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We Are Better Than This: Part II

Updated on June 23, 2012

Fat, poor, & stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Funny how folks hate to hear the truth, especially when it forces us to own up to some shortcomings. Such was the case when I published We Are Better Than This: Part I. To be clear, I do not have an agenda. The reality of what I wrote was neither right, nor wrong, but the historical facts. That did not seem to matter to some people, though. Didn’t seem to matter that I am a veteran of the U.S. military, or hold an advanced degree in History. They had their minds made up that anyone who questions authority or does not present the facts in a more positive manner is “against us.” Guess that means I am the enemy. So be it. Here is the second part of the series, and this should really piss off some folks since it deals with obesity, economic laziness, and the overall lack of intelligence in our society.

Large and In Charge

One of my favorite expressions is; “He’s got more chins than Chinatown.” I know, its poking fun at those who are “waist-line challenged”, but I really don’t care. Sad thing is, it is becoming commonplace to see extremely overweight folks out there in the streets of the good old USA. Now don’t get all offended and scream it’s not your/their fault, because it is, dammit. Was there some dude with an AK-47 forcing them to have that 3rd or 4th helping of Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream with whipped cream and sprinkles? (I love those) No, methinks not. It is not a genetic thing, it is not a cultural thing, it is in fact a lack of discipline thing. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7% of American adults are obese. Not just overweight, which is bad enough, but freaking obese. Couldn’t just stop at 2 Fat Ass Burgers, could ya? But this is America, and you are free to have that extra helping or scoop or Gigantor-size it, that is your decision. But don’t come crying when society pokes fun at you, or when Congress decides to place a higher tax burden on those that directly impact health care costs (don’t laugh, its coming). I think the idea of making obese people pay more in general is widely accepted, just not vocalized. Nobody wants to be the bad guy, so nothing is ever said. Maybe more people should speak up.

Not surprisingly, 17% of American children are obese. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The sad thing, this is a learned behavior. Kids watch what their parents do, and follow suit. But they don’t know any better, and become accustomed to over eating. Over time, however, those kids become adults, and we have already seen what those numbers look like. It is a destructive cycle, and it does not appear to have an end at this point. If you do not believe me on my point about obese people, just wander into Wal-Mart at 11:00am on a Saturday and you will see firsthand the percentages the CDC is throwing out there.

Can’t Afford to Pay Attention

Rather than deal with the economic problems facing our great nation, we once again have chosen to stick our heads in the sand and hope that things get better. When I say “we”, I mean the people and their elected officials. Currently, 1 out of 4 Americans is carrying an unmanageable level of debt. But that is not the messed up part. The fact that Congress has given billions of dollars to banks, automakers, and other entities on the premise that the economy will collapse without them is such utter folly that it would be laughable if the situation were not so serious. On top of that, many members of Congress continue to spew the same tired argument that taxing the wealthy a little extra (or the same), would prevent them from adding jobs, since they are the ones who own businesses. Here’s the catch: The data does not support that argument. Look at how many jobs were lost while the Bush tax cuts were in place. It was a hellava lot more than have been lost under the current administration, but it is what it is. I am not claiming to know what the right path is here, but I know what it isn’t. Simple economics dictate that we have to cut spending, increase taxes, and provide a more business-friendly environment. A little common sense goes a long way, but I think someone forgot to tell Congress. Maybe it’s time we remind them who pays the bills in this country.

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Many folks are quick to point out how “bad” the educational system is here in the United States, but they fail to mention that it is still one of the best in the world, all thing considering. We provide a free education for nearly all of our citizens from grades K-12, and there are numerous opportunities to acquire funds for post secondary studies. What is pathetic is the fact that most American adults read at the 7th grade level, and few understand history, geography, or civics. This is a direct correlation to poor voter turnout and political apathy in general. About 85% of adults have finished high school, and that number is expected to drop in the coming years. The thing is, not every kid should go to college. Some would be better off attending a technical college and learning a trade. In order to get our manufacturing infrastructure back, we need to have people trained in the new methodology. Universities are in business to make money, not to train America’s youth. But I digress. We need to encourage more intelligent discussion, actually, any discussion. The time has come to put the remote down, stop stuffing your face with Ding Dongs, and join the conversation.

Don’t get me wrong, the United States is still the best game in town, and we enjoy a way of life that is the envy of the western world. But we are not without our problems, and it is important to discuss them and try to solve the issues in an intelligent manner. We cannot continue to stumble down the path we are currently on, because it leads to our own destruction. Maybe that will prove to be the turning point, when disease and poor nutrition finally take their toll on our culture, and we are forced to adjust how we live. But more importantly, we need to demand better leadership, and strive to achieve the greatness that the Founding Fathers foresaw when they started this experiment over 230 years ago. I am no evolutionist, but Mr. Darwin had a point. It really is survival of the fittest, and right now, we are not looking so fit.


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