What Has Happened To Us As Americans?

lazyOne of my all-time favorite quotes is that of President John F. Kennedy when he spoke about our initial trip to the moon:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

These words displayed the unbreakable will and drive of the United States.  We chose to embark on something that just a decade before was nothing more than science fiction.  To boldly set a goal to accomplish something humankind had never done before.

What the hell happened to us?

The easy answer is to say money has corrupted politics.  Well, I hate to break it to everyone, but no politician gets elected without getting votes—from us.  So when we all (myself included) complain about politicians, we’re the ones to blame.

But I can’t believe money in politics is what killed the unshakable will of the United States, because you see this within our society outside of politics.

Everything seems to be politically correct.  We shelter people from adversity, guard them from failure and coddle them from anything that might hurt them.

It seems now days nobody fails a test because they didn’t study hard enough, or they were lazy—now they have a “learning disability.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to degrade those who really do suffer from some kind of issue such as ADHD or dyslexia, I’ve just known too many people walking around with some kind of prescription for a “learning disability” when the reality is they were just lazy and had bad study habits.

Hell, you’ve even seen “watering down” within our military.  Talk to a veteran, or someone who’s served for a decent amount of years, and they’ll be the first ones to tell you that even basic training isn’t what it used to be.

Children are no longer allowed to lose.  Trophies are for everyone!

Not when I was a kid.  If you wanted a trophy you worked hard and earned it, you didn’t get one just for participating.  If you didn’t succeed, you worked harder to get better so that the next time, you got that damn plastic trophy.

Heck, children’s sports often don’t even keep score anymore.  It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about playing!  Yeah, maybe for the kids 5 and under, but at some point children need to learn everyone isn’t created equal.  Not everyone wins.  Life does keep score and sometimes you lose.

People don’t talk to each other anymore.  Think about that for a moment.  Human beings often avoid using one of the most basic forms of communication we have—simply talking to one another.  Years and years ago when the phone rang, people answered it.  Then came Caller ID and “phone screening.”  We decided at that moment we would pick and choose who we wanted to talk to and when.

Remember the days when a message on the answering machine was almost exciting?  Then came text messaging, emails and instant messaging.  Now a lot of people only respond to those when they feel like it.  They’re too busy taking self-portraits in their bathroom mirror with their iPhone or snapping Instagram photos of their food.  #BecauseWeAllCare

Hell, we even complain about the quality of our news.  But guess what?  The news is based on ratings.  Ratings are based off what we watch.  If we watched real news stories, read articles containing quality news and demanded actual important information instead of updates on Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy or what girl Justin Beiber was seen with during the last Miami Heat game—we’d get more real news.  If we clicked on and read more articles with in-depth analysis on real issues, instead of clicking on and sharing a link simply because it has a hyped-up sensationalized headline—we’d get more real journalism.

As a country, we have to get our edge back.  We talk a lot about being the “greatest nation on earth.”  Well, we need to start acting like it again.

And while we can bitch and moan about our government and our politicians, often rightfully so, the real change we need starts with us.

We need to challenge ourselves and those around us.  And I think we should all strive to live by those words from President John F. Kennedy and remember that the choices we make in life shouldn’t be chosen because they’re easy—but because they are hard.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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