I posted a link to this video on my Facebook page yesterday but wanted to discuss it in a bit more detail here today.
This clip is taken from a new HBO series called The Newsroom. I’ve not seen it myself and, in fact, had no knowledge it even existed until a couple days ago. But I’ve had several people tell me it is one of the best shows out there so I’ll check it out when it hits DVD.
Anyway, here Jeff Daniels is playing some sort of news network head honcho who is engaging in a debate and is asked what makes America the greatest country in the world? His answer is both shocking and thought provoking.
Indeed, is America still the greatest country? I think if you’re talking historically, then the answer is a no brainer. The United States is responsible for the freedom of many, many countries over the last couple hundred years. Our involvement in WWII alone was critically important. Our country’s citizens have been at the forefront of innumerable technological and medical advances. And despite how much we might bitch about things, we still have the freedom to make blog posts like this.
But, are we still great? If we’re just speaking comparatively, we’re still much better off than most other nations. I know I certainly wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I love this country, I truly do. And that is why it so saddens me to see the current state of affairs.
We are a nation of whiners and finger pointers. We can’t ever accept responsibility for our actions.
Overweight? That’s because fast food chains don’t serve healthy food and groceries are chock full of artificial ingredients.
Kids don’t behave? That’s the fault of violent video games and/or a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD.
Feel a little anxiety? Well, just take this little pill and you’ll be fine.
I’m reminded of comedian Christopher Titus. He said, “Did you know you’re supposed to feel anxiety? It is a human emotion and has been around for a million years! You’re supposed to worry about how the rent is gonna be paid because THAT’S HOW THE F&%$ING RENT GETS PAID!
We send our men and women to other countries to fight for their freedom and our own. We reward that sacrifice upon their return home by giving them often shoddy medical care and homelessness.
Our government treats citizens like mushrooms — keeping us in the dark and feeding us crap.
I don’t know, maybe this is all just a sign of my age. I’m in my 40s now and gone is the invincibility of youth, that feeling that I and my country can do no wrong. Even so, I’ve often felt like that curmudgeonly old man down the block, always ranting about “these kids today.” They have no respect and no ambition. I routinely hear kids say things to their parents that would NEVER have been tolerated by my folks.
It seems to me that the life goal for many people is just to be fat, dumb, and happy. As more people reach that goal, we’re seeing the effects of it. I’ll admit I’m carrying a few extra pounds but compared to what I see around me every day, I look like an Olympic sprinter on a starvation diet. Used to be, stores had those motorized carts for the elderly to get around in the store. Nowadays, I see retirees shuffling along in walkers while Suzie FatAss loads her HandiCart with four cases of Ding Dongs, hollering on her cell phone the whole time as her demon seed children run around like monkeys on meth.
Used to be, if you found yourself having to go to court for some reason, you wore a coat and tie, or at least a dress shirt and clean slacks. Today, I regularly see people standing in front of a judge while wearing flip flops, pajama bottoms, and a Slipknot t-shirt.
Our public schools, to be quite blunt, suck. The teachers are so hamstrung by the school boards and legislation that they are doomed to fail right from the start. It wasn’t all that long ago that students who needed special attention were given it. Today, we have kids who make Freddy Krueger look like Mary Poppins sitting in the same room as the students who truly want to learn. I understand the desire to mainstream those troubled youths. I get that, I really do. But when you have a young man whose default is to throw chairs and punch teachers when he gets upset and you have to bring in a special assigned counselor to deal with him EVERY SINGLE DAY, there’s a problem with that system. Thirty or so students receive less of an education because one kid has issues that aren’t being addressed properly.
I can sum it all up with this — Neil Armstrong died the same day Snooki gave birth.
I love this country dearly…and it is breaking my heart.