Well, isn’t it ironic …

Rory Geraghty

Irony is an intriguing complexity.

The word itself can be defined as the outcome of events contrary to what was expected or using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of or different from its literal meaning.

Sometimes irony is confused with coincidence, which can be defined as an occurrence of two events simultaneously by mere chance. Coincidences can be ironic, but the words are not one in the same.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit New York, N.Y. It was not my first visit, nor will it be my last. However, this particular trip was the first time that I noticed true irony before my eyes, right there on the street.

Anyone who has visited the Big Apple understands that homeless people are part of the city structure. Some people look at the homeless with disdain; others with sadness and others with anger. For the first time, I saw something completely different.

I saw irony.

Irony in the human form.

In the United States of America, especially in a city like New York, it is truly ironic that we even have homeless people. This discussion usually becomes partisan in nature, but that is not the point. The point is that we have fellow Americans, fellow humans, who are unable to sustain their own well-being, even though they live in arguably the richest country in the world.

That’s ironic.

The late Tupac Shakur once said that he couldn’t understand why there are homeless people in Washington D.C. when then-President Ronald Reagan had so many open rooms in the White House. Obviously using a bit of hyperbole to prove his point, Shakur clearly was not insisting that the White House become a homeless shelter. However, the irony in his statement works wonders in terms of macro-level thinking.

As a people, we have so much to give. Yet, we truly give so little.

It is not all about giving money. It is about giving true opportunity. It is about giving true social mobility. It is about giving true freedom.

Our current Commander in Chief, George W. Bush, is known for waxing poetic about being “freedom fighters” and other similarly patriotic ideals when asked to describe our global presence. How can we truly support the spread of freedom abroad under American leadership when we cannot even get the kinks ironed out in our own country?

In his song “Rule,” rapper Nas says “‘Cause, everybody wants a shot, in this land of opportunity/ Look at what this country’s got/ There shouldn’t be nobody homeless/ How can the president fix other problems when he ain’t fixed home yet?”

Socially conscious musical artists are not a new breed. We are in an age where radio-friendly music dominates the scene. The true artists are still making music that sends a message.

It is ironic that hip-hop, a genre that took a public relations beating early in its development, continues to point out many of the injustices in society.

A little too ironic, don’t ya think?

Rory Geraghty is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].