Okay, so *now* I’m going to write about Joe Wilson, Kanye West, and Serena Williams.
But not in my usual ranty way.
CNN’s Ruben Navarrette, Jr. has commentary (full article here) on the state of civility in this country. He argues that the recent spate of rudeness in the public arena is really just a symptom of a bigger problem: narcissism.
I don’t completely agree with everything he says (he casts aspersions on social networkers like me), but I do agree that Americans’ sense of entitlement can be maddeningly annoying, if not downright dangerous.
Let’s face it. The American Dream has mutated. The ingenuity, humility, and hard work (as in, actual physical labor) that drove America’s agricultural and industrial revolutions and that became hallmark characteristics of what it truly means to be American have all but dissipated.
Only a generation ago, the American Dream could become reality if you worked hard for it. You made sacrifices. You got blisters. Today, the American Dream is an entitlement—a roided, plastic surgery-enhanced product that we expect to be handed to us simply because it’s what we deserve. (We’re America, damn it! The rules don’t apply to us! We can ignore societal expectations of civility and reason because we can do whatever the hell we want! Go America! Woooo!)
Rugged individualism has morphed into arrogant self-centeredness.
Lest we forget lessons from the Mayans’ and Easter Islanders’ societal implosions in Jared Diamond’s “Collapse.” Let’s not be so full of ourselves and ignore the reality that for the greatest country on earth, we still have a whole bunch of problems that need solving.