America Going Downhill, What’s Wrong and Why
This is a research paper I have written about a huge problem with the united states of america. I have written how this problem screws us over, and why this problem is here. I have included sources to aid all. Enjoy.
If the United States of America were to own a giant toilet, there are two things they would flush down, the urine and feces of America. The feces, leftover things we do not need in our system that have no nutritional value and make the entire room smell bad, otherwise known as our politicians. The urine, a sterilizer with nutrients our bodies choose not to absorb that we could drink and survive as a result if stuck under a giant rock, otherwise known as our literacy. Sadly, as the giant shiny toilet flushes our feces and urine down only the feces ends up clogging the toilet, resulting in the toilet exploding and a giant rock falling on top of America. From the looks of it, that rock isn’t moving, and the people of America do not want to drink the urine, nor do some of them know how. The biggest problem in all of this is that the reason behind America not wanting to drink and some of them not knowing how is simply that they do not care about what could save them. America has become a country that does not care for literacy as a whole. Being literate, or showing your literacy, has been mistaken, as most urine is, as an unimportant and slightly annoying task which during childhood you learn to hold or not do so you may do other more fun things instead. If we do not learn the importance of literacy we will never drink that urine for survival or in some cases, learn how to. If we did learn to appreciate it and did drink it though, we will survive and will learn how to put together the broken toilet, properly flush down the feces of America, and get out from under this giant rock.
There are quite a few reasons why literacy has become so unimportant and uncared for in our society. The first is reason is our government; the second is us or “We the people”. In other words, almost everyone in the United States since and a few years before its birth are the reason that literacy is given such little appreciation. Please understand, I said almost, which means not everyone fits this, just most people the United States.
When looking at the Government as a reason the first place to start would be our official language; if we had an official language that is. Even though, as stated on the official CIA website, 82.1% of people in American use English as their main language, it is still not considered the official language. Besides the United States, only thirty two other countries do not have an official language out of about one-hundred-ninety-eight countries in total. That is about sixteen percent of the world. Add in the fact that eleven of those countries are tiny islands owned by other countries and that seven of those countries only have one language spoken to begin with all that is left is only 15 countries whom own themselves and have more than one language listed as there spoken languages with none official out of about one-hundred-ninety-eight countries totaled, which is only about seven percent of the world.(1) This knowledge in itself shows a huge degradation of English, the language in which we the people of the united states need to appreciate and become literate in order to prevail from our current giant rock of an issue. Degrading the language to be learned is equal to degrading literacy itself, because they both work together with each other and need each other.
Worst yet, the only reason that English is not our official language is simply Politics in our government. Many believe, and politicians debate, that having English as the official language will have the consequence of prejudice or segregation because some people who come to this country do not know English at first and they fear that these people will be mistreated in some way due to the English language being official.(2) I personally believe this is non-sense because firstly, people who come to this country are mistreated any ways, making the English language official will not effect that. Secondly, this is non-sense because people, who come to this country, as surprising as this may sound, want to learn English and speak English. Making English the official language could actually help by making ESL classes a requirement and more widespread so it may be easier for newfound immigrants legal or not, to find these classes and get the opportunity to learn English quicker and become literate in English, rather than by quietly practicing by themselves or in private and never gaining that literacy. The United States government’s politicians’ unwillingness to make English our official language, which would therefore give appreciation to being literate in the language 87% of we the people of the United States speak, proves government being a reason for our lack of love and appreciation for literacy.
Another place to look at when showing government as one of the reasons for literacy being unappreciated in the United States would be to analyze the spending of the United States Government. The month of April of this year, a total of 3,904 million dollars went to the Department of Education–where literacy is taught–. This sounds like quite a bit of money, until you see how much money on the month of April of this year went to other programs. The Department of Agriculture received a total of 10,090 million dollars, the Department of Defense Military Programs received 57,512 million dollars, the Department of Health and Human Services received 87,693 million dollars, the Department of Labor received 10,757 million dollars, and the Office of Personal Management received 6,228 million dollars. Also when you look at the total spent on the month of April of this year and compare it to how much the Department of Education received it can be noted the money given to the Department of Education is only about 1% of the total amount of money given that month by the Government.(3) Worse yet, from the 2011 fiscal year to the 2012 fiscal year, the funding towards the Department of Education will go from 148.6 billion dollars to 138.6 billion dollars. That is a budget cut of 10 billion dollars. This means that the Department of Education will go from receiving .04% of the total amount of money given yearly by the government, to receiving only .03% of the total amount of money given yearly by the government.(4) As can seen here, Education is given no priority and is not treated with any significance from our government. Education is how we gain literacy and learn how to use literacy to its full potential, so degrading and giving no significance to education also degrades and takes away significance in literacy.
“We the People” are also the reason because we do nothing to stop the government when it comes to these issues. An example of the people of the United States doing nothing to stop the government with these issues is simply the fact that these issues are still here. This proves that we are doing nothing in regards to the government’s treatment of literacy. What the people of United States need to do is make a stand against this budget cut on Education and fight for English to be our national language. The people need to show how important these things are to them and the benefits of doing things “the peoples” way.
Also, another reason the people of the United States are also the reason for literacy being treated as something without much importance is that we do not enforce to these younger generations the importance of good literacy. Proof of this can be seen from the study of 2007 from the Archives of Pediatrics and Medicine titled, “Relation of Adolescent Video Game Play to Time spent in other Activities”. In the study it shows that on the weekends the boys chosen for this study spent a total of on average 96.61 minutes playing video games, but only spent a total of on average 14.46 minutes reading. Based on the data, in total only about 2% of their time went to reading, while in total about 16% went to video games.(5) This shows parents allowing there children allowing their children about six times more time for video games then the amount of time they have their children read. Literally, one-tenth of these children’s weekends go to video games while reading barely gets a snack break’s worth time. This is obviously not enforcing the importance of good literacy to our younger generations and those percentages should switch instead of being as backwards as they are. Reading is the key to good literacy and literacy in general and having such little time reading yet so much time playing with a bunch of buttons to control something on a magical screen shows how much little appreciation parents are giving for literacy with their children!
Overall, it is everyone in the United States fault that literacy is being treated like feces, and is misunderstood like urine. We the people of the United States of America need to let the government know how important we find literacy, let our children know how great literacy is, and we need to ourselves understand and believe the importance of literacy. Just remember, without literacy we will all starve stuck under that giant rock and never learn to get out or flush down our politicians who do not care about literacy either. Let us stand together and fix America’s toilet!
1) Central Intelligence Agency. The World Fact Book. May 15, 2011. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html; Please go to the “People” section, then to the languages section, if the language is official it will the word “official” in parenthesis next to the chosen language.
2) City University of New York. Does the United States Need an Official Language?. May 15, 2011. http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/eres/docs/eres/GSR716A_KUECHLER/monique.htm; A discussion relating to debates on English being the official language.
3) Financial Management Service. Treasury Financial Database. April 2011. http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts0411.txt; The official monthly treasury statement from the U.S. Treasury Department
4) Chantrill, Christopher. US Federal Budget Analyst. May 19, 2011. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/budget_current_gs.php?year=2009_2014&view=1&expand=208090&expandC=&units=b&fy=fy10; This website shows an explained and picked apart version of the U.S. Treasury Departments spending and planned spending for the Government based on the Budget of the US government.
5) Cummings, Hope. Vandewater, Elizabeth. Relation of Adolescent Video Game Play to Time Spent Doing Other Activities. July 7, 2007. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/161/7/684; This is the article I read in order to obtain and calculate the information given in regards to reading and video games.