Greyson Holliday is co-president of the Young Socialists Club at Rock Bridge High School.
It's an outrage. An absolute abomination. The fact that people's living conditions in the best country on Earth can vary between pampered luxury and hopeless poverty disgusted me. Something had to be done. Those were my thoughts after returning from a mission trip with my church to the heart of Appalachia, arguably the poorest place in the country. Jobs were scarce, misery and depression were high, and the people there were surviving with less resources and amenities than I could ever imagine.
It was this experience that spurred me to, along with some friends, start the Young Socialists Club at Rock Bridge High School. We wanted to do something meaningful in the wake of our experiences in Appalachia, and to us, starting a socialists club could raise awareness to programs that are dedicated to helping the less fortunate. In my opinion, socialism is a legitimate option to some of the problems our country was facing, and an option that was too often ignored, feared or misunderstood. Socialism, simply is the government stepping into private enterprise and regulating or setting boundaries they cannot cross.
Sound oppressive? Well the next time you drive on a public road, eat a hamburger without fear of contamination, or are protected by our nationalized military, you can see socialism at work, right here in America. The United States is not a capitalist society, rather we are a mixed market economy. We allow the businesses to operate as they wish, privately, while putting in government restrictions to protect the people. Thus, the question is not whether we have socialism or capitalism, it's how much of each do we want. That is a question the American people have to answer.
Sadly, discussions with differing points of view seem to become increasingly heated, partisan and less productive as the gridlock in Washington grows fiercer by the day. The Young Socialists Club chooses to operate differently. We believe that no one side of an issue has the whole answer, and that unity will and should always win the day. We believe that socialism and capitalism in their purest form are equally oppressive and harmful to a society. Our goals, then, are to educate people about what socialism really is and to foster a sense of political cooperation that we believe is too often absent from our society's sphere of public discourse.
One effort to do that is an event we have hosted the last three years called Clean Up Rock Bridge. In addition to cleaning up trash around our school, we defiantly prove to the world that differing political ideologies can work in tandem to accomplish a common good. You see, we don’t clean up Rock Bridge ourselves. The Young Republicans, Young Democrats, Young Philosophers, and Political Issues clubs assisted us. And I can truly say that I am proud of what we have done. I believe that this sense of friendliness and unity that we have achieved is due to our willingness to look for common ground.
Our strong belief that differing opinions are a good thing and provide an opportunity for us to get a fuller understanding of the issue at hand is what pushes us to converge rather than separate. And lastly, the simple truth is that rifts among peers because of opposing views provide nothing more than dissension while accepting of differences can encourage production. While the Young Socialists Club may not be able to change a nation, state, or even a town, we hold strong that collaboration is what's needed for success and meaningful change. And while compromise has been seen as a sign of weakness in recent years, I truly affirm that an open attitude is the key for progress.
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