I am constantly bewildered by our lack of interest in social change. It is clear to me that critical thinking or even common sense is of little importance. I am not talking about the natural kindness of most Americans, but the advertised model that everyone buys into and which is controlled by groups like the National Rifle Association, American Medical Association, NBA and other powerful lobbying organizations. As a progressive, I am constantly frustrated by the general public attitude of non-concern over being manipulated by the powerful few.
No matter what the issue is (gun control, health care, election reform or monetary reform) there appears to be this roadblock promoted by money, power and greed. The public has been conditioned to accept the status quo, whether out of self-interest, fear or apathy. Questioning our image is not a popular endeavor. After all people like to hear positive statements even if they know they are only superficial. Americans want quick fixes and dislike delving into root causes or upsetting popular perceptions.
The recent mass murder in Aurora is only one example of America’s infatuation with pretense; obsessed with individuality and freedom of choice. It appears we can’t have discussions about substantive issues or look objectively at other developed countries solutions to social problems. Our rationale for not embracing change is totally illogical. Why would we let common sense interfere with our time honored American tradition of blowing something up or disturb our Wild West mentality?
Two of my favorite quotes by David Kennedy (Stanford historian) relate to this subject: “Before history can teach, it must challenge and even discomfit” and “While history is remembered backward, it is lived forward.” Perception is not reality. Hype and image may be good marketing, but lousy realism.