Would Any One Person Dare To Say As Much? Essay Example
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Value over Volume
Each generation has had issues with the last, either with their work ethic, their seeming lack of respect, or something else entirely. There has never been any one generation that has looked to the young men and women they’ve raised and said with absolute certainty “They will run the world as we would.” This is simply not the measure by which each new generation holds themselves. Very few children aspire anymore to be like their parents, and even those that do follow that star in a different path than those who created them.
According to journalist Bob Cohn, American values have been deteriorating since the 1970’s, as tolerance of issues that used to be morally inacceptable have become commonplace and quite mainstream today (Cohn 2012) Roughly 69 percent of Americans believe that our country is heading in the wrong way, yet there are few that seem to think there is any other recourse but to blame Congress and any other guiding force that is assumed to be in control.
This is yet another example of our fading values, that we as a people will not accept responsibility for our own actions and shortcomings. People are eager at all times to find a scapegoat, a shoulder they can place their woes and troubles on so as to not have to deal with them. Throughout the world the USA is undoubtedly one of the most troubling nations in terms of its people seeking aid rather than confessing to their own mistakes. Such programs as welfare, unemployment, and other agencies, which are beneficial to those in actual need, are continually drained and misused by those who are capable and more than fit to work for their money.
According to an article written by journalist Adrienne Erin for Western Journalism, some people are actually proud to not work and have the taxpayers foot the bill, and consider those who work each passing day to be rather foolish (Erin 2014). This, surprisingly enough, is a mediocre source of how the values in America have fallen. The rich get richer, the poor can get rich, and the middle, working class seems to be out of luck, stuck as they are working for one level and supporting the other.
Perhaps those of us that are considered the working class are rather foolish to allow this to happen. Altruism, though seen as some to be highly important and a hallmark of a good, decent human being, is at times rather self-defeating, despite being among one of many traits that any honorable person would value. Being kind to one’s fellow human, showing respect, dignity, and pride in what we do, those seem to be outmoded concepts in this day and age, words to speak but not live by. Perhaps they’re simply shells that no longer have any truth within them, faded old epithets that are more amusing as anecdotes than any actual life lessons.
Personally I do not agree this sad, backward philosophy. Values are more than trademarks that a nation is built upon, more than mere words to be used when convenient and then cast aside like so much trash. Values are what made this nation great, allowed it to stand upon its own feet and declare that we are free. At the risk of sounding cliché, values are without a doubt the underlying reason that we manage to get through our day without going stark raving mad.
As Alex Blackwell, a journalist for The Bridgemaker, so eloquently points out, it is very easy to tell when behavior does not match up with what we value, as it brings upon more stress and more undo wear and tear on our bodies and our minds (Blackwell 2008). Human beings are designed to create drama, live with drama, and even facilitate the means to solve drama, but when the values that allow for the latter to happen begin to slip it is dangerously imbalanced and any true equilibrium within the system tends to fail. Through constant erosion of the values that used to be important within the American society our behaviors and society have begun to implode, and the process doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
In the past the altruistic nature of human beings wasn’t any stronger or weaker really, but it was far more prevalent in the world than it is now. People were more willing to lend a hand to those in need, not simply do for themselves and look the other way when another needed help. There is a very wise manner in looking to one’s own family, to taking care of your own household when times are tough and there isn’t much to go around, but that is more along the lines of family values, what you seek to do to maintain your own home and kin. Even then there are those who will give every last little bit they have to restore the dignity of others, paying it forward to insure that goodwill doesn’t die out completely.
The human spirit is a complex and sometimes very unreadable thing, but it is still there, even in the most hardened of us all. Whether or not it will ever be realized in the manner that would aid the masses is uncertain, but overall it is a spark that never really dies, a faint hope that slips away from the most crushing of defeats. Altruism is yet another part of what it means to be human, no matter how hard, miserly, or even how cold one seeks to become. We are human, and as such we are social beings, meant to be with one another despite always being at odds with each other. As stated by anthropologist Paula Gray, humans need one another (Gray 2014). That seems a fairly impossible obstacle to overcome, but it is one that stands in the way only if one never learns how to move around it, or knock it down.
Is it television, is it the media, or is it religion, politics, or simply the channels we watch, the clothes we wear, the athletes and movie stars we idolize that have anything to do with America’s moral decline? Yes, to all of it, and no.
Do those famous actors and athletes tell you what to do, personally? If one were to come up to any person on the street, an average person might very well do what was asked of them by a famous celebrity, but it is still not that individuals fault. Unless one is holding a gun to their head they have the freedom of choosing to say yes or no. Choice is what most facets of life come down to, and choice is what ultimately damns our race at times.
If there exists a foolproof way to teach humility to those who have yet to find it surely it is needed and in desperation, lest the country slip ever onward into an abyss of moral bankruptcy. Should that method ever be found and actually work perhaps then our country will be spared its continual moral decline. Until then, it is a stiff walk uphill for those that maintain their integrity, dignity, and other needed values.
Blackwell, Alex. What Are Your Values? The Most Important Values to Live By. The
Bridgemaker, 22 Sept. 2008. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
Cohn, Bob. 21 Charts That Explain American Values Today. The Atlantic, 27 June 2012. Web.
29 Jan. 2015.
Erin, Adrienne. Welfare Abuse Still a Serious Problem in the United States. Western Journalism,
8 May 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
Gray, Paula. Humans are Social Animals. AIPMM, 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
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