This I Believe

Kevin - Kingsport, Tennessee
Entered on April 23, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe…

I believe I would be much more qualified to write this essay at the age of 62, and not 22. It goes without saying, then, that I believe many of our elders in society are discarded and ignored, despite their tremendous knowledge. I believe as a society, we find something wrong with everybody. We are ridiculously focused on celebrities, convincing ourselves that we know them personally, yet somehow we love their scandals. We love to see them flounder. Why? Because we don’t like to think people are better than us.

The fact is that every person who can identify with any group likes to think they are better than all others. This elitist mindset is nothing new, but it is the biggest problem in our society. Protestants think they’re better than Catholics, older people don’t understand the youth, black people and white people both consider themselves superior. I am also noticing a greater disparity between the upper and lower classes. The point is that every American considers themselves better than somebody else. I ask, “Based on what?”

I believe that the measure of person is not a result of their birth, religion, race, age, or gender. The measure of a person, the only measure that matters, is what they do. Your birthright means nothing, only your actions matter. You are no better than the next person until you do something to improve someone’s life. Many cover their inadequacies by blaming prejudice against them. Regardless of who you are, there are going to be people who won’t like you. Everyone will get passed over for a job, scholarship, or promotion they deserved. You can use this as an excuse, or you can do the respectable thing and work even harder for the next opportunity. I believe that everyone faces disappointment they shouldn’t have to. The great question is how you will handle it. Some choose to let it rule their lives, blaming prejudice, finding excuses. Others choose to overcome it. Indeed, you are a good person if you create a better life for your children than you had. If you bring your family out of poverty, if you try to help those around you, and if you improve someone’s life, you should be proud. If, however, you choose to blame “them” for your problems, you only contribute to the problem we’re discussing. Unfortunately, I believe our attitudes will change very little in the near future. I also believe that changes start in individuals, and each person who works harder to overcome obstacles puts focus, not blame, in the forefront.