Starkville Ripple Effect

This year has been insane. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been the main facilitator of this year's absurdity. It highlighted the supply faults, general ignorance and failing infrastructure within the U.S. 

Since January, we have been struck with a horrific recession, massive unemployment, shelter-in-place and sanitation mandates and a radically unnerved cultural identity. The death of George Floyd, the impeachment trial of President Trump and endless political feuds of this election year have caused further unease. Hong Kong's democratic protests were simply a precursor to U.S.-centered objections for racial injustice, anti-lockdown sentiments and police brutality. We are living among a powder-keg of irritation with very few methods of stopping oncoming sparks.

Our economy has been hurtling past the cliff, ravine and sharp spikes waiting at the bottom for months now. The Federal Reserve has pumped so many trillions into reducing the impending disaster it makes the 2008 bailout look like an overpriced dinner. Long-term impacts of our decimated class structure, mass unemployment and supply-chain disruptions are yet to be seen. Anyone who claims the stock market is the only major indicator of our economy is not paying attention to the changes made in the last year. 

The Federal Reserve dropped the reserve requirements of the banking sector to 0%. Jack Kelly in Forbes has noted this pandemic has made the richest Americans billions in the last few months. Compare that to the many Americans facing either eviction, unemployment or life-threatening financial hardship due to this situation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, our unemployment rate has shot from 3.5% to over 10%. Now is a terrible time to be graduating college, as the job market has become substantially harder to enter.

As a student, even the idyllic goal of furthering one's education has become rife with unique challenges. This is the most dangerous time to attend classes in modern history. Each day is accompanied by fear, exasperation and shifting attitudes toward our current situation. We have been dealing with sanitation and health concerns for over half a year. 

Thanks to the impatience and relaxing standards of some citizens, our country has become one of the leading hotbeds of new infections and deaths. COVID-19 has left students more anxious and terrified of the future than they already were. This semester, Mississippi State University students have to be ready to swap to online-only classes at a moment's notice. Needless to say, now is a strange and perilous time to be attending school.

Regardless of what happens to our school term, we will still be stuck dealing with a heavily-politicized election year. Starkville is home to endless levels of outspoken ideologies which will only grow more rabid as November draws closer. Factor in the sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service and safety requirements necessary for polling, and we wind up stuck with an idiotic mess. Whatever your chosen political affiliation may be, polling alongside a pandemic is certainly going to offer a new standard of nightmarish proportions. I wish you the best of luck with your ensuing arguments, either with prattling family members or reprehensible peers.

Ultimately, there is no telling if the next few months will be hopeful or horrifying. This pandemic has already destroyed lives, businesses and general expectations for Americans. Lying and saying everything is going to work out fine got us into this mess. Better days only arrive when we recognize our problems. Globalization has given everyone the caustic mindset things are bleak everywhere, yet the case is far from that. This global crisis can only be minimized by acting locally, doing everything one can to improve the situation around them. If we remain aware, hygienic and mindful of our challenges, Starkville and MSU will get through this ordeal.

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