USA! USA! I was a big fan of pro-wrestling growing up, and I still enjoy watching DVDs of the 'classic' era of WWE (WWF) and WCW. There's always been a stereotype of wrestling fans as ignorant hicks, and unfortunately sometimes the crowds play up to that stereotype. One of the dumbest things I've ever seen is when an audience broke out into a "USA" chant during a match between Japanese and Canadian combatants.
But today I'm not writing about wrestling; I've done that before (and I may again, but not today). Today I'm writing about 'American Pride', and my reasons for thinking that it's bullshit...
Similar to the "USA" chant, people like to display their American Pride on their automobiles. One of my favorites is the "These Colors Don't Run" sticker, which is often faded, ironically. The best I've seen by far (and I think I've mentioned this on the blog before) was the "United We Stand" sticker I saw on somebody's truck. The sticker was right next to a Confederate flag. Apparently this person was unaware of what took place during The Civil War. But reading is for nerds and queers.
Speaking of which, did you know America is rated 17th in education amongst developed countries? We pride ourselves on being the best country in the world, but if what I know about ranking systems is correct, 17th is not the best. 17th is far from the best. That's like 16 slots behind the best, by my calculation. People are petitioning online to get Ben Affleck fired from the role of Batman. I'm not really satisfied by the casting announcement, but how about spending all that time and energy petitioning the government to put less money into the military and more into education? How about petitioning to get GMOs banned so we can eat poison-free food for a change? If people were half as concerned about the legitimate issues this country is facing as they are about what Miley Cirus did at the VMAs, we'd all be better off.
Our media is part of the problem. The focus always seems to be on celebrities, sex scandals, sports, and viral videos of cute kids or animals. "News" in our country has become a 24-hour-a-day, money-making entertainment conglomerate, the opposite of what news is supposed to be. The cable news networks, rather than seeking out the truth to benefit their viewers, have built up an "us vs. them" mentality. They wait for a rival network to make the slightest gaff so they can pounce on it and thump their chests proudly. Can a news team that spends most of their time scrutinizing another news team really be doing their best to report important, relevant information? Important, relevant information doesn't garner enough ratings, which means less advertising, which means less money.
Money is another problem. I'm not a socialist or a communist or anything else along those lines. I don't believe all of the nation's wealth should go into one giant pot to be distributed equally to everyone. But I do think it's ridiculous how much money CEOs and other snake-like individuals make. I used to work for a company called Dex One. When one of our CEOs (Dave Swanson) sank the company into bankruptcy and got us booted off the stock exchange for continuously maintaining a stock price below a dollar, was he shamefully called out for his actions and fired for doing such a shitty job? Nope! He was rewarded with a 17 million dollar bonus package (on top of the millions he was already pulling in) and jumped off the crashing plane of a company, free to float away strapped to his golden parachute. So, a guy who destroyed the company made more money as a bonus for destroying the company than I would have made if I worked for them my whole life. If I was a werewolf (I'm not admitting to that!) and I worked there for 20 lifetimes, I still probably wouldn't get anywhere near that much money. And I knew how to do my job. But in the end it didn't matter anyhow, because my job was outsourced.
Having my job outsourced certainly doesn't make me unique in this country. Talk to a random handful of people and I guarantee at least a few of them lost their jobs the same way. People in this country have the gall to complain about the unemployed and the welfare cases, but none of them are willing to take a minute to think about what's causing so much unemployment and reliance on welfare. Barking "Get a job!!" isn't a solution, because the people who are hiring pay laughable wages. When Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry he payed his employees double the country's average wages, building up the middle class and providing a better life for those lucky enough to work for his company. Fast forward nearly 100 years. I work for a car company, let's call it Adzam so I don't have to name names, which is actually in a partnership with Ford. At the end of the week, after five days of coming home drained from busting my ass, I don't bring home enough money to pay my rent and all of my bills. People look at the past as if its people were unfortunate souls without modern conveniences like iPhones, 24-hour drive-thrus, or Snuggies. But if you look at it from the same angle as me, you can see that we've sure gone downhill in the last 100 years.
I know there's no magic solutions to make all of our problems go away, but living in ignorance is not only making life worse for all of us who are here now, it will have negative consequences that will ripple into the future. For the sake of your grandchildren and their grandchildren, open a book! Dig for the truth! Demand more from our so-called leaders!
I really don't know how to fix everything that is broken in our country, but I can point to a precise starting point: admitting that USA! USA! isn't #1. Once we all come to terms with the fact that we've fallen embarrassingly behind in education, production, and even social progress, we can start taking the steps to make things better. You can't start working your way to the top if you're deluding yourself into thinking you're still the best. America needs to admit to itself, and the world, what it really is: a nation birthed in the blood of an indigenous people, built by slave labor, ruled by hypocrisy, and maintained by hysteria, finger-pointing, and false pride. Only after we admit this can we become determined to be something better. If we continue to rest on our laurels and pretend we live in a fairy-tale wonderland, we'll continue sliding downhill until, inevitably, we meet the same fate as many once-great civilizations before us.
Our 'leaders' certainly aren't going to make us a better, stronger nation. It's up to the people. I'm just hoping there's an off week where the Kardashians, the royal baby, and Mike Tyson don't do anything "newsworthy", so everyone has time to read about matters that actually have consequences. Maybe I'm pipe-dreaming. Anyway, I'd love it if we'd put a hold on 'American Pride' until we actually had something to be proud about.