America is a country that thrives on igrowth and prosperity. When a problem stands in the way of this country's success, every American has an answer. No matter how great the task, most Americans are willing to spend huge amounts of tax money on fixing these problems; just as long as it doesn't have to involve them or the community around them.
What is to be done? For example, waste treatment plants are a necessity to the smooth running of this country, but at the same time, they have a bad reputation of contributing nothing but rotten odors and grotesque images to those who pass by. All Americans believe that these plants have to exist. All are unanimous in the proposal that their tax money be used to operate these plants, yet not one community wants it in their district.
What about nuclear research? Most Americans believe that knowledge is the key to life. Money must be issued to scientists so that they may experiment with the unknown. Science research has always made America come out ahead of the rest, and now this research must continue in our exploration of nuclear power. But the threat of the unknown, the danger it possesses, causes this uncooperative attitude when the question "Where are we going to build it?" is posed. "Anywhere but here" seems to be the most popular response.
Social dilemmas also come into play when dealing with the "anywhere but here" attitude. All Americans want to live the American dream: comfortable home, a few children, respectable neighborhood, quality schooling for their children. No one wants anything around them that may, in some small way, put a dent in this dream. Jails are something that an average family does not want built down the street. It is the popular vote that more jails be built, so all criminals will be punished properly, but who wants them in their neighborhood. Same with mental institutions. Countless dollars are donated to hospitals dealing with the mentally ill. Most Americans feel that as a kind nation we should have suitable institutions for these people. Yet, no one wants it within a hundred miles of their home. This same attitude goes toward low income and public housing. Something must be done to house the homeless of America. Money is being given to the government to build such residences. The only problem is no one wants the "less fortunate" to live in their neighborhood.
The American people always have an answer. Here's some money, build what is needed, do what has to be done; but just don't put it near me. Well, my fellow Americans, tell me this, just where can we put all these solutions? And please, don't answer, "anywhere but here." n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.