No Surprises, Really

A problem we have in America is that not caring about other people is woven into the fabric of who we are. Unless those other people look and think like us.

It’s not always intentional, and it’s not that altruism and caring aren’t given lip service—at home (if you’re lucky), hopefully at school. And those still attending church get a steady dose of someone’s moral high ground, depending on how scripture is interpreted in any given congregation.

It’s just that what many of us are taught and groomed to care more deeply about is living a good life where we want for nothing, where financial success equals an absence of stress, along with happiness and contentment and enviable achievement and opportunity. And the means to acquire stuff. Where comfort is the primary pursuit, and flourishing to the point of excess counts for more than simply having enough to live on.

There’s little time to think about anything but pursuit of the damned American Dream, and how we stack up against the Joneses. Wanting it all, wanting it now, always making sure it’s there for us. Bigger and better.

Jesus. It’s no wonder we have angry teenagers and societal rot—we as a nation live every day distracted, oblivious to responsibilities and basic needs, all wanting our piece of the pie, and climbing over each other to get it. It seems to be about deserving and earning and every man/woman for him- or herself. There will be collateral damage in such pursuits, and the toll is a human one.

It’s like we don’t have time or energy to care, much less notice. Such irksome things must be someone else’s responsibility. But they’re not.

Oh, and we have way too many guns.

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