Our Individualist and Entitled Attitudes in America Will Result in More Unnecessary Sickness and Death.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, we’ve seen the best and the worst sides of people emerge. A spotlight has been shown on both, America’s kindest and most empathetic, as well as, on the cruel, entitled, and idiotic.
For an example of the best, see Some Good News with John Krasinski. It’ll put a huge smile on your face and potentially bring tears to your eyes.
Within this article though, I am going to focus on the cruel and idiotic, and why we need to shift these behaviors and mindset now, as the state of our society depends on it.
Yesterday in New Jersey, people began gathering outside the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr several hours before it reopened at 8 a.m. The gym was opening, despite defying a state order for non-essential businesses to remain shut down at the moment. The owners have said the decision to resume operations at the members-only facility was not about financial gain, but rather a question of Constitutional rights.
“We truly believe that if we don’t do this, in the end, we will have zero rights and no say in what happens,” co-owner Frank Trumbetti said in a video posted on the gym’s Facebook page.
Trumbetti has said he recently lost a loved one to the coronavirus.
Dozens of people came out to show their support for the gym, with many holding signs critical of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and others waving American flags. Only some were wearing face coverings and most people tightly clustered together on the sidewalk and parking area in front of the gym.
“If they shut us down today, we’ll reopen tomorrow,” co-owner Ian Smith told the cheering crowd. The gym then saw a steady stream of customers as the morning progressed.
This is an example of classic American self-centeredness and idiocy at work, of which there are many more.
Also this week, Wisconsin reopened their businesses, despite the Mayor advising against it. People disregarded his decision and plowed on through it. Since then, we’ve seen photographs of bars, crammed to the brim with people, shoulder to shoulder, and not one of them wearing a mask. The governor’s unilateral “safer at home” order was set to expire May 26, at which point a gradual reopening would continue to take place. Though even that, according to most health experts and researchers, is still way too soon.
People are giving all manner of terrible reasons for not wearing masks to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus: Some claim it’s an infringement of their rights, others think it “won’t really help.” And then one man told an Arizona reporter that wearing a face mask is “submission.”
“It’s muzzling yourself, it looks weak, especially for men,” he said.
This is both, toxic masculinity at its utmost, as well as America’s classic brand of entitlement for which they’ve become known all over the world.
Then we’ve got the protestors, up in arms and furious because they feel that “not being able to go out and about, to wherever they wish” is the Government “trapping” and “controlling them.” They feel it’s an “infringement” on their constitutional rights, not being able to “do as they wish, and when they want to.”
This type of thinking and talk is akin to a toddler stamping his or her feet and wailing “I wanna do what I want! You can’t make me! I want it. Me, me, me!” Because toddlers cannot understand (nor do they care about) the needs or wants of others outside of themselves.
No other country in the world has reacted the way Americans have to the call for social distancing. (Meaning: with mass protests, loads of people getting angry and violent, even storming into state buildings and aggressively confronting law officials, and a widespread refusal to wear masks).
The people who are seriously angry that they cannot go to restaurants like they used to, that they cannot pull together large gatherings of their friends in the park at the moment, and that they need to wear masks in enclosed spaces in order to not potentially spread the disease to others, these are people who are most concerned with themselves and not much with the welfare and wellbeing of others humans. They embody America’s steep sense of individualism and self-focus to the max.
All of the above is also a form of Sociopathy. Sociopathy: someone who cannot understand the feelings of others. These types often break the rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilt or remorse about the pain or harm they cause. They tend to consistently break laws or overstep boundaries, behave without thinking of the consequences, act or speak aggressively routinely, do not act with their own safety or the safety of others in mind, do not have a sense of personal responsibility, and do not feel guilt or remorse.
Americans sunbathing in hoards while thousands of people continue to die every day?
A President trying to “reopen” the economy, despite a boatload of researchers and health experts telling him this is a terrible idea, that it will undermine all our efforts thus far and result in far more death and illness (much of which would be unavoidable)?
All of the above is a combative, snide, in-your-face, entitled and sneering refusal to do anything for the greater good or give an inch for anyone outside of oneself and their immediate wants. It’s also ignorance at its utmost.
We are growing into an incredibly stupid society, to the degree that jaws are dropping all over the world because of it.
Even further, America as a “society” is a past thing. We are collapsing as we speak.
In the words of Umair Haque (Medium writer), the world is divided now into people that believe in society — and people that don’t, those who believe in something more like tribalism, Darwinism, authoritarianism, hate, violence, and rage. That they should be supreme, above all others, that they are the center of the world, that nobody else and nothing else matters but them and their gratification.
In America, personal freedom now means the right to inflict serious and injurious harm to both individuals and a whole society.
It means “what I want” at the cost of other’s wellbeing. The “individual” reigns supreme, at the cost of others surrounding.
America is fracturing and splitting apart amidst all this selfish pushing and pulling over “me” and what I want.
One of the core problems of our public life together right now is that we’re constantly failing to distinguish between politics and civics.
Politics is about the use of power- how it is acquired and who wields it. This is an important topic. However, civics matters more. Civics is about who we are as people. Our framework of shared values and a core set of commitments. We have begun putting politics (the means) before civics (the ends), which is making certain that we don’t get either one of them.
We are no longer a society, a word which implies compassion, care, and having each other’s backs. Society, meaning, to regard one another as equals and exude a sense of thoughtfulness toward our fellow women and men, to act in accordance with this compassion and thoughtfulness.
Instead, America is divided. We are suspicious of one another, hateful, and ever at each other’s throats. We’ve grown mean spirited and me, me, me oriented. And the cost is a steep one. We are seeing it play out right now, in both our Government and here, on the ground, so to speak.
Our entitlement and hyper-individualism are going to cause far more sickness and death than we’ve already seen. And the most heartbreaking part is that many of these people do not actually care (see Sociopathy).
Americans have become angry, combative, and are acting out in defiance toward both one another and “higher-ups.”
We’ve turned inward, to ourselves and “me”, instead of outward and towards each other. Our individualism is too extreme, and it’s ruining us.
As we turn away from the collectivist thought process and away from a sense of society, and away from each other, and toward rampant individualism, selfishness, and delusion, we are corroding public interest and the common good.
This self-revolving interest is especially ruinous during a moment when we most need to pull together, when we most need to turn toward each other rather than against, when we most need to extend helping hands and be willing to give something up for the societal whole, rather than continuing the pursuit of “everything that I want.”
The Government should be offering numerous forms of significant assistance, from funds to medical care and supplies, you name it, during this time. Instead, they toss out a handful of pennies every several weeks or so and expect us to be thankful, as well as, to fare just fine on that.
In the recent words of Donald Trump, “We may lose 100,000 people or so, but death is death. We did a good job.” Is it really any surprise that our country is becoming such a hard-hearted and nasty one with a leader spewing hatred and zero empathy like this?
We are never going to make it out of this pandemic intact, both individually and collectively if we cannot shake ourselves out of this antagonistic, self-serving, paranoid, hateful and wacko mindset.
We are not going to survive, as a society and as individuals, if we do not choose to pursue wisdom and empathy, generosity and bravery, kindness and what is best for the greater good of our society, rather than the meaningless status competition, the staggering sense of entitlement, and the cruelty that we currently choose to indulge and live by.
Wake up, America.
Or else you too will die, wiped out along with the destruction caused to most of our country by COVID-19.