Are You "Disillusioned"? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "If you could pick one word to describe yourself, what would it be?" I was posed this question on a college application recently, and the first word that came to mind was "disillusioned." Based on the advice of those in my life who dish out advice like it was candy, I chose not to center my essay around being disillusioned in a cynical world. Call it pessimism if you wish, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a facade of optimism in a society which caters to the few, and a country which has destroyed its heroes.

Have you ever found yourself sitting at home, at work, or in school, thinking, What am I doing here? Is it routine for you to watch war and bloodshed on the evening news without feeling revulsion? Is it easier to ignore what is happening in the world rather than becoming angry at what you are witnessing? If so, you are disillusioned, fair reader, like so many Americans today, including me.

Peppy optimists will see this as negativism, embodying the worst of our cynical society. Call it what you will, there are aspects of our country that cannot be ignored, no matter how discouraging they may be. Ignorance is bliss, but a blissful optimist is no better than a natural-born cynic who blames the system for his problems.

What is unique about our society is that we routinely maintain a way of life that is often far from perfect, yet we expect our leaders to be above reproach. When we discover that our leaders are hardly flawless (as in the case of President Clinton), we turn their lives into prime-time news, complete with scrutiny, debate and an all-out media blitz. Many critics in this country point to politicians as the cause of virtually every problem facing America today. But where do these people come from? I'll tell you ... the men and women who run this nation are Americans, the product of American schools, raised by American families, saturated in American pop culture. Perhaps the problem does not lie in the Evil Politician, but rather in the society in which he was raised. It is hypocritical to judge those we elect to public office to a higher moral standard than that which we live by, pure and simple.

The two-faced way in which our nation judges our leaders is just one example of my disillusionment with the society in which I live. Not to be overly negative, but it's hard to be positive when you live in a country where the President's sex life is front page material, while the Pope's historic visit to Cuba is largely forgotten by the mainstream media. If you feel the same way about our society, you are officially a member of the Disillusioned Club. The price of admission? Faith in your society and belief in your government ...?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Anon ymous said...
Oct. 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm
How does one then become "re-illusioned?" I have yet to find out
 
Anon ymous said...
Oct. 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm
I can remember the distict moment when my disillusionment began...it was on October 23rd of last year that it really set in. This describes a lot of my personality nowadays. Thanks for the post.
 
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