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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Death of America

Dear Readers:

Although there was no credit on the website, I found out it was written by Eric Stamey.

No other comments or notes, just this essay ...., all by itself. (I realize it's rather long, but ya might want to at least read the headlines since this work gets to the heart of the matter of what's wrong with America today!)

Top Ten Destructions of Our Freedom

Reason I. "Not Just Two" The political system in America continues to sour under the false impression that there are just two political systems in America: republican and democratic. Our country has always been based on the idea of a "melting pot," where cultural diversities mix, but, with a two-party system being propagated, it not only kills the voices of all, but ensures that a party will have dominance over the country every few years (as the republicans do now). Of course both of those parties love the position they are in, but it comes at the cost of losing our rights in this democracy. Parties like the Libertarian, Green, Socialist, etc. hold views that some Americans agree with, but why are those parties shunned, especially in national debates? A two-party system is ruining this country and giving an unnatural amount of power to people who run on party affiliation rather than political foresight. A commonly used word, but a rather offensive word if you think about it is "bi-partisan," which means that only two views count! States want you to vote in preliminaries by party and people "choose" which party they should belong to, but you are given only two choices. If I was running a tyrannical government I would love such a system, but America is the land of the free and change should be expected. Thoughts and ideals must be challenged or we will not evolve. Adolf Hitler said, "With us the Leader and the Idea are one, and every party member has to do what the Leader orders." (from Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives) Doesn't that sound like our current political system today? Laws are being passed based on party affiliation rather than American freedom.
Reason II. "Separation of Church and State"
Our forefathers included the ideal of "Separation of Church and State" in the constitution to eliminate the prejudice that some religions contain. As I write this, America is teetering in a dark abyss as the government begins to challenge that church and state should not be separated on issues like abortion, the displaying of the ten commandments, and homosexual marriages. A separation of church and state is important because it lays the basic foundations of freedom, especially the freedom to choose a religion. Both Bill Clinton and George Bush have publicly stated that they are against gay marriage because it is not "right" in "their" understanding of marriage. How sad that political decisions are made on such corrupted emotions; I don't "feel it is right" for one to drink alcohol, but I know it is one's choice to decide to drink or not. I don't take away rights or limit them because I don't agree with it. If America is going to be a true democratic society, then we must accept that there will be ideals and issues we will not agree with because we are not of one culture or religion. That is the beauty of America.
Reason III. "I Want Mine"
Our society has changed in the last 35 years to one that is happy as long as they get their "share." That notion is dangerous because it completely ignores future consequences and hardships. For example, prices for Healthcare have skyrocketed from this idea. Hospitals charge $500 just to walk through a door and think that it doesn't hurt anyone. I've been to doctors who used old x-ray machines that have been paid for, but yet charge the same amount as any doctor would with a new machine. I pay for insurance, pay the fees after procedures, and still get massive bills in the mail saying I owe money. This ideal of "getting mine" is not only a medical problem, it is found everywhere: restaurants, car dealers, the entertainment industry, stores, etc. People want to make a buck in anyway possible, but now it is becoming a scramble to get what you can rather then a collective effort to better our country. Houses worth $100,000 are selling for $300,000 and when the person tries to sell it later they are stuck with a massive hole of debt. Our society has even made laws that we can be charged by a company, like a hospital, and have no recourse to challenge the fee. We are made to pay fees because the companies just want their share despite its unethicalness. A bartering system is more fair because you negotiate your expectations instead of being blindly charged, but the "Super Powers" don't use such a system. Is it because money is used as political control? Mahatma Gandhi summed it up best when he said, "What is a man if he is not a thief who openly charges as much as he can for the goods he sells?" (from Non-Violence in Peace and War)
Reason IV. "Alienation of the World"
Our alienation from the world comes from our stubbornness. As an illustration, take a mother who tells her child to date a certain person, but the child will disobey his mother because his mind is already made up and the idea of disobedience makes him more motivated. America did the same thing with the attack of Iraq. Our friends around the world told us to sit back and examine the evidence more closely before a rash decision. What did we do? Criticize them and start selling "freedom fries." If only we would have listened to them: now the US is stuck in a death zone and can't get out of it, Saddam didn't have any weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq had nothing to do with Bin Laden. Our concept that "if it is American, then it is right" is all wrong. Movies, cars, and tv shows prove that point easily. In order for any culture to survive it must synergize and base its country on principles. Our history books detail many powerful cultures that have witnessed demise from isolating themselves from the ideals of others around the world. Iraq proves that power doesn't equal rightness, and in fact, the situation in Iraq has also exposed that the US military muscle is just a myth and can be challenged. Decisions on Iraq were based on "feeling" not principle, coupled with ignoring the proper laws of America for war. We now find ourselves in such a bloody dilema. The answer: apologize and remove the troops.
Reason V. "Trying to Prevent Evolution"
Change is necessary. Our world has experienced many changes in its short life, but, out of egotism and fear of a majorital change, we are trying to prevent this natural evolution of America. Even as we live in the hiatus of an ice age we try to "insure" that things stay the same. We must allow our minds to adapt to change instead of fearing it. We look for the government to make sure change does not take place such as electric companies that experience a cut in profits because the weather has been cooler or warmer. They will raise rates to keep their profits in check, but a farmer has to either come up with an alternative quickly if his profits decrease or sell his farm. We need to let evolution take its place rather than allowing the same old thing continue to thrive on its wobbly wheels. Banks charge ATM fees, but now that most people are converting to using debit cards, they want to charge more for ATM fees since they are down. A lowering in ATM fees should be a sign that maybe they are evolving away, but instead we punish those that have to still use the ATM because a compnay doesn't want to address profit loss. Competition is based on evolutionary processes, but companies are using Congress to try and avoid the inevitable. Regulations to help companies prosper without the competitive market pressure are morally and ethically wrong. Big Money must evolve naturally, too, and not depend on Congress to lessen their profit loss. 
Reason VI. "Our Society’s Addiction to Soda"
Sugar-infested, carbonated sodas have completely changed our society in many ways. With the invention of Coca-Cola in the late 1800’s, America’s food consumption began to morph and become infiltrated by commercialization. I believe that carbonated sodas mark the distinct point where our society began to endure the mass-marketing campaigns that plaque us now, but these ad campaigns foster our addictions to their sugared, carbonated-watered, caffeinated concoctions. Our country tries to be very anti-drug oriented, but yet we allow other drugs that we can’t live without to continue in legal distribution (such as nicotine and alcohol). Carbonated sodas, infused with sugar and caffeine, are the most damaging, I think. It would seem that a business set on feeding the addictions of Americans would be challenged and disassembled, but in America the love of carbonated drinks grows, and we spread our love of the drink around the world to other cultures. It is ridiculous that a gallon of gas costs $1.99 and a 20 ounce soda costs $1.49. Such price inflation for a product that is only made from sugared-water contributes to the steady incline of profits that soda companies experience each year. These companies also have a history of trying to manipulate advertising or thwarting labor unions, all in an effort to distribute their drug to more addicts. In South America one soda company has murdered people in their own plant because they tried to become president of the local labor force. We are shamed when we buy a shirt produced from an Asian sweat shop, but we don’t think twice about downing a product that has a history of addiction, murder, and health problems. Many school districts know the drinks are harmful to their students’ health, but can’t get the soda machines pulled from their schools because the companies dangle money before them in the form of machine-use percentages. Soda, a product that we know causes tooth decay, loss of bone density, type II diabetes, kidney stones, and many other ailments, continues to be marketed to our children, but the company’s answer is not to pull their products from our children’s reach, but to offer diet sodas, which also pose many health risks themselves, with their mysterious sugar substitutes. To help establish a tangible view of our addiction to soda, try withholding your soda intake for ten days. Saying “no” to a product that has been ingrained in your sensibilities since your birth may prove be difficult, but in time, I am sure you will find it is an addiction you can win. 
Reason VII. "A Diet of Lies and Anger"
All around us are lies and it has become acceptable to lie or just deny, deny, deny. Commercials, books, and newspapers randomnly float out lies for entertainment or to propagate fear. It has come to a point that truthfulness has become boring and weak, where as Americans seem to find humor and entertainment in the lies spread in print and video media. Commercials are based on anger and lies. A three minute commercial break shows our perverse nature in seeing others harmed, cheated, and jipped. I saw a commercial the other day and it had a stock trade official showing that as a kid, he built a huge luxury tree house to out do his friends' efforts. It was a lie and it didn't even need to be used; its only effect was to humor the viewer. News, of course, has been centered in anger and lies for a very long time. Stations battle over the big story for ratings and risk spreading non truths or casting guilt to just get viewership. Almost all news programs magnify the rare violence in our society, but rarely glorify the good. It is all for the name of entertainment. "Practice makes permanent." In our society the practice of lying and propagating anger is making a permanent place in the hearts of our countrymen and women. Magnifying the wrongs of our culture teaches the society that it is the proper way to respond, and, therefore, leads to more crimes against humanity.
Reason VIII. "Amused to Death"
America, from its technological advances and multi-billion dollar entertainment companies, has learned to sit back and expect to be entertained. School children want their teachers to dance like a clown in the class or have their teachers use some form of media entertainment in the classroom to teach the material. People look through their car windows at devastation on highways like it is a television program, or they view the casualties of war as a video game. Americans find that any moment without some technological reinforcement is wasted time. People carry portable devices, like cell phones and PDAs, to connect them to the internet wherever they go. A home with a broken television can be likened to an imprisonment. Our addictions to entertainment are recognized by the industry who charge outrageous amounts for media, equipment, and commercials. They know that our hunger to be entertained is outweighed by our hunger for individuality. Entertainment has also made us into "walking billboards" that spread the entertainment creature to others with the clothes and products that we wear and consume. Entertainment becomes extremely dangerous when it subjects the viewer to innate passiveness. When entertainment becomes a weapon that spreads the apathy of individualsim, then it becomes a threat to our democracy because the voices of our country are being silenced. There is nothing more dangerous than a nonparticipating democracy.
Reason IX. "Against the Grain of Nature"
Humans are losing their sense of nature. There are some people who probably go months at a time not even stepping on earth: they get up and walk across carpet, walk down their car ports, drive to work, walk across the parking lot, walk across the carpeted or laminated office floor, and then reverse the process. We find comfort when we let nature back into our lives. A simple walk in the woods or a swim in the lake can bring happiness quicker and more abundant then watching TV or playing video games. However, we are structuring our lives away from nature and that chasm breeds anger. We also lie to ourselves that we can "make" people go against nature with laws, and the people who do not follow the law are "bad Americans". The human is not a monogamous animal, but we try to produce a change through societal law. The body yearns for cold water, but we push down sugary drinks because the icon on tv tells us to. In cities it can be hard to find a patch of grass, and we are not always allowed to play on that grass if we do find it. Apologies are a natural phenomenon, but our country is becoming where if you make a mistake such as in a car wreck or doing your taxes, you will be punished in such a way that can destroy everything you know. Our natural tendency is to experiment, but it is becoming very difficult to do any kind of experimentation in today's litigating society. If airplanes were have been invented in 2005 they would be so weighed down with regulations that no one would have been able to continue to test run a plane. That shows our society is becoming one of suffocating ideals.
Reason X. "Agrarian Education"
Our schools still run on an out-dated agrarian schedule, although some districts are beginning to experiment with year-round schedules. Our children do not need summers off anymore to plant and harvest farms like they did over a hundred years ago. I am not trying to work the children of America or our teachers to death, which seems to be some people's first response, but rather I am trying to see an end to the idea of receiving an education in between "breaks". A child begins to live from summer break to Thanksgiving break to Christmas break to Spring Break and back to summer break again. Our schools should be year-round to mimic the real-world work force. Once a student graduates into adult society, they must contend with the new emotion of now having no summers off. Great schools around the world go year-round, and often six days a week. The benefit of a non-agrarian school year is that education can be maximized and children could finish school in less than twelve years like other countries do. Student angst and lethargy comes from the visions of upsoming breaks combined with the pressure of long, repetitive school years. It is a recipe for disaster as our educational system clearly shows in comparison with other countries. Education must regain its sense of value or the system will continue to flounder as its policymakers continue to pump money and ever changing philosophies into a dying system.