This I Believe

Allison - Inverness, Illinois
Entered on May 18, 2007

I cannot listen to the radio or turn on the television without being appalled with one thing or another. The news of murders and war are broadcasted, and for this I feel that the media is always shining a light at us—letting us know that there is a problem with society today. While many people continually cringe at the front page horror stories, no one seems to know how things can be changed. What needs to be done to change people’s hearts and minds to make our world a better place?

I believe that all people are essentially good. I know that this is an extremely optimistic view, but I do think that everyone, separated from their environment and the people that surround them, have the ability to do great things and act in a good nature. But environment that people are exposed to and the people that surround them affect their nature and behavior. When I heard of the student shooter from Virginia Tech, I felt sorrow and anger. I felt sorry that the shooter exposed himself or was exposed to negative things that led him to make that horrific decision. I felt angry that the environment he lived in was not suitable in creating a good, healthy life for himself. The school shooting was a major societal shock, but it was not the first warning sign that our society needs a complete renovation. This horrific event was just another reminder that people in our country need to change, but this can only be done by changing the environment we live in. Even though, people have caused terrible times for our country, I still feel that they could have been changed. I believe that people are born with original sin, but other than that, I think that they are human beings with the opportunity to become a good person. The decision they make is theirs, but the environment and people that surround them ultimately affect their ability to make the right choice.

To help people to reveal the good inside themselves, I believe that society and our environment need to change. Our country needs to create an environment that is stripped of racism, discrimination, and judgment. People need to feel comfortable taking a walk down the street without worrying if they will be mugged or fly on an airplane without having the constant worry that someone is trying to put their life in danger. If everyone changes as a whole and we are all viewed on the same level, people would be able to live in harmony. However, I know that this could never happen. For so long our country has been plagued with the idea that competition is the reigning force and everyone is not equal. While, I understand that a perfect society is something we have learned does not exist, I still believe that underneath everything all people are essentially good.