Archive for the 'Proclamations' Category

Sorry to say, Americans lack common courtesy and empathy.

In 1795, an immigrant complained that “civility cannot be purchased from Americans on any terms; they seem to think it is incompatible with freedom”.  – John F. Kasson

Kasson nailed it over 200 years ago and his message applies today more than ever.  In the rampant, ideologically “patriotic” quest for individualism America has really become a nation of “me time”, “all about me” and “what about me”?  Zero courtesy for others.  Worse, this individualism and lack of respect for others is embraced and promoted by certain ideological groups in the United States.  I owe no one anything.  That is the lame, narcissistic position now embraced by many Americans.

Everyone has an example: the lazy, slow moving women in the check out line taking YOUR time, not hers.  The guy who leaves his car at the crowded pumps so he can spend 20 minutes shopping in the convenience store.  Hell, everyone knows the jackass reducing the flow of traffic because of exercising their “right” to be in the wrong lane.  Americans lack of respect for others might be at an all time high.

At one time in history this type of discourteous behavior created embarrassment, scorn from the community and local society.   I’m embarrassed for them.   I won’t even get into the misuse and tangled use of terms like “socialist” when applied to those who point out you can’t infringe upon the rights of others to exercise your own.  I’m also embarrassed by how across the American landscape people have become so self-absorbed in general.  You are not going to be famous.  You are not as special to society as you believe.  You might be reading this blog and I don’t even know your name, never will.  That is how truly insignificant most of us are.  Go jump from the bow of a ship into the open ocean.  Drive into a class 5 tornado.  Get back to us with your delusions of grandeur and let us know how much material wealth and self image did to save you.  Luckily we will be spared such narrative for despite your perceived invincibility, you are human.  In certain circumstances you will be humbled to death without help from others.

Yet in most American’s minds we are special.  People look towards us because we are wonderful.  We’re Americans, the whole world is filled with envy, or so I’m told.  Most Americans current moment and activity is all they are worried about so hell, it’s all the world should be worried about right?  Because it’s your world.  Um, no dipshit, it’s our world.  Many could do themselves some good by traveling outside their own mental cocoon, usually built as a security blanket, and realize they live and move among others.  Other people who don’t want to wait on you.  Other people who’s time you are wasting.  No, do not “take your time”.  Hurry the fuck up.  Be efficient in your public activities.  Politely and courteously get out of the path of others.

Also stop pretending their is no community.  Margret Thatcher lied.  It’s all around you.  Those people waiting behind you at the checkout line while you dick around, consuming their time – they are part of your community.  Yes you have a right to travel 5MPH under the limit in the slow lane.  I have a right to flip you off and call you a discourteous asshole when you earn it.  Indeed I believe the right many Americans now exercise the most is the right to be a self absorbed asshole…. with a selfie stick.

This all comes down to empathy, (n) “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.  A definition Americans could stand to learn.  Too many now mistakenly think the word empathy is interchangeable with the word pussy.   It is not.  Empathy purveys strength.  If you don’t understand that you have some work to do on your social skills.

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Who isn’t a “hero”?

This one’s gonna fire up the “Fox Holes”.  I might be chased down by patriots in pickup trucks covered in magnetic US flags made in China.

Today I thought of Chris Hayes, an MSNBC anchor who was forced to apologize for a statement he made in 2012 when he said he was uncomfortable using the word “hero” to describe all soldiers returning from active duty.  It’s an apology that was not necessary, pandering to the right all for the sake of media PR.  I’m pretty certain Chris Hayes isn’t genuinely sorry for his statement, nor should he be.  Veteran’s groups went crazy.  I suppose they feel all vets are “heroes”.  Pretentious arrogance anyone?

We are at a point where the word hero has become almost meaningless.  A young volunteer fire fighter who’s never been on a call to a fire: hero. A young EMT who’s never been on a triage call: hero.  Hey kids, want to be a hero?  Get any job in uniform.  Janitor may count at this point, not real sure.  Did I just compare our glorious men and women who serve in uniform to janitors?  Yes I did.  Because they serve in uniform.  Apparently that’s all it takes anymore to achieve “hero” status.  Many of today’s military “heroes” coming home from service were, in fact, janitors.  Stateside telecommunication personnel who saw the most action of their tour during basic training come out of the armed services instant hero’s.  I was at a college basketball game and actually heard an old man thank a young kid in uniform for “being a hero”.  Politely the kid said “thank you sir”.  I asked the kid, who was handing out brochures, what he did.  He was a stateside mechanic before becoming a recruiter.  Stay out of harms way there “hero”.

In the former Soviet Union the title of “Hero” was officially reserved.  If anyone was labeled a hero or called themselves a hero outside of state sanction there was a serious period of incarceration waiting for them.  to earn the title meant you actually had to do something heroic, like oh say… turn the tide of Nazi occupation during WWII.  The first Hero of the Soviet Union was Vasily Zaitsev who killed 225 enemy soldiers in 5 weeks.   Ya, he did a lot more than put on a government uniform and go to work.  So did those honored as hero’s from the US during that same era.  Perhaps for the sake of saving true hero’s from this soup of mediocrity we’ve concocted we should heed this lesson from the Stalinist, Communist era and quit abusing the only word we have in our language to elaborate true heroism.  Reserve it for the real hero’s and don’t dishonor them by equating them to janitors who passed basic training and put on a uniform to earn the honor.

Worst of all, we probably have recently discharged armed forces personnel running around the country right now who are full of themselves and their “hero” status despite having done nothing more than performing the duties of secretary or quarter master.  Many of them are returning to the states and going from “hero” to unemployed the minute they are discharged.  They should not embrace the word hero and we should not bestow it on them because unemployment wasn’t the case for those honored for true acts of heroism in previous generations.  We dishonor our nations true hero’s with our modern abuse of this word.

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