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The Greatest Problem Facing the United States
Talk About a Challenge
Where do we start?
In a country sinking under the weight of its problems, how does one writer narrow the list down to the single greatest problem?
Let the water-cooler debates begin!
Before I give my opinion, let me state emphatically that I love my country. I’ve seen some incredible things over the past sixty-six years, things I wish I had not seen, and things I am in wonder over. The technological advancements have left me in awe. When I was a young tyke, my grandparents still had a crank telephone, and party lines were a source of cheap entertainment. Today there are Smart Phones.
Speaking of cranks, those same grandparents had an old Ford that needed to be cranked in order for the engine to turn over. Now there are cars that do not need a driver.
Social advancements have blown my mind as well. Sixty-six years ago, there was no chance that a minority member would hold a political office, and women were included in any discussion of minorities. Now white, Anglo-Saxon males are the minority.
Same-sex marriages, the legalization of marijuana, and on and on we go, all part of the backdrop, and all part of the fabric, that make this country so fascinating.
But there are problems. Only a fool would deny that fact. There are small problems and there are holy-shit problems, and today, possibly more so than any other time in our history, those problems threaten to bring this country to its knees.
So, what do I consider the greatest of those problems?
No, It Is Not Homelessness
Millions live on the streets, sheltered at night by cardboard boxes and newspapers, their mattresses the boughs of trees, and their only meal consisting of whatever morsel they can find in the dumpsters. Millions, on the streets of the most powerful nation on earth, and each one represents a loss of economic productivity, and each one represents the loss of hope and yes, each one represents a national failure.
Millions, and growing, and as their numbers grow, so too does the risk of disease grow, and so too does the risk that the mighty nation will become less than its aspirations.
But no, homelessness is not the greatest problem facing America.
No, It Is Not Intolerance
In a land built upon the principles of freedom and religious tolerance, how is it possible that intolerance is reaching epidemic proportions?
In a land where over 75% of its people claim to be Christians, a religion based on the principles of tolerance, acceptance, and love, how is it possible that intolerance has infiltrated the very core of our citizenry?
Why are The Different so frightening? Why are they chastised and persecuted? Why are they shunned and looked upon with pity?
How is it possible that the Great Melting Pot is not a peaceful blend of nationalities and beliefs?
And if our core beliefs of freedom and tolerance are false, then does it not follow that the foundation of our country is crumbling?
But no, intolerance is not the greatest problem facing America.
No, It Is Not the Loss of Freedoms
If you haven’t noticed a few of your freedoms slipping through the cracks lately, then you ain’t been paying attention, Jack!
Are you clueless to it all, or too busy hiding your head under the covers? Big Brother is watching, and he’s been practicing his “A Game” while you’ve been scrambling to put food on the table.
Old Abe the Railsplitter once warned us that America would never fall because of outside influences; our loss of freedom would come because we failed to protect ourselves from ourselves. Slowly, systematically, our freedoms are being chipped away. Decisions are being made in the Halls of Congress and the boardrooms on Wall Street, and those decisions have nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with profit….and every million dollars made cost another freedom.
But no, the loss of freedoms is not the greatest problem facing America.
No, It Is Not the Economy
The poor increase in numbers, the middle class disappears, and what we now have is an aristocracy born from wealth. Millions of full-time jobs disappear, replaced by millions of part-time jobs, and as prices increase, buying power decreases, and it doesn’t take an MBA to tell you that disaster is right around the corner of Park Place and Boardwalk Avenue.
But don’t you worry! The fat cats have our backs. Yea, right, and the tooth fairy is real and we will all live happily ever after.
Inner cities are crumbling, the infrastructure is antiquated, manufacturing caught the last train out of town, and high-paying jobs were shipped to third world countries…the dollar is a joke, real estate values are a house of cards, and credit debt increases.
But no, the economy is out the greatest problem facing America.
The Greatest Problem Is……
And if those things previously mentioned are not the greatest, then this country is in serious trouble, and that starts with T and it rhymes with P and that stands for poo-poo, as in we are all standing waist high in it, and sinking daily. The thing about poo-poo is that you can shovel it, you can rinse it off, you can clean your clothes, but the smell has infiltrated your very being, and that smell will never go away.
And the biggest pile of poo-poo in this country, the most festering, vile, obscenely disgusting problem facing this land of the free, is….
The twin sisters of complacency and apathy.
When we walk along and step in a pile of shit, that’s called an accident. When we see the shit, and continually step in it, that’s called complacency, and we’ve been wading through that poo for quite some time now.
These problems that we are facing happened on our watch. Oh, we are good at the Blame Game. We are wonderful at whining and complaining, but when it comes time to do something about it, we fall short time and time again.
We are all aware of homelessness. We are all aware of the loss of freedoms, of intolerance, and the crumbling economy, and our response to those problems is to pull up the drawbridge and pray the boogie man doesn’t come knocking on our door. In a country turning to shit, we just don’t give a shit, and isn’t that a smelly truth?
But There Is Still a Chance
Clean off your metaphorical shoes and start cleaning up the feces.
It’s never too late for a community to recover, and we are a community of three-hundred million strong and growing quickly. The thing about a community that must be remembered, though, is that it is made up of individuals. If individuals do not change, the community will never change. Conversely, if individuals change apathy to action, then communities will change.
Never underestimate the power of a determined group of individuals.
It begins with you.
It begins with me.
Here’s a rag. Wipe off that poop and quit wading in it. Let’s clean up our street and get this country back to where it was meant to be.
“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)