It has always been my nature to question things, but lately I’ve been questioning everything. After the shootings in Binghamton, NY on April 4, 2009, I’ve become excessively aware of my surroundings as well as keeping a close eye on those around me. I blame the media coverage for turning the United States into a state of paranoia where everyone carries a cell phone with 911 on speed-dial ready to call when they think that there might be an emergency. Truth is, most of the time, there isn’t one.
So I ask myself, is this freedom? Is worrying about who is going to be the next person to snap and go on a murderous rampage what freedom is all about? And if we really are as free as we say we are, how is it that our freedom can be so easily taken away by the actions of others or at the whim of government? Life is full of questions, some without any answers, others with answers that will tear you apart inside.
I was a child in the 1980’s when life was copasetic, almost utopian by comparison to life today. Back in the days of my youth, people could be trusted, neighbors were helpful and friendly, and teachers cared for the success and well-being of their students. For the most part, people got along and very rarely (if ever) did you hear about a violent crime. Parents could let their kids play outside without fear of anything happening.
The Downfall of Society?
As I grew into adulthood, I watched as society began to decay and fall apart. Today my outlook on society is grim now that we have to deal with violent crime everywhere (no longer limited to big cities), and the added threat of terrorism. My greatest fear is that during my lifetime, the United States will get so overrun with war and violence that it will turn into a third-world country where its citizens will live in constant fear fighting battles against one-another.
The media always needs a target onto which to pin the blame. It bothers me when the older generation blames technology and the Internet. The Internet does nothing but facilitate instant communication and access to information worldwide. In a sense, it took all the information in the world (that was freely available long before computers were invented) and made it easier to access. So the Internet is a reflection and sole creation of society itself. Technology didn’t change us, society used advances in technology as a catalyst to expedite the degradation of society, as did the media.
Who’s Really At Fault?
It’s hard to find what component of society is at fault for the downfall. While people always point the finger towards groups of others, usually based upon their race, I take a different more panoramic view towards the problems.
I stopped watching television about a year ago. I watch only a select handful of shows, and that’s about all. Why? Every time I turn on my television set, I have to come face-to-face with all of the components that continue to lead society on a downward spiral. Everyone on television is portrayed as being so pretty and perfect, flawless, if you will, driving fancy cars, wearing expensive clothes, and acting as if the world is in the palm of their hands. While this way of thinking may not be harmful, when you show life as being all about materialism on television constantly, the majority of the population begins to believe that all of this hype and glamor is reality.
The Media And Financial Components
In a way, I blame the media for portraying life as being one big party followed by cut-throat competition at work where everyone thinks that they are better than everyone else and that the only way to get ahead in life is to sabotage the success of others to further your own career and in the process, fuel your own already over-inflated ego.
I also partially blame banks and credit card companies for fueling this self-fulfilling prophecy that we need expensive items, lavish houses, and fancy cars for our own survival and feeling of self-worth. It was the banks and credit cards that over-extended credit to these people that caused this recession that we’re now experiencing. If everyone lives their life on credit and payment over time, nobody really owns anything, instead, they choose to owe their life and soul to the banks, who get rich (so they think) by charging enormous interest rates on balances they might never see as more and more of us are claiming bankruptcy.
It All Starts With Us
My parents weren’t perfect by any means, and I had my share of troubles, but I made it through just fine. My parents raised me with what I consider to be the two most important things in life; responsibility, and respect. You respected your elders, and those around you, and you took responsibility for your actions and you responded when there was a need for action. Todays generation doesn’t get these concepts taught to them very often anymore. These days, our youngsters are better suited to come up with excuses and loopholes for responsibility than anything else. And in an almost consequence-free environment, children of today can get away with practically anything. If this trend continues, with each new generation will come an even more troubled society.
It’s called parenting. Do it. Teach acceptance instead of planting seeds of hate. Unless we as a society act to change now for the better, I fear that my worst fears might soon come true.