Watch the World Burn, Live to Write About It

When I started this column over three years ago, I was just happy it had been picked up. Finally, I would have a platform to explore topics dear to my heart. From the stock market in China to  the clean energy industry in Germany, this column was ideal to explore a wide variety of global issues and how they relate to the United States. And then something changed. I felt forced to turn these 500 words into something more personal. In here, I talked about an independent press, revisionist history, being an immigrant, and well, Trump.

The United States is a mess right now, but I signed on for at least 15 more months in graduate school. France is a mess, and more generally, the world is a mess. The sad reality is that none of the issues from previous iterations of this column have been fixed. To name a few, health insurance in the United States is still a mess, the education system is as corrupt and unequal as ever, and American patriotism is still frightening. Kids suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are still heavily and excessively medicated, and not only did the United States harden its stance on Syrian war refugees, but it hardened its  stance on immigrants in general.

On top of all that, it’s just been the worst time to be a journalist. With President Donald Trump making it his personal quest to ruin anything that is good in this country, being a journalist in 2018 in the United States resembles an episode of “American Ninja Warrior” more than an actual job. I can relate to some of it. This column has seen its fair share of debunked lies and eye rolls. So many eye rolls. I spent the better part of these past two years trying not to write about Trump, but I ultimately always come back to it. This column was a great way to express my frustration and disbelief at what has happened recently, and I can truly say it has gotten me through some tough times. I know I’ve bashed America a lot, but in the end I feel pretty happy to be here. I am lucky to be able to live here and to have the opportunity to write this last column. So here goes one last time.

Most of my previous column topics do not have an easy fix. My cynical and pessimistic nature make me inclined to believe they will never get a fix. But that does not mean they should be ignored. It does not mean they can be forgotten. You should care if your state allows 13-year-old girls to get married under certain circumstances. You should care if politicians or people in power deny that the Holocaust happened. You should care if the discourse is excluding others based on their race, sex or — gosh forbid — their religion or lack thereof. You should care about all these issues, but even if you don’t, journalists will always be there to hold those in power accountable.  

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