? I don't remember having to do that. Great job on the controversial issue. It's a great topic for debate.

Jennifer said...

I think you picked a great topic, considering all of the comments! I actually sent an e-mail to our school board a couple of weeks ago and got a response. I'm feeling a little more opinionated in my old age :)

Hollie said...

You should leave the comments you made to us as a comment in the letter to the editor. What could it hurt? You could put it under a different name.

Jake said...

More than anything, I'm VERY pleased to see you taking a stand. Riding the fence on any issue is akin to serving two Masters...impossible (Matt 6.24).

While I agree that an inequality problem exists and many suffer as a result, I'm not at all convinced a better system exists...at least not in this world. The problem is that we'd need some entity to redistribute the wealth in an equitable way. What entity can do that? Governments ALWAYS fail at that endeavor. As we know, we will face the Great Redistributor some day, who will perfectly take care of ALL His children. Things will be perfect. But for now, the US system works better than any other in the world.

However flawed the system may be, that doesn't mean that we can distribute some of our wealth to those who are struggling. The principle that I think you're getting at is that we CAN each do something...give a buck to the guy on the corner, support political campaigns aimed at helping the poor, etc. The system is too flawed to do it, but we aren't.


Jake said...

ALSO, I agree with you on the specific political agendas: universal healthcare, improved education, maternity coverage. We'll all pay for it with increased taxes...but I'm okay with that.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Jake. I was eagerly awaiting your comments. Love how your brain thinks. :) MOmma Donna