Dear America, You can still be great.

((This is very long and to be honest, might be a bit controversial. But honestly I think it's time for someone to just say it. Because when you look around at the world, the politics, and everything else... well you tell me. Am I right or full of shit?)
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/10/world/africa/rhino-extinct-species-report

I'm an American, I love my country, I love the people, and I love what we stand for. Most of us here in new England are great people and for the most part this may not apply directly to you, but this is still something I’d say is an important thing for us all to recognize, though I apologize to those this does not apply to.

That being said I want you all to know that I fucking hate our society, our mindset, our values and our generation. I hate majority of our national interests, the attention we give to celebrities, the detachment from what congress does and the free passes that are given to those with money and power. I hate the lies we're feed, the bullshit of politics, the crap that gets reported on and the idiots that play into a system that has royally screwed over it's people. I despise the glorification of corporations, the feel good attitude we've developed and our overall disinterest in the world around us. I hate the way education, public safety programs (such as fire fighter and police), science and the social safety nets we use to help our fellow Americans are slashed to "build the economy" and "are a "necessary sacrifice" to cut the debt. Yet the instant that politicians realize that the sequesters budget cut has been causing air traffic to slow down they rush out a legislation for the one part of it that affects THEM. I hate that this is the shit we shrug off and don't care about.

And most of all I hate that I myself am a part of this problem as well.

We bicker over gay rights, which should never have been an issue in the first place. We argue about birth control, which is for the individual to decide upon not society. We bitch about the economy, which fell apart due to bad marketing practices and lies. We whine about our second amendment rights which in truth ARE NOT IN DANGER AT ALL (background checks isn't a problem and it never should have been shot down). And then we blame President Obama for all of it, most of which is completely out of his direct control (and when it comes to the economy it was under Bush when it fell apart).

Yet when it comes to issues that we KNOW are a problem what do we do? We ignore it. The environment is being destroyed, species are being wiped out, and food supplies are getting lower, water along with it. Global warming is now at the point where we can no longer stop it but make an effort to reduce it's effects. We have secret bills slipped through congress (Monsanto act, look it up it's about GMO's and is completely legit) and corporations disregarding laws for profit.

And you know what? I’m done; I’m done being quiet and just posting little things. I'm done watching and hoping for people to change their attitudes and give a shit about what’s going on. I’m done watching this country let itself die because people don't stand for anything or because the ones that do are so attached to their specific labels that they divide us all further. I'm done seeing our generation, the generation that is supposed to take up the challenge of keeping America strong and united, waste it's time bullshitting around and believing that we aren't meant to do something more.

Our generation doesn't stand for anything, we don't stand for peace, and we don't stand for war. We don't stand for rebelling against the system or making change, we don't stand for education or for the environment.

The truth is we stand for not giving a fuck. And that’s what we do. We think everything is someone else’s problem, we glorify laziness and not giving a shit, we glorify partying and doing what "We want". We don't care about what others think and when we do our best excuse is "Accept me for who I am!"

We allow ignorance to be prominent. Watching shows about morons and fuck ups to dominate our culture. We either look down upon intelligence, or believe it's too lofty a goal for ourselves to achieve, rather than striving to become even better than who we are now. We let science be argued against with opinions and lies presenting the two as equal and valid opinions. We let our elders run our world make decisions on things that they know nothing about or don't understand. We’ve made grades more important than actual knowledge and money more important than all else in the world. We don't read, we don't write, hell we don't even listen to songs with any meaning behind them anymore.

We have become a culture so wrapped up in itself declaring, "We're the best! We're the greatest! We're 'Merica!" that we can't even recognize that we are NOT the greatest country in the world anymore...

And I’m sorry, I wish I didn't have to say this but it's true. America is not the greatest in the world. We are no longer what we once were. We were once a country that strived to be the best, to work hard and to be better than any other. We strove to be the pillar of success for all other countries to look to and admire as the greatest country in the world. But we became full of ourselves. We new we were great, that we were strong, and that we were powerful. And we declared it for the world to know and admire us for! Forgetting when we did that title is not inherent, that it is not ours by right.

What our ancestors created was a legacy, a standard that we were to live up to. But we haven't, and that’s because of one simple reason.

We are not a county of leaders anymore.

That was what made America great, and what can make it great again. WE NEED LEADERS. Leaders who are willing to stand up and put their asses on the line, leaders who will stand up beside them and fight tooth and nail to challenge what is happening, both socially and politically. We need to change ourselves and change what we pay attention to. We need to stop worshipping ignorance and morons. We need to learn to be creative again. We need to realize knowledge not grades are what should be our priority. We need to stop giving the rich or the popular free passes and create a system of law that doesn't target those who are already struggling.

We need to care about our fellow Americans again and showing that we care. We need to listen to those who have evidence and investigate ourselves. We need to stop letting our environment and our world fall apart and do something that actually makes a difference. We need to strive to be smarter and more informed, not because we're forced to, but because we WANT to.

When people voted for Obama he ran on the campaign of Change. And yet we haven't seen much of it. But unlike some I DON'T think that the reason is neither that he was lying to us nor that he meant that he would bring it on his own. I think people forget the president is only one man. That campaign, that message is still strong and as important as it ever was. But it wasn't just about changing the government, it never was. People, We need to change ourselves, our society, and the way we look at the world. We need to be a part of that change. And show the world that is what we want.

I'm sure, if you've read this, you'll be wondering why I’m saying this. And why this link has anything to do with what I’m saying. In truth I actually wanted to come on here today and simply post some sad news about the extinction of a species. But as I sat here wondering what to say, I began to wonder why. Why is it that this isn't big news? Why is it that we don't even know about whets going on in the world? Why is it that a science/education/environmental movement that was so strong for nearly a half century in our country has suddenly died without a second thought as to how or why it's happened?

And what I’ve come to is this, it's us. Because we no longer care about the future or striving to better ourselves. Because we allow ignorance to be glorified for the sake of political correctness and let opinion to have the same factual merit as scientific evidence. Because we at taught to fear standing out not in who we are or how we look, but in what we stand for and what we are willing to fight to protect. It’s because we are divided and afraid, untrusting and wary of even our neighbors. Because we've let opportunists and liars have the ability to trick us. We’ve let them distracted us by making mountains out of mole hills that we can't see the true mountain of problems that lay ahead, and is growing with each passing day.

We say we stand for something, that our country is great. Yet only a small few of us ever take action. And I won't lie or pretend for a second that I myself am not a part of this problem. I don't wish to be a hypocrite and blame society for a problem I myself am a part of, so that will be changing as of now. I’m making a commitment to better myself. To exercise regularly and keep in shape, to read a chapter of a book at least once a day, to learn and/or experience something new everyday, to volunteer for my community or a cause on a regular basis. And to work to help spread (factual) information and knowledge to people whenever and where ever I can. And to over all be a part of taking a step to creating a new society and country that we can be proud to leave to our children.

Because at the rate we're going we are going we are going to leave them one of two things. A country so riddled with indecision and corruption that only the rich can live comfort, or a world so barren and toxic that all of our efforts, and that of our fathers, and our mothers, and our ancestors long past, will go to waste. So that effort, and that accumulated knowledge and work, given to us by the collective effort of humanities search for truth and wisdom, can be used instead to build a world in which we could all exist as free men and women. So that one-day we might achieve our greatest of dreams and launch ourselves into a universe that is out there, just waiting for us to explore. To build a world that we will treasure and be able to be pride in having left for future generations to call home.

That is why I say this, because we can become great again. We can save our planet from ourselves. We know what is coming and that we can find ways to save ourselves, our futures, from what could well be our downfall. For the first time in our history we have a chance to not only create a world in which we needn't fear for our lives, but a world in which we can all live in as one. And in doing so achieve what we once could only have dreamed of. We have a chance to immortalize our generation not only as the one that saved the planet, but as the generation that broke the barrier of what was possible, and create mans first TRUE foothold in the galaxy.

Man first landed on the moon on July 20th 1969, dipping its toe into the universe and showing the world that it can be done. I don't know about you, but I’d like our generation to be known as the one that said this about the moon landing "They showed the world it can be done, we showed them that I will be." we can be great, I have no doubt of that. But we need to know that as of right now, WE ARE NOT. And in knowing resolve to make that our strength, not our weakness.

Today we declared a species extinct.
Today I say America has fallen.
Today I say we can be great once more.
Today I say it's only us, the people, that can make that so.
And tomorrow?
What is to come of tomorrow?
To that I say this,


You.
Tell.
Me.
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/10/world/africa/rhino-extinct-species-report

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  • 3

    I don't see how you can argue any of this. You seriously think we have become worse than we once were? We are more socially advanced now than ever. In the past you had fake doctors selling medicine that was little more than sugar pills, child labor, slavery, racist laws, corporation monopolies, bad working conditions, no environmental protection laws, corrupt government officials, rampant crime, no women's rights, have I listed enough problems yet? I am curious what point in time you think was America's high point if not the 2000's onward? I understand the economy is not so great right now, but it has always bounced back when it was bad before. I don't see any reason to panic, as life really is not that bad in the USA right now, even if you're poor.

    I know the main topic for this post is the Western Black Rhino going extinct, so I want to ask you how that is America's fault that an African species went extinct? You also give no arguments for how we can improve any of these problems other than "people need to start giving a shit and being leaders again." Very constructive and helpful.

    I also must criticize this post for lack of citations. You make really bold assumptions like "We either look down upon intelligence, or believe it's too lofty a goal for ourselves to achieve, rather than striving to become even better than who we are now. We let science be argued against with opinions and lies presenting the two as equal and valid opinions. We let our elders run our world make decisions on things that they know nothing about or don't understand. We've made grades more important than actual knowledge and money more important than all else in the world." but you don't offer up any sources or any way for the reader to know you're not just spouting your opinions as facts (something you yourself seem to be against). For example...

    "we don't even listen to songs with any meaning behind them anymore."


    I'm sure you heard this a lot in English class, but you really do need to work on providing sources and being factual when you want to be taken seriously. A prime example of this is when you tell readers to "look up the Monsanto Act." It makes it seem like you care so little about the topic that you can't even be bothered to find a link to a good article about the Monsanto Act. You also assume the average person knows what a GMO is when telling them to look up the Monsanto Act.

    You have a strong voice in your post, but really that is what your entire argument relies on: strong words and your opinions instead of factual information. So I must say this sounds more like a long-winded rant that only serves to make you feel better than an actual topic looking for discussion and solutions.

    Actually that's dead on accurate. this entire post is based on opinions but it's more of an observed opinion than anything else. i'm saying most of this as a general statement for the reason that this seems to be the general attitude of America today. it wasn't meant to be factually based, and you're correct in saying it's not very helpful to my case. but i want you to know i did that on purpose for two reasons, the first being that there is a major problem with people not looking into things themselves. I had the full intention to make this controversial, and i guess to a degree hypocritical, by relying almost exclusively on opinion. by doing so it was my hope that people would challenge me on my assertions and ask for both facts to back these claims and to hear what other people thought about what i said. i wanted to spark conversation through controversy so that people would speak about what they thought honestly and openly based on my thoughts alone.

    the second is that i was hoping my opinions and comments would cause reflection on what people are seeing in their lives and whether there are positive changes they could make. The idea is to create a push, not to rebel against the government, but this attitude that seems prominent in our culture. it was my hope that people would reflect upon this and make an attempt to change themselves, not have me simply spewing out whats wrong with the world. it was for this reason i made sure to say a couple simple things i would be doing myself to help contribute to this change in attitude, simple little things to improve myself and in doing so hopefully inspire others to do something as well. it's in this way i hoped that my opinions would be most effective.

    however upon further reflection and your request i'll gladly put in stats and facts for credible sources. you're right in the idea that it does take away from what i've said but as i was focused mostly on commenting about how we look at the world as individuals i felt it would be better to just give my opinions and see what people thought. i thought it would make it seem more human than to rattle off a bunch of stats and facts, especially to a population that seems to want to talk on a human level rather than be talked to as a statistic.

    Also i just want to clarify, this isn't meant to be directed at the government as the full source of the problem but it's meant to start exploring the idea that we as a society might be the thing that needs to consider change. thats why i mentioned Obama's slogan, and why i commented on congress. it seems to me that Obama's message isn't just in changing the government but our attitudes about who we as Americans are. the comments about congress were also more to highlight that when it comes down to it we aren't picking leaders who are working for us but rather leaders who serve their own interests. i highlight that for the specific reason that i believe in order to bring change we need to bring change in ourselves, our views on how we can better the world, and in who it is that we are choosing to represent us.

    I'd like to highlight this paragraph in particular
    {I also must criticize this post for lack of citations. You make really bold assumptions like "We either look down upon intelligence, or believe it's too lofty a goal for ourselves to achieve, rather than striving to become even better than who we are now. We let science be argued against with opinions and lies presenting the two as equal and valid opinions. We let our elders run our world make decisions on things that they know nothing about or don't understand. We've made grades more important than actual knowledge and money more important than all else in the world." but you don't offer up any sources or any way for the reader to know you're not just spouting your opinions as facts (something you yourself seem to be against). For example...

    "we don't even listen to songs with any meaning behind them anymore."}

    As you say these are opinions that i have, i don't deny that. but there's a difference between a baseless opinion and an informed one. I also want to point out that i've said already that this doesn't apply to every person in the US but i believe a vast majority of the country has the mindset of "if it's not affecting me then it's not my problem.", and thats what i was trying to get across in that paragraph.

    Now breaking down that paragraph starting from the top here's my reasoning for these claims.
    in the first sentence i claim that intelligence is either looked down upon or perceived as out of our reach. Now this is not the vast majority of people. intelligence is without a doubt admired by many and held in high esteem by most. but the catch is what people perceive as intelligence and the source it comes from. which is why the next claim is that science is allowed to be debated with opinions and lies. this is a statement i stand behind fully due to bills that are being introduced and passed, and certain theories which are debated heavily with little to no legitimate information being presented to reasonably disprove it other than bought opinions and crummy data. since you requested information earlier i'll provide these reasons for backing my claims.

    -Science classes still having bills introduced to teach creationism
    -46% of americans believe in creationism without evolution
    -global warming 70% of americans believe in it yet america is taking little action to work on solutions
    -NASA has been defunded, despite requiring a relatively small amount of money to begin with and producing some of the best scientific advancements of any government agency and in doing so helps boost the economy
    -Education is slashed despite studies that show it is essential to a developed country being success full
    Link: http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/eeg_what_research_says.pdf
    -the sheer number of baseless conspiracies theories (yes some people are just nutty but the number of people who believe in these are pretty incredible)
    Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conspiracy_theories
    Link:


    i then go on to claim that our elders are passing judgement on issues that they don't know or understand (not all decisions but in enough where we should be concerned) this i can point to CISPA, Many environmental laws (Referring to global warming, and protection of environment) to evolution Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/06/republican-congressman-paul-broun-evolution-video (he's on the board of science in congress damnit). this i believe gives me reason to claim that our elders are not as informed as we might hope. faith is one thing but when being told something by someone who studies the information being presented for a living faith needs to be put aside in those case for the interest of the people. for example, i don't care if someone doesn't believe in global warming because of a faith, but if being told this is happening and given evidence as damning as that which has been collected (of 13,950 peer reviewed papers on global warming only 24 reject the claim- http://scienceprogress.org/2012/11/27479/ ) religion must be set aside and the interests of the public acted on by the evidence not your personal beliefs.

    And finally i claim grades are more valued than actual knowledge. personally i believe this fully considering the vast majority of studies show that standardized tests aren't a good measure of intelligence or knowledge. which is why the S.A.T and local state tests are now being held as less of a requirement in acceptance to schools and in jobs. this much has been a clear goal of education reformers and is often talked about by teachers and educators. http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Grades_Any_Good/
    the emphasis of good grades is one reflected in both the parents of the child and in the government funding of these schools. by creating a system that focuses more on the grades as a "measure of success" parent put an extreme pressure on their children and the school is forced to focus more on getting their students to pass than to actually understand what is going on in the class. personally i have a different idea which i'll actually be making a post and video on (trying to start a youtube channel) which would highlight a personalized education system according to the student with minimum requirement to be met for all subjects and the ability to advance at your own pace in areas of interest or difficulties.
    but in any case education is in serious need of reform into a different way of teaching students so that they might get the most out of the education system.

    you're right in saying it was a bit hypocritical of me to make claims without giving where i get my evidence from so i hope this compensates a bit before i due this with the info attached but i do explain above my thought process and that i'll be adjusting it.

    addressing the idea that i seem to think that america is at it worst point. i want to be clear thats not at all what i was saying. i was advocating for a shift in the social attitude to the world and the view of ourselves. i think there are many problems that we have that can be adressed but in order to do so we need to wake up and be smart about what we are doing. by changing our outlook on how we as people view our role in society we could easily recover from the state the country is. i'm not saying that America is hell or evil what i'm saying is that society seems to be less involved than it should be and we are starting to reach a point where if we don't do something we may well be in more trouble than we realize. all this is advocating is for people to get informed and to learn about the issues for themselves. it denounces the corruption and looks to show people that like it or not the problems we are facing are a result of inaction on our part as well as the government. by informing ourselves we make better, more informed choices, by making more informed choices we can elect leaders who look out for us and our best interests. by electing leaders who look out for us and our best interests we can create a country that faces less of these problems and works to make a better world/ society for us and generations to come.

    i'd go into the monsanto act right now but i'll update the page instead, here's a link to the daily show though (it's comedy yes but very informed and accurate). brief info on what it does though. GMO's are in much of the food we buy/eat. the act basically says that if it's found to be dangerous or cause long term health effects that Monsanto can't be sued for it. basically meaning there is a chance it is linked to health defects and they want a way to protect the company. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-april-3-2013/you-stuck-what-where-now----the-monsanto-protection-act

    and to the last paragraph, thank you for saying i have a strong voice but i don't wish that to be what i rely on exclusively and i think it was hypocritical for me to do so in this considering how i advocate for facts. my opinions are not fact no matter how informed i believe myself to be and as much as i would like to just be able to give an opinion i recognize that you may need more than that before accepting what i've said. i'll make sure to take your advice and provide more evidence in such posts. this was very opinion based and serves no real purpose other than to express my thoughts on the subject until i give the evidence to back my claims. after reading your response i'll make sure to do this from now on and thanks for critical response you've given :)
    - 24paperwings May 3, 2013, 4:20 pm
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  • 1

    Sometimes you have to let a fire burn itself out. I love my country too, but I also understand that before we can climb out of this pit we first have to stop falling by hitting the bottom. I would advice bracing for impact by making sure you and those you care about won't be left high and dry.

    I understand the logic, but i'm not willing to let it happen. my goal is only to get people to wake up and care again. but if i need to do more i will. i can't knowingly let suffering come to my friends or family. i will do anything i can to stop this before its too late. all i ask is you spread the message before it comes to that.
    - 24paperwings May 2, 2013, 6:12 pm
    It's already too late, it was too late 13 years ago. We are the minority right now so there is not much we can do, and the majority will need to be walked to the edge and look demise in the eye before they turn around and begin pushing back.
    Look into into growing methods such as aquaponics, cloning, and the use of buildings such as warehouses and bio-domes. Also look into means of energy and fuel production, this includes nuclear energy, bio fuels produced from algae, Geo-thermal, and hydro electric. Join your state militia, it is a great way to meet like minded people and organize to prevent those around you from being affected to severely.
    - triclebickle May 2, 2013, 7:48 pm
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  • 1

    ... and did you know your very own Eastern Mountain Lion is now extinct?

    • Math
    • May 3, 2013, 7:49 am
    yes and it sucks but that was declared 2 years ago and wasn't exactly what inspired this so i left the rhinos in
    - 24paperwings May 3, 2013, 2:05 pm
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  • 1

    I agree somewhat with Casper.
    I understand your angered at the state this country is in, as am I, but being angry and blurting many different social/political/economic problems this country has without proper citing makes this all seem very dogmatic. Plus, as I've seen time and time again, you state what we need to do on a broad level. Yes we need to make changes but how will we be able to manage such tasks? I'm all about specifics.

    "We need to change ourselves and change what we pay attention to. We need to stop worshipping ignorance and morons. We need to learn to be creative again. We need to realize knowledge not grades are what should be our priority. We need to stop giving the rich or the popular free passes and create a system of law that doesn't target those who are already struggling.

    We need to care about our fellow Americans again and showing that we care. We need to listen to those who have evidence and investigate ourselves. We need to stop letting our environment and our world fall apart and do something that actually makes a difference. We need to strive to be smarter and more informed, not because we're forced to, but because we WANT to. "

    Great ways of fixing things in our country. But HOW do we do these things and what specific part about them need to be done?

    As a kid in grade school when my grades started to slip, my teacher always asked, "What are you going to do about this?" And I would always reply, "Try harder" Well.. what was I going to do to try harder?

    Regardless I really liked this post. I think you are a strong individual willing to work with people to get the job done. And just like you, I envision a world where people can live freely without hate, stand together and strive for success. I really like how you mention that most people only realize the grade and not the individual intelligence. This is a huge mistake made everyday, even by teachers, colleges etc. The grading system in schools is almost as corrupt as big business in America and should be acknowledged on a national level.

    Reply
  • 1

    As an Australian I feel like things are very much looking up for my country, sure politics are always bullshit but we survived the economic recession with a mere scratch.

    From an outside point of view it's very clear that America is slowly slipping away, we don't see the US on the news as much and we don't talk about how much they fuck up as much, just because the power they have is less and less.

    Americas time as a global power is over.

    Reply
  • 1

    as an american, i agree with your opinion for the most part. the only way adults and people in power learn is through pain and suffering, the country must die(rock bottom isn't so tough) before it can rise again. unfortunately, after it dies the power will belong to a few raised on capitalism and not giving a shit. america will become more of a business than a country. and i am afraid.

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