Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Most Worthwhile Read

This one has been circulating a while, I think, but I haven't seen it until this morning. It puts things in excellent perspective and comes to some simple, profound conclusions. Well worth the time to read, I thought.

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?'

"Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

"Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

"Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

"This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

"Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

"I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

"Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it...are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

"Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig. So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

"Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about 'how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way'...Insane!

"Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative. 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?' "

Jay Leno 2007
(Yeah, Jay Leno!)*
H/T: Nicole B.

* Addendum/Correction: Thanks to a careful and wisely skeptical reader, I need to correct the attribution for this article! You know the old saying: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is... As much as we might want a public figure like Jay Leno to be the author of such a piece, Snopes reports that Leno can only claim responsibility for the last line of this essay. Pity for him, but kudos to Craig R. Smith, who actually wrote it!


Memarie Lane said...

I have read that before, but the thing is, not everyone here is privileged. My neighborhood is like a third world country, I kid you not. I may not be eating dirt, but I'm pretty close. I've got PLENTY to be miserable about.

Lisa said...

I know what you mean, Marie. I've been where you are (We had cops in our driveway early in our marriage, staking out the drug dealers in the house across the street... etc), Sadly, many people will never rise out of those circumstances, even in America. But, at least here, we do have the opportunity. In most places in the world, it's a struggle to reach the top of a table, while here, we do have the stars to reach for.

It does take time and hard work, though, and many are held back by impatience, apathy, and laziness. I'm afraid the welfare mentality in this country hasn't helped, either.

Unfortunately, though, whatever the reasons, Our Lord did tell us the poor would be with us always. It's our job to do what we can to help one another ~ and to help ourselves.

Cheer up! You and your husband have your whole life ahead of you! You're young and bright, and the masters of your fate ~ and more importantly, masters of your own happiness. Trust me, I know. It doesn't matter where you are or what you have, it's up to you whether you're happy or miserable.

Memarie Lane said...

We're a lot older than we look. :(

My dad tried to console me the other day by reminding me that he and mom mom went through the same things when she was pregnant with me. But they were in their early 20's at that point, we're in our mid 30's. You'd think we'd be out of the rut by now.

Brad works 80 hours a week, but if he doesn't sell a car, which isn't happening in the current economy, he makes nothing. Absolutely nothing. And people wonder why salesmen are so desperate.

Laura said...

I love this, and I am big fan of appreciation ...and if we are truly made in God's image, then we can be sure that HE is a big fan of it too.I have never read this before- I'm so glad you posted it for those of us who have missed it.

For Marie, those of us who have nothing to complain about should spend less time whining and more time helping people who live in neighborhoods such as yours and who are suffering from this soured economy. It would be energy well spent.

I sincerely hope things turn for the better for you and your husband. Not fun.