Recently, Ariana Grande was caught on video stating “I hate America!” on the 4th of July(click here to see the video on TMZ). She claims her words were said in relation to her thoughts around how the thoughtless consumption of foods like donuts has lead to an epidemic of healthcare problems, including childhood obesity, a cause she has taken up fighting for. Although I feel super annoyed by this popstar, swinging her ponytail around, thinking she’s better than Mariah (gasp, no one is better than Mariah, Whitney, and Christina!), I won’t reprimand her for believing in a cause and using harsh words amidst her passion for such cause (licking donuts you don’t intend to purchase is very not cool though and very reprimand-worthy). I would be a hypocrite for doing so, because lately I agree. “I hate America!”
I have worked hard in my life. I have not been afforded many privileges (I am biracial, my parents do not have college degrees, I am female, I didn’t come from a high socio-economic background, etc.), but I have done what I can to improve. I went college, I went to graduate school, and I am now an excellent therapist. Even though I make a decent middle-class salary, as does my husband, we cannot afford decent child care. We cannot afford a day care, we cannot afford a pre-school, we cannot afford a nanny. I have two children who are not in school yet. To put them both in a daycare/preschool full-time would cost at the very least $2400 month. Add in mortgage, student loans, vehicle payment, utilities, insurance, food, gas, clothes, etc, and we are left with nothing at the end of the month. More often, we come out negative.
So guess what, “I hate America!” There are countries that get this stuff right. They help the two-income family. The two-income families make up much of this country, yet we are being forced into being one-income families because we can’t afford to work and pay for childcare. We are forced into welfare and food stamps, because there aren’t jobs that can accommodate enough income to afford childcare. That’s not good for our economy. We have affordable healthcare but how about affordable child care?
As much as I hate it, it is the current reality. I have to face it, and I have to figure out how I can balance the things I want. I want to work, not a crazy amount of hours, but at least on a part-time basis. I want to have quality time with my children while they are still young, when their ideas and personalities are forming. I don’t want someone else to be teaching them about life, I want to be the one who teaches them values. I also don’t want to be broke and far in debt.
I am fortunate though. I have the ability to dream and chase these dreams. If I am resourceful, if I am dedicated, if I am passionate (and I am), I have the ability to make change. Changes start at a small level, but in America, there is the opportunity for change at monumental levels. Change doesn’t happen in a day, and there are struggles and risks in promoting change. That’s life though. In these dreams is where strength and resiliency thrive. When something feels wrong, feels like it’s not fair, feels non-sensical, I feel grateful that I live in a country where I have choice and freedom to change it. This is what I love about America.
I’m sure there are times when we all hate America for some reason (taxes, rates of obesity, reality television, wastefulness, etc.), but isn’t it great that we live in a place where we can try to make change where we see something not aligned in our values? There are plenty of ways to productively work to make change when we hate America. That’s the great thing about freedom. And I have an idea…