American’s Degree of Greed Can Be Glimpsed In These Supposed Toilet Paper Outages.

This needs to change, or we will be in even deeper sh*t than we are now.

image by Jasmin Sessler from Unsplash.com

How is it possible that suddenly, the entire country is out of toilet paper? That all supplies have been truly exhausted? There is no way that all the toilet paper in the country has actually been used up and that there exists no more.

Instead, the truth is this:

A group of especially self-centered, out-for-themselves, greedy individuals have gone to the store, bought upwards of thirty, forty or fifty rolls when they were able to do so, and cleaned out the store. They now have it all stockpiled in their house while the rest of us are left with almost none. That is the reality.

Same thing for boxes of pasta. Same thing for hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

How do I know this is true?

Because, while there are, of course, many empathetic, kind-hearted Americans, there are even more narcissistic, selfish, greedy ones. The toilet paper thing proves it and is just one sign of this.

There is a culture of cruelty that abounds here in the U.S.

Case in point: I’ve been on crutches and in a medical boot for the last three months. When out and about, there are a few people who smile warmly at me, who open doors, who move out of the way and make room for my passing, who attempt to assist. However, it is a sad thing that this is the exception. The norm and rule? People who do not even look at me at all. Those who stand their ground and cannot be bothered to move, who let the door slam in my face, who push past, who stare and just watch me struggle. A small example of our hearts that lack empathy, though a symbolic one.

Per the sobering words and insights of umair haque, “American cruelty is both legendary — and one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries. Just why would people in a rich country leave their neighbors to die for a lack of basic medicine, their young without good jobs or retirements, make their elderly work until their dying day, cripple students with lifelong debt, charge new mothers half of average income just to have a baby — not to mention, shrug when their kids begin massacring each other at school?”

These mindsets begin in our government, and trickle down to its citizens.

America is not a place in which public interest or a priority toward the well-being of its people pervades. Instead, it is one in which the opposite is the aura, mindset, and value. People in America are individualistic, out for themselves, and often unkind. This includes government, and citizens alike. We do not structure our society as one which has the best interests of human beings at heart.

Instead, we structure it so that a lot of its citizens struggle. And as a result, people have grown hard hearted and selfish.

When a country’s citizens know they are on their own? That their government will do nothing to assist during times of crisis? That it is every man and woman for themselves? This creates a sense of distrust in that society, a lack of empathy, and distance between people.

The American economy, specifically, is all about capitalism and money. They do not care about their people. Not really. They care about profit, money, and products. They care about stocks plummeting. That is, apparently, a worthwhile article of news, even as a pandemic sweeps the world, killing people off and leaving people homeless and struggling in its wake.

In other rich countries, some of their money goes to the well-being of its citizens. Not much of that happens here in America though.

We are quickly learning here that, in our capitalist society, the expendable thing is humans. Our government doesn’t have our backs.

If they did, they would be churning out testing for the Coronavirus. Instead, they’ve been doing the exact opposite. If they cared about the welfare of their people, they would have already enacted some kind of bill which promises people’s jobs are held for them until all of this is over. For companies which need to close temporarily, such as restaurants, employees would be assured of their employment on re-opening. Further, the government would find a way to funnel money to people not making an income right now in the meantime. They’ve “promised” stimulus checks, though as of right now, these are just talk.

Speaking of which, how on earth is $1,000 or even $2,000 going to be enough, a one time payout, for say, a family of four and the parents of which are not currently bringing in money? That money will last maybe one month. That’s it. This is not a sustainable sum. It will not hold anyone over for longer than a few weeks. And then, they plunge back into uncertainty and poverty once more. There is also a decent chance they will be unemployed by that point, which also means, without health insurance.

To me, this “stimulus” money is a means by which Trump is trying to make himself look good. “See, I am a nice guy, I am a good President who cares about people, I am tossing some money their way.” This is his hope in what people will take from this. However, what he is offering? It isn’t nearly enough. Simple minds will excite over the “free money”, while deeper thinkers will look closer and see that in the grand scheme of things, while it is something, it is ultimately almost nothing.

You know what is mind blowing? Pakistan’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak has been, according to the World Health Organization, close to the top of the charts. You know who’s responses have been at the bottom? America and the U.K.

Pakistan — a broke, underdeveloped nation, which fights for democracy is at the top. Yet, a rich nation like America? They cannot even see one another amidst the great distance which lies between their responses to this all.

Alongside our failed government response, we live in a rule-bound bureaucracy. And the reason this continues perpetuating and will never improve? Because no one dares step outside the box and go against the often illogical and un-altruistic “rules.” Instead, they follow along, heads down and dutiful.

Why are so many of us cowards? We do we blindly follow? Why doesn’t anyone dare to break the mold and trailblaze? Our government continues to fail us. We could push back though and choose to be kinder, more human, to extend ourselves for the goodwill of others. And, to fight back against our horrible excuse of a government.

Research shows that bad behavior spreads. That it is contagious. This is likely similar to heartfelt, empathetic, and altruistic behavior. Witnessing kindness, empathy, and courageous acts in others often inspires the best in each of us to come out. We feel awed, impressed, and then drawn toward acting similarly.

So, if your organization has the money during this time, why not turn away from some of the “rules” of your organization and impose some new ones? Let your employees keep their jobs in this time of uncertainty. If you can afford to pay them, do so. Emotional and mental well-being, physical health, and lives depend on it. And if you legitimately cannot afford to keep paying your employees, assure them that their job is waiting for them upon reopening or their return. Extend yourself in these ways for others. It can make or break the trajectory of their life, in the meantime. If you can offer someone work who needs it, do so.

If you have some extra toilet paper to spare, do so. Do not clean out the shelf at the grocery store. Take a few of one item and leave the rest for other humans like yourselves. You know, people just like you? Who also want to eat and who also have needs.

Since we cannot rely on our government to do jack sh*t for its citizens, it’s up to us to step up to the plate. And so far, as a collective whole, we aren’t doing great. The toilet paper hoarding is a prime example.

Folks, just because our culture behaves and thinks in a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s the right or good one. Just because we are urged toward acting in particular ways do not mean these help in the creating of a well-functioning, happy, or healthy society.

You’d have to be blind at this point to not see how far gone and off the rails our government, and as a result, much of American society has gone. We can shift this though. The power lies in each of you, and the choices you make each and every day.

Remember this, the next time you go grocery shopping. When you go to let an employee know that you aren’t going to pay them for being out sick for “so long.” When you push past someone in a wheelchair or on crutches. Or when you decide not to make space or room for someone (financially, work-wise, or emotionally) where in reality, you could.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

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