American Individualism is Killing Us

I would like to salute

the ashes of American flags

and all the fallen leaves

filling up shopping bags

Wilco “Ashes of American Flags”

Ask any student I’ve ever taught and you’ll hear references to “the social contract”. I don’t know at what age I became aware of this moral compass that says, “hey, look out for others”, but it’s been a part of my psyche for a LONG time. I’ve always understood it as an implicitly agreed upon set of rules that allow a society to function. You help elders, offer help when you can, say “please” and “thank you” and, when given the choice, work toward the greater good. I used to believe that this was a cultural thing, and American thing. I don’t think that anymore.

I saw this last night and was broken (with all credit to Twitter user hilaryagro). How do we allow this to happen? At what point did we as human beings think this was acceptable? These are fucking children: one letter from this thread came from a little girl asking for a powered wheelchair. Another asked for a bed for her parents because they kept waking up with back pain. Again, I ask: how do we allow this to happen?

When I was a little boy, remember heading to some random building with my grandmother and waiting in a line for her to get some cheese (which later my dad referred to as “government cheese”). I also remember being sent to the local store to pick up a can of hominy and, instead of regular dollars, being given these bills that had a vague brownish tint to them that kinda resembled money but not. Later on, I would learn that they were in fact, food stamps. And absolutely nothing was wrong with that. At all. These were services that everyone in my family had received benefits from. It was normalized and it felt like the government was actually helping out the people who needed it.

Now? We’re so worried at the small chance that someone might receive a benefit that perhaps they shouldn’t that we throw obstructions between ALL people and social services. We are such a broken and disgusting society that the very thought of someone getting a little extra is worthy of gutting fucking ALL OF THE social programs.

Somebody gave me “Arguments for Socialism” by Tony Benn, and I discovered that what I just thought was decency was a political position. You look after people who are less fortunate, and anyone who does otherwise is just fucking ghastly

Johnny Marr

I am absolutely tired of this shit. We’ve privatized our water supplies, our broadband, our roads, our cell phone service and even some of our utilities and it’s demonstrably worse. Who the fuck thinks any of this shit is ok? What is fucking wrong with instituting government programs that will help the disenfranchised and less fortunate AND HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO HELP TIME AFTER TIME? The worst are people who, when talking about the idea of FREE FUCKING COLLEGE, answer with, “well it’s not fair to the people who paid off their student loans…” THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA HAD FREE COLLEGE FOR STUDENTS UP UNTIL THE MID 90S WHEN VOTERS DECIDED THEIR PROPERTY VALUES WERE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE FREE EDUCATION THEY BENEFITED FROM YOU FUCKING ANIMALS! [Ronald “I shit myself” Reagan fought hard to force tuition for students while also gutting education funding, FYI.]

We never have funding for public education, arts and music programs, medicare for all, or any other social services. We literally have people rationing insulin because they can’t afford it. But the minute the military or wall street are running low on cash, we suddenly have a print machine that can pump out the dollars with quickness. What’s the fucking end game here? Once everything is gutted, then what?

I hate the fact that, whenever someone asks Americans to do or act in the service of others, no matter how minuscule the task, our “personal freedoms” take precedent. Just because you wrap minor inconvenience around the flag of freedom doesn’t suddenly make you “free”. It makes you a selfish piece of shit and I’m tired of these assholes acting like giving a shit about other people is tantamount to communism. WE ALREADY HAVE BREAD AND FOOD LINES AND WE ARE THE BASTION OF UNREGULATED CAPITALISM, YOU INEPT, BRAINDEAD FUCKS!

I’m angry. Angry that my country’s motto is “look out for #1 and fuck everyone else”. I am disgusted at the idea that instituting government programs that could benefit a large portion of our disenfranchised is “socialist” and, therefore, evil. But mostly, I’m heartbroken that we have kids in our country who not only are food and home insecure, but are literally writing letters to Santa on behalf of their parents. Because WE failed them. Me. You. All of us. And these kids have to be robbed of a childhood because the only thing “social” about Americans is our ability to shit on everyone else and ourselves.