“The American Way” is Precisely Why We’re In This Mess.

But we can change this before it’s too late.

image by Brandon Couch from Unsplash.com

“I’m not wearing a mask. It’s an infringement on my rights.”

“I won’t allow myself to be muzzled. No mask for me.”

“How dare you demand I wear a mask to not potentially spread a virus in order to come into this store. I won’t do it. And you’re a horrible, unfair person for asking such a thing!”

(Even though, the signs on restaurants and stores of days past that indicated “no shirt, no shoes, no service” were never met with such confrontation and psychosis and wearing a mask is essentially the same idea).

Some more examples of this prevailing, toxic attitude, COVID-19 aside.

Throughout my once clean neighborhood in Southie (aka, South Boston), the sidewalks are now littered with trash. Crumpled pieces of paper and plastic. Empty food containers. Beer bottles. Trash is everywhere.

Yesterday, I saw two professional movers helping some young people next door to me with moving out. In carrying our various furniture items, they had dropped huge sheaths of plastic and pieces of trash. I paused, turned to them, and said, “excuse me. Could you please pick up your trash?”

They stared at me blankly. Then one responded, “Um. I don’t know.” A bored, irritated look on his face.

“You don’t know? Just pick it up. It’s terrible for the earth. Thanks.”

I walked away.

The trash was still there that afternoon. I picked it up.

Air conditioning units are another example. This week, the power blew out on my entire street. Why had this happened? I asked Eversource, as several of their trucks lined my street. Because people are running their AC units and central air all day to stay cool, they told me. It was 80 degrees out. Certainly not cool, but very bearable.

According to EchoMENA.org, air conditioners require lots of energy to function properly. It consumes so much electricity and therefore releases pollution. When fossil fuel is burned, carbon dioxide is also released into the air, more commonly known as a greenhouse gas, which is a major contribution to ozone depletion.

The average and typical air conditioner will consume about 3000 to 5000 watts of electricity every hour, depending on the season — the warmer, the more power used. This is clearly very harmful to the environment, as well as extremely expensive. Older air conditioners rely on CFC and HCFC and contribute to global warming in a major way. Even newer models, which rely more on HFCs and HFOs play a large role in ozone depletion.

Some experts predict that by 2050, air conditioners will have contributed 25 percent of the total damage to global warming. One quarter, just from air conditioners alone. This is jaw-dropping.

My street all this week was lined with trucks and generators, running 24 hours a day, for several days on end. No one on the street had power. We were running on city generators. Power was eventually restored after they “beefed up the power,” they told me.

I then walked through my neighborhood several times, on Thursday, Friday, as well as this morning. Thursday and Friday were temperate days, around 70 to 75 degrees. Mild. Lovely. A cool breeze blowing through the air. Definitely not hot. Yet, air conditioners hanging out of every window, and most of them were humming along, cranking it out, and remained on the entire time.

Why?

Because American’s prioritize their immediate comfort and their wants over the long-term, big picture. They want what they want when they want it. Damned if they will be uncomfortable. They are doing to sit in their icy living rooms with a cool glass in hand, parked in front of their televisions, and they will be comfortable doing it. Not a bead of sweat to be seen here.

This is why we are experiencing climate cancer.

This is why, within the next 20 to 30 years, the earth is going to fail.

It already is.

Soon to come though: Tornados. Hurricanes. Droughts. Famine. Flooding. Mass wildfires that will bleed over into cities. This is what we have to look forward to, and not very far off. And, record heat will continue to climb, and thus, more idiots will crank their air conditioners to cope with it, not realizing the vicious cycle they are playing into and helping create. That it’s getting hotter because we are destroying the earth with our habits. Now we feel that we need air conditioning to “deal with it,” which on certain days, I’d agree with. Yet, the more we use air conditioning, the more global warming ratchets up ever faster.

To save America, and even further, to save the world, we need to decide to be uncomfortable, at times, for the greater good of our society and for the earth.

This can be applied to wearing masks. It can be applied to not having our air conditioner cranking at all hours of the day when it isn’t even that hot out! It can be applied to picking up our trash and putting it in the proper receptacles which is, come on, folks, not that much effort. And it can, of course, be applied to much more.

Unless and until we do this? We are going down.

More examples of American entitlement. People today press their noise readily on others with nary a thought otherwise. No longer when we talk on the phone in public do we hold the phone up to our ear (you know, the way it was invented to be used). Now, many people walk around clutching their electronic block in hand, with their phone call set to speakerphone and thus, an electronic, crackling voice blaring forth from the phone, for all to enjoy who are surrounding. Not.

The person with the phone in hand could not care less about disrupting the peace of those around them. They do not give two hoots about whose sense of respite and quiet they might be shattering, who they might be annoying with their rudeness. The thought no longer even occurs to them to hold the phone up to their ear, which is incredibly weird since that’s how it’s been used for decades.

Why?

“It’s easier to hold it down and put it on speakerphone.”

Is it? How much different is it than holding it up to your ear versus holding it down in your hand? Not much.

Yet, there it is. This attitude of “I do what I want when I want to. I want to do what makes me feel good. I want to be comfortable, and potentially at the cost of other people’s comfort and peace. I do it because it’s ‘easier’ and don’t really think about or care who it bothers. I don’t think about or care about how my behavior affects others. Me, me, me. My rights. You live your best life and I’ll live mine.”

This, my friends, is what at least half of America has become.

Entitlement, lack of intelligence, and laziness are all why America is in freefall.

And it’s why we are being ravaged, eaten alive, consumed by Coronavirus.

It’s also why so many people in this country are disconnected from one another. Miserable. Resentful. Angry.

There are many reasons, but too many of them circle back to this one.

Self-centeredness. Greed. Rugged individualism. Me, me, me.

As most intelligent Americans know by now (and we seem to be a breed in short supply nowadays), we are in deep trouble. It may be, at this point, that America is past saving. It may be that far gone.

It also might not be. But then, that depends on each of you.

Can you see past yourself? Can you choose to actually care about and have thought and consideration toward other human beings? You are not just wearing a mask for you. It’s for the greater good of your world and country. Is that really of such little interest to you?

Life isn’t all about you. Newsflash. It’s a shocking one, eh?

In fact, studies show that people who are altruistic, those who care about and act for others, those who are kind and considerate, those who give to others, they are far happier, more contented, and have better lives overall, than people who are focused on me, me, me, my rights, my feelings, and my wants.

“The American Way” clearly is no longer working. In fact, it’s wildly flawed and is failing miserably. We are a sick country. Physically and emotionally. Maybe it’s time we started looking outward, because those who are the wisest, as well as emotionally mature, they are eager to learn from others.

Other countries have it down. Canada, New Zealand. Several countries in Europe. Sorry, folks, but the “American Way” is not where it’s at. We are the laughing stock of the world at the moment, and for good reason. So, let’s prove them wrong. Let’s show the world we do still have some semblance of a heart and brain. That we can change. That we are capable of growth and wisdom. That we actually do care about one another.

We could make America a better place. But, my friends, this means ditching what we consider “The American Way” and starting over. It means looking to those who are kinder and better than us, to learn from and be inspired by.

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

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