This is my first entry as a guest Bastard (Yay!), and it isn’t even original. Well, it’s originally my wordage, but it’s partly made up of a comment I made to another thread. While what I wrote before is highly critical of us all, it’s important to recognize that we have ways of changing our realities. We can make our desires known more easily now than we have ever been able to before. We can speak to our leaders and we can speak about them to others, to our newspapers, to our unions and social groups, in our blogs, with our votes, with our buying powers (to name just a few ways) and we can now discover more about their aims than we ever could before. Abundant information is available at the click of a search engine button. Yet, with increased abilities to monitor national and world events, the chances of receiving misinformation increase as well. We can be swayed by the sheer volume of inculcation and manipulation of emotions. It isn’t easy to form opinions and stances that aren’t mostly constructed out of half-truths and party-line promotions.
So, it’s better to maintain constant doubt and incredulity and to expect proof and accountability. It is sensible to ask questions and accept that every answer leaves a more precise answer still possible. It is natural to feel proud of your country’s accomplishments and ideals, but tragic when those same attributes are rendered meaningless by the efforts and yields of those who mostly seek to elevate their financial, social and political positions through manipulation of laws, commerce, information and faith. It is depressing to be made to look a fool for believing others seek only noble outcomes when they all too often do not.
So why do we hesitate to use many of the methods we have to communicate? Are we a nation of mostly apathetic whiners? Are we really so self-centered that a 9/11 style event must happen before we will even contemplate that other fantastic and problematic incidents could be taking place around us? And then, do we too easily decide that schemes such as these are just desperate actions taken by jealous, fanatical fringe groups with dark desires to abolish democracy or promote contrary religious beliefs? Is anything ever really that exactly definable – that black or white?
The problems with America aren’t really the faults of Bush, Cheney, Gore, Kerry, etc. These leaders simply do that which they are allowed, and encouraged, to do. We can vote truly respect-worthy individuals into office. The problem is that we too often cause our leaders to be elected for the wrong reasons, and support them for serving superficial aims. We permit narrow-minded politicians to fool us into thinking they have our best interests in mind, when it is actually their greedy gains they serve. We allow old and bitter, young and naive, men and women to build their political residences at our expenses. We allow our administrative, judicial and legislative branches to fight like children and work like retirees, while their woefully imperfect decisions cause too many of our citizens to go without hope of meaningful livelihood, and children to go hungry and uneducated. None should!
We don’t generally communicate with our public servants until something displeases us, yet special interest cabals are constantly lobbying actively for excessive concessions and rewards. We don’t ask for accountability or experience, but we expect heroes. We proclaim some as heroes even when they clearly are not such. We’ve forgotten that, in order to be decent co-habiting human beings, some need to be encouraged, even required, to be considerate.
We let media moguls saturate our airwaves and periodicals with puffery of poorly gathered information. We allow opinion to be presented as hard fact, which eradicates the lines between information and supposition. We watch “Reality TV” and are often savvy enough to understand that it is replete with false construction and dramatic contrivances, yet our disbeliefs are easily suspended when real world signatures, the events that take place around us, are constantly being manipulated and misrepresented.
The problems we face are there because American citizens don’t care, or not enough, about others. We want easy answers, quick fixes and preferential treatment. We allow corporations to achieve their own avaricious detrimental aims. We often worship actors who present Oscar worthy renditions of universal human struggles, but we abhor in ourselves the humanity they mimic. We want million dollar homes and million dollar paychecks and we want to be treated like kings. We’ve lost sight of the minimum allowances each individual deserves, as though giving sustenance and comforts are shameful things to encourage. Possessions make us happy and while we are using more of the earth’s resources than any other nation, scores of our, and other nation’s citizens, go hungry while living in harsh conditions and climates, where the chances of surviving another day are much less than the chances they should be. We are a shallow, upwardly mobile, superstitious nation of greedy assholes and we are rewarded that which we are willing to cheat, maneuver, and connive for.
We don’t try to see all sides of an issue – we allow our religions, our selfish passions, our prejudices, our Moores and our Limbaughs, to think and speak for us. We don’t want to be bothered with having to give up anything, and even less with having less than the most we can possibly gain – by hook or by crook! We have the power and intelligence to create a better nation and a better mindset. We just don’t want to use our abilities ….yet.
We are gluttons, and we don’t even realize, or refuse to accept, that our lifestyles are not sustainable. We cannot see beyond the present, because we deny the information that tells us where we are likely headed. We cannot have peace of mind because we constantly hunger for power, prestige and financial profit. We attempt to provide democracy for other nations (through invasion) yet we have not proved absolutely that it works for ours, and forcing it on others is against the very spirit of the enterprise.
If what I so hastily wrote seems “off” to anyone, prove to me that I have any of it wrong. I’ve painted with a broad brush and some don’t deserve all the blame I’ve assigned, but we have a lot of selfishly assertive citizens, entrepreneurs and leaders running around mucking up the mix. Imagine what we can change if we task them, and ourselves.
We should recognize that our institutions and formulas offer easy rewards only to some, while forcing the substantial costs on others. There are too many priests, philosophers, politicians and role models who will purposely or unintelligently misinform us as to how we should address vital issues, and only critical and unflagging countenance will allow one to think constructively, outside their spheres of influence. Take a fresh look at how we really are and why. Consider ways we may become a truly great nation, and find ways to help make those visions functional. We can do this!!!!
(Thank-you, Les for the soapbox!)