The Problems with Conservatives and Everyone Else

I’ve been experiencing random run-ins with conservatives under the guise of “truth-spreaders” lately. I have nothing against or for the conservative thought pool other than it’s a thought pool. I just wanted to make this clear. I just think that right now, the loud ones are making poor choices and the smart ones are nowhere to be found.

Firstly, when you assert the morality of something you are not spreading truth. Truth is a complex and elusive concept, and no writer or radio show host has grasped it enough that you can cite them carelessly when debating online over democracy and freedom.

Second, if you believe in your governmental system then you absolutely must stop tying in your Christian beliefs with your conservatism. There is no reason to try to make this country the way it was when it started, or to have it stand for what the early settlers believed. We cannot be a Christian nation, and if you love democracy you should realize that. Isn’t being Christian as a person enough?

Thirdly, I’d like to dismantle all of this by saying that the problems we face in America are too complex to be solved by this bipolarized national war between liberals and conservatives. To constantly attack the other side does nothing for anyone, and to assimilate yourself to one huge party of thought limits your mind because you are not questioning what you are being told. In this game we call politics, we are bred to jab each other with facts, Bible verses, examples, counter-examples, and insults to prove the other person wrong and feel better about ourselves. It is not about wanting solutions anymore. It is a colossal waste of time. To bring politics to our jobs, our childrens’ educations, and our churches is silly and immature, if not incredibly sinful. Don’t be conservative just because your dad is, or because you’re proud of your upbringing. If you really want to live individualistically in this nation, you better start thinking for yourself and be smarter about the media you subject yourself to. Figure out your opinions about something and vote likewise.

With each new president, half of the nation settles on being angry for the next four years, taking every new legislation as an attack on the opposing party, and trying to convince people of what they believe without any success. Liberals did it with Bush, conservatives do it with Obama. The last time we were united was for about an hour on September 11, 2001. Whoever created this political system we have has really succeeded at distracting the public from seeing what’s really going on.

Another point: We vote for political leaders who think like we do and promise to do what we want them to do. Political leaders make every decision based on what their constituents want and place value on. Therefore, each person in this system is serving a mass majority feeling and people are only really voting for themselves. This is truly a democratic success in some ways, but the problem is that general masses of people tend to make bad decisions. And political leaders become puppets who will never reveal how they really feel about something. One person’s brilliant idea will be snuffed by this system, and everyone is waiting for a solution to come from someone, but there is no one person anymore. We in Michigan are waiting for the economy to get better without thinking about what that will look like, what it will require of us, and what creative ideas we can think of to solve this. We are simply sitting here complaining about it while defending the government that causes these problems to continue.

Places that aren't places will lose money.

I possibly will be working two jobs and an internship soon. I already never post on this thing, but I am learning a lot more about urban and suburban issues at my internship. I’m sorry I can’t keep up! I’m focusing on learning more skills at this internship, not just writing everything down.

Sprawl costs have been my new research topic here at GVMC. The data I’ve found for how living in sprawling communities is more expensive per person isn’t the most convincing data, because” cost” can’t be defined very easily. It’s plausable to gather tax data and project it over an amount of years, but taxes change yearly.  Percentages of income obviously vary by income.  the 227 billion dollars Downs and Burchell claim the US spends on sprawl over 25 years isn’t much per year. But then again, that figure is ignoring private and residential costs.

Taking a look at this from overhead, the factor that sticks out the most is the automobile. Owning an automobile unquestionably costs thousands a year.  If you look at this page from the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index, you can see that in Detroit, it may be just as cheap or cheaper to live in a sprawling area, but if you add in transportation costs, it becomes immediately more expensive to live in unplanned territories.  This is largely because of cars. Even driving less will significantly decrease amount of fuel used and maintenance needed.

Let’s remember the price of place. How much is a place like this worth?

 TODLet’s face it: this may have cost a lot of money to build, but now it’s a tourist destination. It’s going to make a lot of money from now on. Just from being a cool place. Big box stores make money as franchises, but there is no tourist attraction to make money based on place. It’s all based on the products. Those big box stores are thus subject to the housing  demographic patterns, not vice versa. And what is guiding the residential demographic? The wind? Nothing? Places that aren’t places will lose money.

Housing, too, seems cheaper in the suburbs–which is happy for people who want to own a home and not rent. But actually, suburban areas are subsidized: even though suburbanites pay on average $350 less than apartment dwellers on municipal costs, they should be paying over $1000 more. Why does it always have to be single-family home vs. apartment? Can’t there be other options for dwelling ownership in better-planned areas?

So when we’re thinking about what needs to be done to certain places, why we’d want to be certain places, or how we should rank places, maybe we should take into consideration as many aspects as possible. Aesthetics, economics, environmental impact, social impact, and all the possibilities of that area.

Follow Up: What I'm Doing about my Last Post

Negative thinking is dangerous. After my last post about how hard the job market is right now, I slumped into a mini-depression and my thinking spiraled down the Negative Tunnel. Not good.

To get out of these spirals, I recommend changing something. You could change your outfit, your activity (take a walk?), setting, volume (scream “STOP!” at yourself), or even your mind.

I chose to change my setting: I went to the library!

This did not get me out of my bad “I’ll never find a job!” mood–at least not until I got back from the library with six books, three about urban planning, and three about job-hunting. Here’s the one that helped me immediately.


How to Find Those Hidden Jobs by Violet Moreton Cooper

The career services at my college quoted this book in one of its handouts.  It follows the patterns of many career-help books by helping you find your skills, etc., but the way it’s written changed my pattern of thinking about job-finding. The routine I’ve sunken into for finding jobs isn’t bad, but it hasn’t worked yet and there are still many other tips to try. For someone like me who isn’t specialized for a specific job, it helps me learn the vocabulary to talk about myself to employers. Though I don’t have a ton of work experience, I do have skills that I’m sharpening every day just by living my life to its fullest.

See? Wasn’t that more uplifting? What’s going on in your mind and spirit is more important than your wallet.

Job Searching from a Recent Graduate's Perspective: Mine.

The media constantly talks about the fate of college graduates in this economy. “It’s possible to find a job but it’s a lot more competitive!” the articles say.

No kidding.

Most of my friends are going to graduate school right away. They are not considering finding a summer job, because it’s not worth the effort. High schoolers and college kids have gotten first dibs.

As for people like me, who want to find work before getting my Master’s, it is very hard to even know where to look. The newspaper doesn’t post much, and is only once a week. Craigslist.com and other specific companies’ sites will post job opportunities, but since you have to apply online or e-mail the person, the job seeker often does not get the information about the company that she needs. It feels like a blind process, and you barely ever hear back.

Monster.com is a joke. Other sites like it are a little better, but think of the millions upon millions of people checking this site daily. It’s like internet dating instead of dating in real life. It works sometimes, but wouldn’t everyone just feel better and safer if we could meet face to face?

As for networking, I’m trying. I suppose I could be contacting more people and letting them know that I’m looking for a job. But right now, so are thousands of other college graduates.

The field I want to go into–Urban Planning–is small. There are only a handful of urban planning jobs per city. Because of my major and general widespread interest and ability, I could do many jobs and still achieve what I want to achieve. But it’s hard to know what that is. As an English Major, I can’t just send my resume and cover letter out to tons of companies. I didn’t go to school to learn a specific field like finance or accounting.

People say you can fall back on Walmart and restaurants, but I haven’t had luck with that. Neither has my boyfriend, who applied to all those chains. They see you have a Bachelor’s and know you’re overqualified. They know you won’t stay there long. Yet, the entry-level jobs we’re supposed to be applying for seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Every single job posting I see requires 1-5 years of experience. How can I get experience if I can’t get anything entry-level?

I have applied to probably twenty different jobs, ranging from Subway to writing positions, but I have yet to be contacted back by any of them.

I’m selling plasma to make some cash right now, and other than that I’m waiting and watching. I’m taking this time off to write a novel, self-produce an album of covers, read Ulysses, and help out my family. It’s not just a matter of finding any job. I have to shoot high–I’m not going to get myself stuck working in the mall or factory. I worked too hard in college for that.

Finding a job will likely take awhile. I’m only a month in. I’m definitely not giving up, because some of the opportunities I have seen would have been a perfect fit for me, and I’m excited to find the job that wants me as much as I want it.