Posts Tagged ‘possessions’

Where Did Our Heritage Go?

November 26, 2011 1 comment

We’ve come into the season of holidays; Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas and moves inexorably to New Years. For centuries this season has stood for blessings, fellowship, and unity; if not in actuality, at least on the surface.

This time around something has gone off the tracks. Everyone is edgier, ruder, more desperate. One could attribute this holiday syndrome as an ever-increasing out-pouring of the stress felt by countless millions of people who don’t know what the next year will bring economically, politically, or within the family.

The question is: Why has our population become seemingly unequipped to keep themselves under control?

Our forefathers for centuries lived with the knowledge that nothing in this world is certain. Life and their own common sense taught them to plan for those lean times, rely only on necessities, especially when luxuries cost so much more than most could pay. They lived with few clothes for each member of the family.

A father with more than two pairs of pants, one work shirt and one for Sunday, and who could give the same for each of his family, was a wealthy man by the standards of the time.

A mother who didn’t lose at least two children to stillbirth, illness or injury before they were five years old was truly blessed. Children who still had both birth parents to attend their weddings, complete with cake and a bride’s veil, could remember that for the rest of their lives.

If one owned a small cabin or house, with enough land to provide a kitchen garden that would produce enough food to put away for winter stores, wealth was clear. Size of the home didn’t matter. Everyone would have a place to sleep, warm and secure when cold and snow took over the outer territory. The living room/family room/kitchen, etc. occupied one space, all of which might have measured 15×20 feet. A loft was always necessary for sleeping nooks for the children.

When the world industrialized and cities became the working world for many, credit became common for those who always paid their bills on time. The 1929 Depression and subsequent lean years didn’t teach everyone the price of greed. People afterwards merely moved to different avenues for making money.

By the early 21st Century we’ve become barbarians in subtle ways. Take the incidents these past couple of days across the country. People, so absorbed in their passion to buy the latest and greatest for the cheapest price available, have been willing to kill or maim others to get to a desired item first.

Headlines in the news: Woman pepper sprays others, injuring 20 people, to get to a xbox on sale. Shoppers, anxious to get into a store for first pickings, dismantle a door and trample to death a young woman standing ready to open the door at the appointed time. A man is shot in a store’s parking lot during a sale.

Question: Have we become barbarous murderers in the name of possessions? Or, has greed so possessed our people through constant consumerism propaganda that we’re desensitized to our own actions?

Incidents like the above are on the increase, and not just at this season. When will be grow out of this selfish adolescence and back into the adulthood of our ancestors and their hard-won heritage of living with what you need and feeling blessed that you have that much security?

These are truly things to think about during this time; especially during this season.

A bientot,


Have Americans Lost Their Minds Completely?

May 17, 2011 7 comments

 I just have to get something off my mind this morning. Call it a pet peeve. Call it bitching. Either way, it could qualify.

I was watching Good Morning America this morning when they had a segment that just proved to me how nuts we’ve become in the past twenty years. The segment had to do with decorating a child’s room and having the cost run from $50,000 upward to give the little darling a wish come true. And that little darling could be an infant at the time.

You could call my reaction one of disgust, disbelief, etc. You’d be right, but you’d also miss my secondary response. That one would cover words like disappointment, outrage, and defeat.

Why would I have such a strong reaction to someone spending that kind of money on something as transient as a child’s room’s décor? I think it has something to do with the fact that it exemplifies the chasm between those with and those without. Recent news reports have discussed the reality of more millionaires being created every year than ever before while the ranks of the poor increase exponentially during the same timeframe. The middle class is separating into upper and lower classes.

We are truly becoming a class system in this country. It’s been coming for a long time, but the blatant signs of the division have finally come out to blind us with their neon lights.

Some watchers of this trend speculate about creating a generation of children who believe they’re entitled to all the perks in life without having earned anything. My question is this. Why haven’t these people already seen that trend?

Bigger and better houses, a new bigger and better phone every time one comes onto the market, expectations of a new car on that 16th birthday—all of these imply a need for status symbols. Stand in any electronics department of any store, including discount stores, and listen to kids with their parents. Do this for an hour and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Any time a child throws a temper tantrum because they’re going to have to wait for a new phone, or that a 60” HDTV for the child’s room is not possible simply because they’ve asked for it are only two examples of a normal day in that electronics department. I have to ask, though, if all of the kids’ influences come from advertising or peers.

There are plenty of adults out there who live the same way, and I’m not talking about those in their 20s and 30s. There are plenty of those in their 40s who seem to have the same problem as the kids. Instant gratification runs rampant.

What about those who will buy the newest, brightest, flashiest phones with apps out the whazoo and they’re worrying about making the mortgage at that moment? Or, how about the fifty some-year- old that just has to have a new paint job on his car instead of paying down the credit card?

It seems as if our culture has bred a few generations of citizens who’re more concerned with living the good life rather than having a good life. I’ve come to disbelieve people who look as if they have everything. I guess I’ve watched too many shows educating people about dealing with debt and witnessing those that are trying to climb out of a hole so deep it will take years of careful planning to prevent them from losing everything.

Until the mindset changes within our country, I doubt that much can be done about the decadence that seems to be taking over. When the powers that be ignore the critical situations that face us all and refuse to step up to address the poverty question, the environmental hazards we face, and the truth about how far gone our educational systems’ infrastructure really is, we won’t have a prayer of pulling ourselves up to be a healthier country.

I doubt seriously that it’s the fat on our bodies that’s making us such as we are, but rather the fat between our ears than control the issues. And yes, I do know that many have come to their senses and ask the same question or a variant of it. I also wonder how long it will take for the majority to follow suit and understand that belongings and looks don’t define a person.

Unfortunately, a class system does define people by how well they live according to possessions and impressions. The economy drives part of the problem. Much of the rest is created by psycho-social factors. Tearing down a class system is difficult at best. The last time it took a revolution to bring about such a change.

If I’m wrong, please let me know. If I might be on to something, let me know that, too. The ultimate question is: have Americans lost their minds completely? Comments are always welcome. Dialogue encourages understanding and change.

Have a great week, peeps. A bientot,