The year 2012 witnessed the commencement of elections in the United States, yet American's on a whole could hardly be more apathetic to substantial issues which will affect the lives of its citizens long into the future. As the politicians politic, and talking heads debate particulars, few in the fray seek to offer real solutions to problems such as:
- the ballooning national debt,
- the re-deployment of US forces into the South Asian seas,
- the draining of the US treasury by an increasingly massive and unwieldy military buildup throughout the world,
- the failure to stop torture and civilian deaths at the hands of US forces and its allies,
- the lack of accountability for Banks, and other financial institutions which benefited from the bailouts of 2008, the refusal of the government to bailout those made homeless by the housing crisis,
- the increasing poverty among middle class and educated Americans,
- and the failure of the War on Drugs which continues to drain the federal budget and militarize civilian governments throughout the America's.
These are only a few crisis which fail to register in the frontal lobes of the average voter. These "issues" have become "non-issues" as an apathetic and generally unaware American public seeks to simply find jobs, while those who are fortunate enough to have jobs struggle desperately to hold on to them knowing poverty and even homelessness is just a paycheck away.
Certainly one can hardly blame the public for not caring about these issues as the mainstream media plays to themes more comical and cynical than helpful and informative. Addicted to junk news American media churns out stories about whether the President has an authentic US birth certificate, what Lady Gaga is wearing, teachers 'sexting' their students, and of course how Jersey Shores has inspired Jersey state to push for stricter reality show (or rather unreality) laws. As opposed to stories which challenge the status quo, offer substantial analysis, uncover corruption in traditional institutions, and inspire critical thinking in its audience.
One look at the top headlines of most major US media moguls such as CNN, Fox, Washington Post or the New York times, will demonstrate that Americans simply do not have the stomach to deal with the issues that will shape tomorrow. On any given day every mainstream outlet will have essentially the same headlines, and in the event that a scandal is uncovered, each outlet will expose no more than the other making it a useless endeavor to find the truth in a competitors reports. Why?
Is it that we don't care, or don't care to know? Have Americans become so immune to the truth that the tasteless amalgam of mainstream reporting is like a filler for the intelect? Giving us a sense of "knowing" when common sense dictates that it is literally impossible for every station to have the same facts on the same story, the same day? Yet it is so.
The answer lies not on the surface, but rather below it. While any sane person would agree most of the crisis in the world today are serious and should be addressed by our leaders in a more clear and obvious manner, few actually take time to click on the links that would lead them to better understanding of these issues.
Our apathy is to the level that we don't even blink when the most powerful man in the world has no idea how much debt his country owes (estimated at $16.3 Trillion by the end of 2012). This become an irrelevant and minor detail in the face of report which rather focus on the color of his tie, whether or not he is a Muslim, and the brand of the First Ladies gala gown, as if this matters to the millions of starving and homeless in America today.
Not out of any lack of love for our country or humanity, but rather out of a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness to do we neglect to give attention to issues which are not immediately relevant to our lives. Things such as getting to work in the morning, putting food on the table and keeping a roof over our heads.
After that the opiate of the people becomes comedy, science fiction, drama and an endless diet of gossip. Therefore rather than spend our time demanding sanity in the midst of an insane situation we tweet, facebook, and google our lives away pursuing useless and trivial conversations about the new Ipad, or which Starbucks has the best wi-fi connection, while the world burns.
Thus headlines which speak of untold carnage, death and destruction in far away places hardly register in our minds, or evoke an iota of concern, but on the contrary these topics elicit a yawn and engender utter boredom from the average American, who if challenged could hardly find Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine on a map. To this day some very "educated" people are still amazed that Egypt and Libya are in Africa and not "the middle east", this while we support politicians that are sending billions of dollars and entire armies into these regions, for what purpose, very few could give a coherent answer.
In other words if it doesn't affect my life, or conversely I perceptively have no ability to effect change in a situation it rapidly becomes irrelevant. This attitude is reinforced by a power structure which does not want its citizens to wake up but rather to "go back to sleep". And so like a child happy to slumber in the back seat of the car we sleep walk through the decay of our society believing things to be "ok" while the reality could not be farther from the truth.
This will change however, as all good things come to an end. As if being awaken from a dream the reality of global demise will strike people like a bolt of lightning. When the lights don't turn on, when the ATM fails to spit out green backs, when the internet denies service and when the shelves at the local Wallmart stand empty like hollow shells cast uselessly on the shore... then and only then will society on a whole take note that the world is not changing... but rather it has already changed, and not for the better. When this day comes as it necessarily must, where will you be, what will you do and how will you respond?
The answers exist, but will you take time to reflect and act before it is too late, or will you simply roll over like a man briefly awaken from a long slumber trying in vain to grasp the tails of a rapidly fading dream? Like one struggling to snuggle back into the warm comfort darkness and ignorance yet finding that dream...elusive for dreams are simply figments of our imaginations and lack true substance.
Likewise the belief that life will continue tomorrow as it was yesterday lacks validity as any lucid perusal of today's headlines will demonstrate that the world as we know it, for better or worse is quickly becoming a thing of the past. A rational mind prepares for change when change becomes inevitable. An irrational mind however pretends that change is something theoretical and intangible and therefore fails to prepare, fails to adapt and confirms its inevitable extinction along with that of it's offspring.
The world is not what we want it to be, it is what we make it, however if we fail to actively participate in the shaping of a better world accepting it at face value, not only are we in agreement with the consequences of our inaction, we are in fact the engineers of our own demise.
The greatest crime of this generation is not in our action, but in our apathy and indolence, for as we sleep in sweet dreams of grandeur and pleasure of a rapidly dissipating and stagnating society, the world rots leaving only an empty shell, a corps, and mere shadow of what once was, but will never be again. It is this world which will be inherited by our children who did not have the opportunity to enjoy the dream, but will be condemned to live the nightmare.
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