Life, as I know it

Young. Ambitious. Radical. Curious. Just trying to make it in this crazy world. Here's my journey.

Just call her the ‘Thrilla from Wasilla’

Just weeks after attempting to take on Letterman for ‘what he really is’ (uh hem, a hilarious, sarcastic comedian with more fans than Alaska has constituents?), here she is again taking up time that could have contained valuable news information to announce that she — the noble maverick that we’ve all come to love — just can’t handle the pressure anymore and will be stepping down as governor nearly a year and a half before her term is over.

Attributing the surprising move to the whirlwind of negative media coverage she’s recevied (or sought, depending who you talk to…) along with a series of “insane,” frivolous ethical complaints that were costing her, and apparently the state of Alaska, nearly $2 million to investigate, Palin made it clear she was doing the best thing for Alaska by quitting. really, really early.  Now the media are wildly speculating on what Palin’s ulterior motives are, which we all know she has, being the spin-doctor she is. I don’t know about you, but if her stint with Letterman didn’t have me concerned over the lengths she’ll go to attract media attention, this definitely does.

First of all, Sarah, most politicians understand that, while re-election is certainly desirable, one term may be all you get. With that reality check in mind, most would think those who still run for office have an interest in changing politics for the better and enhancing their community with policy good for everyone, regardless of how many terms you serve. I mean, silly me, but I was under the impression that public service was service for the good of the public, not service for the good of the public as long as I get re-elected. So the whole, “I don’t want to be a lame duck,” excuse doesn’t sit well with me because, um, well, you shouldn’t be!! Here’s a tip for you, Sarah: you never let down those who are counting on you by telling them you just can’t bear to let them down, so you’re letting them down. You signed up to be governor, to change “politics as usual” only to turn around and back out of your commitment because you didn’t get your way. It just does not make sense. Not to me and, hopefully, not to the rest of the country either.

The media can speculate all they want. There is only one word to describe why she did what she did, and only one word will come to mind when I hear Sarah Palin: weak.

The best things in life are free. Or, are they?

The best things in life are free, or so they say. Love. Friendship. Happiness. Peace. Sure, all of these things come much easier when one has wealth and power, but there are plenty of dirt-poor, but insanely happy people out there. In fact, according to a recent study done by an independent British research group, Costa Rica, not an industrialized nation, is the happiest nation on earth. Surprising? What’s even more surprising is that most developed nations were very low on the list, with Britain ranking 74th and the United States ranking 114th. If wealth and power can’t guarantee happiness, what can?

As a poor college student, my happiness rests on long weekends and academic accomplishments. Once I’m done with college (and the reason why I’ve sacrificed so much to get a degree in the first place) my career will make me happy, and once I’ve settled into my career, my family will make me happy. This is the American Dream, the reason why my peers and I stay in on Friday nights and have become increasingly  dependent on caffeine. As I look around at the successful people in America, though, I don’t see happiness.

I see fear, greed, envy and weariness. I see people whom, somewhere along their journey to the top, forgot what it was to laugh and love, forgot what it was that truly made them happy.

Recently, a wise, successful accountant told me that I would be hard pressed to find a successful man who didn’t cheat on his wife. It wasn’t the words he said that caught me off guard, though; it was the way this man — with a beautiful fiancee and enough money to retire tomorrow — said it without skipping a beat, as though it was completely natural for a wealthy, powerful man to have extra-marital rendezvous.

As I tried to figure out what could lead intelligent, otherwise sound-thinking and compassionate individuals to make such scandalous decisions, I realized it’s just another symptom of our unhappiness as a culture. The American Dream tells people that happiness equals success and to be successful means having a powerful job, a big paycheck and a perfect family. Of course, once someone at the top realizes they’ve lost any sense of what they stood for and sacrificed their dignity along the way, it’s not happiness they’re feeling. Hence the cheating and deceit, the constant chase for something that feels good, but only leads to contempt and emptiness.

While this may sound really depressing, the good news is that you can still choose to be a happy person. You can choose to stand up for the things you know are right and find solace in your strength of character in a world of flakes; you can demand our representatives in government be held to higher standards and be made accountable for their actions; easiest of all, you can be a kind person and enhance your community by treating everyone with love and respect. Oh, and don’t forget to smile. You look a lot better that way.