America Exposed

4 08 2020

I’m hearing way too many people ask the same frustrating question these days! “If schools in Europe can reopen, why can’t schools in America?”

It’s such an absurd question, born in an arrogant American naivete and exposing a blatant ignorance of how so much of the rest of the world operates. We like to think that the United States is capable of doing whatever any other nation is doing, and probably better! So if Danish schools are capable of reopening, American schools should be as well.

But this is simply not true. And it’s not true because of the saddest part of American exceptionalism: our selfishness! That is what makes America the exception in so many other parts of our world: our selfish individualism. And Donald Trump, and the COVID-19 pandemic, have exposed this embarrassing side of the American persona for all to see.

The great Protestant Work Ethic gave rise to rugged American Individualism long ago; and the Reagan Revolution’s “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” mentality has only modernized and further developed our national identity as a narcissistic and self-centered people. When coupled with American Evangelicalism’s obsession with the personal nature of salvation, we wind up with a populace that is more concerned with me, than us! Individual rights supersede individual responsibilities, and personal liberties transcend the general welfare of everyone. What so much of the world calls civility, we derogatorily call socialism; and while we like to talk about equality, we remain unwilling to have conversations about cultural inequity.

The preamble to our constitution reminds us of the common nature of our national identity. “We” the people, not ‘me’ the people, exalts our commitment to unity and oneness, and seeks to ensconce in the American character a commitment to the safety and security of all people. But under the polarizing leadership of the current administration, and as the corona virus ravages communities around our country, we continue to fall short of this ideal.

Whether talking about everything from the wearing masks and the necessity of vaccines, to calls for ‘law and order’ and a return some distorted sense of American ‘greatness’ — today, we in these United States are anything but united. And we do not want to be. For to be united, truly united, means that we recognize that none of us succeeds unless all of us succeed! It means acknowledging that we ARE our siblings’ keepers. It means that all lives do NOT matter, unless BLACK lives matter. It means that there is no peace if there is no justice. And it means securing the “blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” is for everyone who calls America home, and not just a select, privileged few.

Why can’t we open our schools like they are doing in Europe? Because we’re not Europe! And we have been unwilling to do what most European countries did to keep one another safe. We don’t want anyone to tell us what to wear or where we can go, and we certainly don’t want our lives to be in any way inconvenienced . . . not because of a mere few hundred thousand deaths!

The government has no right to tell us we can’t go to church – because then we’d be forced to deal with the fact that faith is about so much more than ‘going to church,’ and that might require too much of us. The government has no right to give bakers the freedom to tell us we need to wear masks in their bakeries – although it’s perfectly acceptable for those same bakers to tell us they don’t want to serve us if they don’t like the people we marry. And the government definitely has no right to tell us we can’t reopen our schools – because that’s a “justice issue,” and we’re awfully concerned that doing so will too harshly impact the most vulnerable families in our communities . . . the very same families, by the way, whose concerns about living wages, affordable housing, health care have fallen on our deaf ears for years!

This is why we can’t open our schools like they’ve done in Europe! And to selfishly do so, would only be to honor and exalt our selfish motives. Do we really believe that a few more months of home-schooling is going to harm our children’s brains? Do we really believe that our children’s social abilities are going to be thwarted because they are not in school this fall? Even if such nonsense is true, it is selfish to think that the benefits of opening our schools outweigh the risks. Everyone wants schools to open. Everyone wants to get the economy going again. Everyone wants some sense of normalcy to return. But this should only happen safely. COVID-19 it taking peoples’ lives, and dis-proportionally the lives of people of color. So nothing should be more concerting than that!

And yet this is not how we think. We’ve given up on the hard work of “forming a more perfect union.” We offer mere lip-service to our being “ONE nation under God” and fail to understand the meaning of “liberty and justice for ALL!” Our selfish individualism has us thinking only about ourselves: what we want, what is convenience for us, and what will make our individual lives easier.

That’s why we can’t open up our school like they’ve done in Europe. Our national character and identity has been exposed for all the world to see. And we’re selfish. Like our president, we are a selfishly narcissistic and individualistic people.

And it’s as simple as that!



One response

5 08 2020

AMEN!!!Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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