America: The End Game

CNN: White House conference tackles bullying

That’s pretty much it folks. America is done with the #1 slot – I hope China wants it, because we’re abdicating the slot quicker than I think they expected us to.

This one headline marks the start of our official End Game.

Ya know? Before World War II, America wasn’t obsessed with being #1. Read your history books… we were almost xenophobic until World War I and then, after pitching in to end the war, we went right back to isolationism. We cared about our own borders and let the world take care of itself. After WWII, we – as a nation – were thrown in to the #1 in the World slot, eye to eye with the USSR. Everyone else was pretty much wiped out. Europe had England, which was a bombed out shell of itself; everyone else was rebuilding. Asia was putting itself back together; Mao didn’t pop into China’s top office until 1949 and the rest of the area was busy getting their own borders re-established and stabilized. No, the only two nations left to build competition was the US and the USSR.

The US rose to the occasion. The children of the WWII veterans were told lusty stories of victory, taught to hide under desks during air raid drills, stared down the eye of a missile silo during the Cuba chaos, and was told to be #1 in all things. They struggled, they survived, and later thrived. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t have been a Hippie Movement. If you only get revolutions when young people are angry and unemployed, you will only get massive talk of peace from the youth when there’s a happy, thriving society.

Then the USSR collapsed, leaving the US uncontested as the #1 nation. And so begins the slide down the hill. No one to compete against, neh? I mean there’s the BRIC nations on the rise, but it’s just that: they are rising. If there’s one thing that we’ve changed from 1950 to 2010 is that it is “bad” to crush your competition when it’s on the rise. We’ve changed into the type of nation that says “Oh, he’s up and coming – you have to give him a fair chance!” In 1950, the competition got crushed before it could competed. Look at how things went for The Tucker Corporation in 1949 versus the Ma Bell break up in 1985. In our past, once competition was identified, it was slaughtered. Unless you missed the rising and then you had a new competitor to battle on equal ground (Ford vs Chrysler vs GM).

That’s just the back story anyway.

The big story here is that we’re pretty much Done with this leadership thing. The America that stepped up after WWII to help lead the world is over. We’re too busy infighting between Red and Blue to see that there are bigger issues on the horizon. We’re trying to be an isolated nation before we’ve decided to be an isolated nation. Just because we’ve opted to worry about our own shit doesn’t mean that we’re still not hated as the “big rich America” by other nations. We’re still in their target scope even though we’ve half burried our hands in the sand. On top of that, we’re so busy trying to make everything “safe” and “equal” for ourselves, that we don’t see the danger and the inequity that these efforts are creating.

How bad has it gotten? Our president is taking on the “bullying problem.”

Ignore the fact that our economy is still in the shitter – unemployment, housing market, interest rates, failing banks, unstable stock market, rising fuel costs, increasing inflation – no matter how many times in a day the media tries to spin one little number into “we’re recovered!” Ignore the fact that the entire Middle East is in a state of turmoil and the vast majority of their governments are about to change hands. Ignore the fact that North Korea is still working on its own nuclear weapon program and ignoring the UN on a regular basis. Make all of those invisible for this one issue. Obviously the president has, or else how would he have time to take on bullying? Nancy Reagan had DARE and MADD; Barack has bullying? I’d be complaining a lot less if the VP or the First Lady took this on… but again, I digress from the bigger problem.

How does preventing bullying help our youth?

Bullying is part of our lives. It’s part of our human nature. It’s been around for thousands of years and it’s never going away. Biological proof that life isn’t all roses and isn’t supposed to be. Proof that life isn’t fair. That you have to fight for what you want. You have to fight to protect you and your own. It’s a part of life. It doesn’t stop in elementary school. It doesn’t go away when you turn 21. It doesn’t stop when you move into a retirement community. There are bullies in every part of our lives from the day we’re born until the day we die and in most cases you’ll bully as much as you’ve been bullied.

So again, how does preventing bullying help our youth?

It doesn’t. Does it make them comfortable? Likely, and that I say is a mistake. It relieves them of a huge piece of personal responsibility. It puts them at a disadvantage with the rest of the world. It will make them weak and whiny. It will make them unprepared to cope with the realities of human nature. It will stop them from protecting themselves in unfair situations that will always be a part of live.

Makes me wonder if the 1950’s generation saw the hippies of the 1970’s in this same light…

Makes me wonder if the 1950’s generation was right.

2 thoughts on “America: The End Game”

  1. Hey I wish Ronald Reagan tackled bullying thirty years ago when I was in high school.

    I took a lot of crap from bullies between 7th to 12th grade. Did it build up my character? Absolutely not. Did it put hair on my chest and teach me personal responsibility? Nope. What did it do? It just turned a quiet, introverted, but friendly kid into a nervous, anti-social, super shy kid who avoided conflict even more. I couldn’t wait to graduate, and even on my graduation day, I got picked on during the ceremony when my mortarboard fell off my head onto the lap of the person behind me, who made a threat to me. The guy sitting next to me gave me the best advice ever: “Don’t worry about it. You’ll never see them again after today.” And he was right. I may have had bosses who were bullies (one boss I had was nicknamed “Biff” from Back to the Future), but I never ever experience the such meanness like I did in Jr. High school (the deepest pit in hell according to Matt Groening) and High School (the second deepest pit in hell).

  2. Barack Obama, American Exceptionalism, and bullying all in the same blog entry? Sounds like something Steven Colbert would talk about on his show.

    As for the reference to Matt Groening in the previous comment, I loved reading his comic strip “Life is Hell” in The Daily Breeze a long time ago. He was drawing cartoons of rabbits with overbites long before he got famous drawing people with overbites in The Simpsons. His “School is Hell” book is a classic, and I found a sample “lesson” online about the second deepest pit in hell:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.