Ashamed of America

The U.S. is becoming a joke. Not only are we not respected by other countries for various missteps and lack of stable educational and economic systems, but it’s been shown that we, as a nation, are getting collectively dumber. In conjunction with this growing stupidity is a growing fanaticism about almost everything. In politics, both right and left-wingers are increasingly dictated by dogmatic belief systems that don’t allow for open-mindedness. The same for religion or lack thereof: Christians, Muslims, Jews, and atheists are incredibly closed-minded when it comes to the beliefs of others, and act extremely pretentious about their own ideas. This has led to a nation where objectivity, reason, and critical thinking are all but dead.

Our country is one where, depending on the region you live in, change is feared (though what type of change depends entirely on the culture of the region), and the general population is more concerned with celebrities and social media, and their own self-gain than with what is happening in the world. Back in August, I was shocked to find many students were barely aware of what ISIS was, and other important stories, such as the recent  Rolling Stone scandal involving an unfounded rape accusation being published as fact, not only went unnoticed by students, but by most of the American public as well. Some students I’ve spoken to find the idea of reading outside of school foreign and strange and were perplexed by why I would ever read for fun. Coupled with this rise in ignorance is an over-reliance on technology that goes beyond simple convenience, but almost a dependence on it. Some people I’ve encountered can barely even function without their phone, tablet, or computer.

America is a place where relatively unimportant controversies such as things that happened at the VMAs or a joke someone on the Internet found offensive, take precedent over stories that matter, such as the Rolling Stone debacle I mentioned before. America is a place where art is practically dead. No longer is it exciting to see a piece of art or fiction that challenges the viewer or makes them reconsider their philosophy, it is more popular to create art and fiction that plays it safe, that is bland and doesn’t offend anyone, appealing only to the lowest common denominator of viewers.

Speaking of offense, it seems now, in a country where words like love and amazement have been cheapened through overuse by people with limited vocabulary, it also seems that phrases such as “That offends me” have been given more power than they are worth. I will reiterate what British actor and atheist thinker Stephen Fry has already said, in that people seem to think just by uttering that phrase they are given special rights to not be offended when out in a public forum.

I feel that if the United States continues down this path of over-reliance on technology, an acceptance of general ignorance and stupidity as the new average intelligence level, coupled with an emphasis on inhibiting free expression because some people feel it is offensive, then I think it is a country I would not like to be living in anymore.