IT IS MY JUDGMENT—THOUGH I COULD CERTAINLY BE WRONG—THAT MOST AMERICANS ARE PROUD OF BEING AMERICAN—WHATEVER THEY SAY TO A RESEARCHER
BUT IS PRIDE WITHOUT ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT ENOUGH? U.S. VOTING PATTERNS ARE WORRYING IN THE EXTREME. THE OVERALL SITUATION IS OF EVEN GREATER CONCERN.
Personally, I am no fan of nationalism because I think it is is used as least as much to manipulate us, as to motivate us to more noble ends—and probably more so. It also tends to be mindless—and of the “My country, right or wrong,” variety—which means, in effect, that you are putting your country ahead of values.
That cannot be right.
If I don’t have much time for nationalism—and none at all for jingoism—I regard decent values as being fundamental to any kind of acceptable way of life.
Is the U.S. underpinned by decent values?
Without question. the U.S. contains many ordinary decent people who conduct their lives reasonably and—within the limits of the human condition—acceptably. And yet:
- BUSINESS MODEL. The American Business Model is deeply corrupt and seems to be practiced—especially by all too many large corporations—as if values were irrelevant and only the profit motive applied. In particular, labor relations are poor and workers are treated more as commodities rather than people. The concept of ‘Maximizing Shareholder Value’ to the exclusion of virtually everything else—has proved to be a disaster for most Americans..
- SOCIAL CONCERN. There is a profound lack of social concern—virtually regardless of party. Social ills fester from generation to generation. social problems are carried for ward rather than resolved. The plight of the poor and African Americans—to give but two examples—remains a national disgrace.
- MILITARIZATION & UNENDING WARS. Terrorism has been turned into a business opportunity—to the great advantage of a few—and the disadvantage, misery, and death of many.
It strikes me that pride combined with indifference—when it comes to actually doing something—is a dangerous combination.