The “Ideal” American Dream

By: Zeba Haseeb

We are taught at a very young age that the “All American Dream” is something that everyone should strive to pursue to build the perfect life for themselves. The idea of having a wife and kids with a beautiful four bedroom home and a picket fence is supposedly the “ideal” lifestyle that everyone should be living. But what happens to those that aren’t fortunate enough to live a life of nirvana? According to residents of Columbia, S.C. they are meant to be shipped off to some other area where they don’t taint the “perfect” lifestyle for the rest of the citizens that can’t afford this way of living.

The officials of Columbia have decided that any homeless person they see on the streets of their city will be immediately removed to either jail or some type of shelter. In theory, this could help those people find jobs and such by giving them a place to live instead of just on the streets, but if they are forced to do certain jobs and stuck in situations that they can’t get out of, that’s where the problem begins. For most of these homeless men and women, this is the case. Yes, it is great that these homeless shelters are taking in people and starting charitable organizations for them, but they are also forcing them to make appointments and shuttling them from place to place so the people of Columbia don’t have to deal with them.

Their local homeless shelter has no more than 240 beds and yet they insist on trying to fit over 1500 people in the building. Clearly that’s a smart thing to do with people that cannot afford a home rather than letting them be and having them find a home on their own if they can. Not only are the officials of Columbia trying to exterminate the homeless population, but they have also decided to keep guards on the outskirts of their town so that homeless people will not be able to come in. Clearly in their eyes, homelessness is seen as a disease that should not be spread, rather than trying to help these people out in a more productive way.

South Carolina’s employment rate is about 8.1% and Columbia’s alone is about 7.9% (Notte). Instead of focusing on the “beauty” aspect of Columbia, officials should think about helping these people with jobs that can at least help them afford a small apartment for themselves to live in. The whole world cannot live this one “dream” that we are taught to believe as ideal. The United States is full of citizens that make all amounts of money and based on that they all have different dreams. Our job as a country is to help the people; not see them as a virus which should be eliminated.  Ignoring the problem in one city does not solve it as a whole. This unemployment issue will still exist and the best way to decrease the amount of homeless people is to also decrease the unemployment rate.