To be a good American is to be a contributing member of society. And to be a contributing member of society means being a functioning part of America’s commercial engine. At our core, all Americans are resources of money. Pie charts that everyone wants a piece of. Restaurants, Doctors, Lawyers, Car Makers, Tax Collectors, Cable Companies, Computer Companies, Hollywood – you name it, to them we are all just these little pockets of oil that they mine. Valuable, but exhaustible resources.
You could argue that by keeping our nose to the grindstone we’re helping each other out by contributing to the commercial engine – but really, haven’t we learned that greed gets the best of men and that most corporations (even hospitals) can’t really be trusted? No, there’s virtually no equity in the distribution of wealth in America for good reason. We live in a system that teaches us to go hard after what we want. Only, we never really get it. And if “it” is the accumulation of wealth and material possessions, then we really have failed as a nation. As a result of going to work every day to help pay bills, our commitment to ourselves in this country has changed. It’s no longer about actually taking care of one other – it’s about being part of a machine. In the end, the best thing we can do with our lives as Americans is get out there on that oil rig and sell our time like everyone else – avoiding what is really important in life to focus on profit and financial security. And if you do this really well, you can take a helicopter back to the mainland for two weeks. Obesity, as it turns out, is a side effect of the failed idea of the American Dream.
So get out there and do your part. Because when you earn money, you’ve got money to spend. And when you spend, you are contributing to the welfare of everyone else who is willing to put aside real priorities for contrived ones. You’ve only got so much time. So much usefulness. Contribute and prosper. Stop contributing, and be cast aside. This is why vagrants and nomads are looked upon with such disdain. We don’t see them as a symbol of a broken system, we see them as a symbol of what happens when you’re not doing your part. They choose not to sacrifice. Not to contribute. And they deserve their fate. You’ll throw them some change from the ashtray every once in a while, but because you see the same guy every day at the same intersection, you know damn well he’s driving a Mercedes. He’s just drilling for oil like everyone else.
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Apr 29, 2012
I’ve recently concluded that I approached life incorrectly, or rather, with a singular purpose. I wish that I had been more focused on what I could give to the world, rather than what I could get from the world. Fortunately I have approx. 38 years to course correct.
Apr 30, 2012
As always thought provoking and in my opinion right on the money – pun intended.
It’s taken a long time and I’m still a sucker for “stuff” but when I step back and I look at a large number of those “who had it all” and how they have ended up, it’s a clear sign to me that materialism is the Siren’s song.
Family, friends and our fellow man – those connections are the true gauge of a fulfilled, successful life.
That and a great music collection : )
Jun 20, 2012
There’s not all that much that I remember from my intro politics class, but I do remember this. It is built into our system that some people must go without in order for most to go with. Otherwise the system stagnates and slowly declines.
Understanding this, it becomes everyone’s responsibility to help those who the system casts out. Because without them there’s a possibility that would be us.
The Haze | Obsessed with Conformity
Jul 9, 2012
[…] despite our heavy hearts leaving paradise. I thought about how the haze was a perfect metaphor for the machine of American life. And when we landed, I […]