A while ago on another blog site, I was posting back and forth in a forum discussing the importance of Amy Winehouse’s death in relation to U.S. soldiers dying overseas and it really got me thinking about a few things that trouble me as an American. I’m posting this now because the same issues have again surfaced with the “tragic” death of Whitney Houston.
It was troubling to me that people, including myself, were arguing about which person’s death was more important. That’s just sadistic when you break it down. Millions of people loved Winehouse and Whitney Houston, millions of people love the U.S. troops. Is one human life more important than another? The answer should be no. Death is tragic and death affects everyone on this planet in one way or another.
The American Celebrity
TMZ, E-Entertainment, Dancing With the Stars, MTV are just a few terrible examples of where America has stationed its priorities. Millions of people every day watch these shows, go to their websites and generate insanely large amounts of revenue for these entities. All because millions of Americans are obsessed with celebrity and obsessed with wanting to become a celebrity. Americans are obsessed with having to know every time a celebrity snorts drugs, gets a DUI, has an affair or drops their knickers in public.
Winehouse was not a celebrity because of her music talent; she was a celebrity because of her drug/alcohol use and her stints in rehab. She was a talented musician who produced only two albums. Sure, it’s sad that she died, but no sadder than any other person who lost their life that day.
Professionally, Houston accomplished much more, but will now forever be remembered as the sweaty coke head that married Bobby Brown. But don’t blame Bobby, Houston snorted the coke too.
We are a society that is constantly rubbernecking to see the bloody car wreck on the side of the road, the dirty laundry of someone in the news and the improprieties of those in the media. American society would rather watch a Kardashian family barbecue than read a book. Winehouse and Houston were just bad car wrecks who bled for us to see.
The U.S. Military & Patriotism
The U.S. is a hegemonic nation; we have a dominant influence or authority over others. But I think that dominance may be shifting somewhat in today’s culture. In a global economy where the U.S. was once dominant, we are slowly being reeled in by other countries. The global perception of the U.S. as a great nation is being questioned globally more than it ever has.
Everyone remembers the atrocity of 9-11 and what that did to our country’s psyche.When it initially happened, I was one of the first people to jump up and say, “Kill all those towelheads, bomb them to hell.” Sadly, it took me a while to realize that my knee-jerk reaction was ill-informed and totally unnecessary.
The politicians and the media ran with the terrorist attacks and poured gasoline on the fire. Millions of people were ready for the U.S. to nuke everyone responsible. Did anyone ever stop to think that the people who perpetrated that attack were only a small, fundamentalist population of a much larger, population of innocent people?
I am extremely thankful for the troops that have defended my freedoms throughout the years. But now, our freedom is not in danger like it was in the first World Wars. It saddens me that 18 year-old children enlist in the military with no true understanding of what they are doing. Where is their guidance? Don’t they realize that they are putting their lives in the hands of a very small group of politicians who will essentially decide whether they live or die?
That should terrify every parent, I know it terrifies me. It is noble to want to defend and protect our country. But it is even more noble to understand that our politicians do not have our best interests at heart.
Please explain to me what benefit we as Americans experienced from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? Did any of you really think that those countries had the abilities to destroy America? Really?
Do you really feel better that Iraqis are now free? Really? Misguided patriotism is a very dangerous thing.
We are Americans; we are bigger, stronger and better than anyone else. As Toby Keith once said in one of his songs, “And you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. ‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.”
Maybe we should take our boots off and put on some sandals. Maybe we should bring our troops home and start focusing on our internal problems. Maybe we should worry about our current border issues, our declining education system, our homeless and hungry instead of spending billions of dollars stomping around overseas to exert our dominance.
I am proud to be an American, but I’m not proud of where America is heading. I’m looking over the horizon and I see China smiling while our children are still trying to figure out where China is. Hmmm…….. the future will be interesting.
“America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.” Sigmund Freud