American Greed is Suicide

Black Friday proves it

By Clint Bestul

A butcher takes the blade, and with the sharpened steel cuts dead flesh away from bone. So do we common Americans, albeit with much less purpose or dignity, thrust the blade of haughty entitlement into our own bellies.  We expose our guts swollen with greed and rotting with foul inconsideration of others.  We are selfish. We are unkind. We are American.

In the beginning, the men and women of America were willing to fight to their death in the name of freedom and democracy. They fought for principles. They fought for ideals. Today, we maim and murder each other in the name of consumerism.

Enter Black Friday. This day of plummeting retail prices elicits the almost complete disintegration of moral fibers and common senses within us. A man is stabbed in a fight over a parking spot. An 11-year-old girl is trampled, nearly to death, in a crush of shoppers, all clamoring to get their hands on the latest and most discounted items. A worker dies as a tsunami of savage humanity bursts through the doors of a shopping center.  We injure and execute our neighbors in a struggle for things. My, how very cosmopolitan of us!

All the while, we are proud. We are so proud to be American. We are proud to be the “land of the free and home of the brave.” We are proud to be part of an imagined community that most of us never had to fight for. We are weak. We are victims of our own existence. We have never truly struggled for the privileges that are intrinsically ours.  We did not toil to lay the foundations of freedom and liberty; earlier generations struggled for us. Instead, we enjoy our civil liberties through a random circumstance of nature. We are American because we were born within specific geographical boundaries. Where is the pride to be had in this? What does it even mean to be an American today?  We are flawed. We are not so perfect as we like to profess ourselves to be.

Our consumerism and twisted sense of entitlement has produced a society of selfish individuals. We no longer care enough to promote the ideals that our country was founded on-- the only exceptions would be the men and women of our armed forces.  The rest of us do little more than want.  We care not about the greater good.  Instead, we want to surround ourselves with material comforts. We want riches beyond our wildest schemes. We want others to think of our needs first without giving the same consideration in return. We want what we want, and we want it right now! We have so many crude demands and desires and have so little concern for the rest of our global community. It’s no wonder that others revile us in this world.

We have a choice. We can continue to live thoughtlessly, or we can make changes to become a respectable society. We can continue to become a nation of selfish degenerates, or we can begin to treat our fellow humans with compassion and consideration. If we cannot--or will not--learn to care for others in the way that we would care for ourselves, I believe our time as a nation is set to expire. I hope that we can move forward and become great again.  I hope that one day, my children will be proud of their country and be grateful for the struggles of those who made it possible for them to live freely and happily. I hope that we can change. I hope we can learn to do more than just want all the time. I hope that someday I can believe in America again.

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