Powerball Fever: The Disease of the Middle Class
The American obsession with money has been present throughout our history. The media — whether it be news networks like CNN or entertainment channels like MTV — teach our society that greed is good. We’re force-fed wealthy propaganda, seeing stories and advertisements for the “best cars”, “most expensive colognes and perfumes”, “great shoes”. People proudly show off their wealth on television, a nonstop wave of new-age Hollywood movies glorify the lifestyles of the elite men and women of America, and American politics have proven time and time again that money is behind anything. Then we have the dreaded Powerball lottery.
Internet ads and scam emails are filled with motivational speakers trying to teach the public to be “successful” and “rich” (for the low, low price of three installments of $60 and the last four digits of your social security number!). Televangelists, the prosperity pastors — the absolute, bottom-feeding scum of the world of faith — live in massive mansions counting their millions that they’ve bled from their blind listeners. We, as a society, want more. We demand material possessions — judging each other’s choice of clothes, shoes, car, everything.
Money is an obsession in American culture. The capitalism-gone-wrong scenario that has stormed the nation has led us away from enjoying life as it is. Human greed makes us want more, desire more than we could ever have, and take risks to get to the top. In this version of capitalism — where the top 1% controls more wealth than the entire society beneath them — you do not control your life. Money does.
And that’s exactly what’s wrong with Powerball — the largest lottery hosted in America.
It seems like literally everyone within America has been obsessed with Powerball, with pictures of people showing off hundreds of tickets they’ve purchased dawning the front page of social media. Of course, why wouldn’t people try? The hopes of winning the lottery’s largest jackpot in history — an astonishing $1.5 billion — is the epitome of the American dream: to get rich, get rich quick, and show everyone just how rich you are. Office workers are dreaming of cussing out their coworkers and bosses before trashing their cubical and leaving with middle fingers held high. Then they’ll have poor investments — maybe buy thirty yachts just because they can or spend it all on cocaine within three days — and be screwed out of a job. Maybe they’ll be forced to have a “small loan” of a million dollars.
But that’s it. The American mindset when it comes to anything these days. Think later, have now. Finances later, desires now. Ask questions later, shoot the unarmed black boy now. Worry about who has the nuclear launch codes later, Make America Great Again now.
Why try to fix our crumbling infrastructure, lower our increasingly rising debts, improve our poverty rate, redesign our mental health system, try to find the cure to cancer, combat the massive wealth gap, address the issues of new reusable energy sources, or readjust the failing education system when we can make one to three people become new members of the wealthy establishment? Why do any of those things when we can gamble our lives away hoping to be the one lucky person to pay a shit ton of federal taxes?
While Republican establishment members like Jeb! Bush are hoping to stand on top of a platform of poverty, slashing benefits and ending support, the idea of Powerball is burning away at the pockets of the American middle class. People have been more obsessed with the idea of being lucky enough to be handed $1.5 billion dollars than fixing the problems that are slowly picking away at the states.
You have a one in four chance of getting in a car accident because of texting and driving. Yet everyone texts and drives, believing that it could never in a million years happen to them. With a one-in-292-million chance of winning the top prize of $1.5 billion, everyone suddenly believes it could happen to them?