Going to the doctor is bad enough. But then their endless penchant for running late and forcing you to listen to a television at top volume is pushing it, in my opinion. However, I would like to share with you something that was said on this intrusive waiting room TV. The station playing was our local news station, Bay News 9. By the way, I am utterly thankful that it was not FOX “right-wing – it is news because we say so – even though we are lying” News. But I digress.
Now, Bay News 9 seems half way decent. They cover mostly local news and offer weather every ten minutes – “on the 9’s”. Prior to one of these weather reports the meteorologist said – and I quote, “Klystron 9 – The most colorful television radar.” Um, really? Have we sunk so low as a society that we no longer care about content or accuracy as long as it is “colorful”? Have we dissolved into a nation with ADD (or ADHD) mentality, needing to have a kaleidoscopic and quick moving world to keep our attention?
Sadly, I think the answer is yes. Our education rates close to the bottom in all the areas of reading, math and science (33, 27 and 22 respectively – out of 33 by the way). Who is ranked the highest? Finland with scores of 2, 1 and 1 – Korea beat them out for the number 1 spot in reading. Ok, lets bring it closer to home, how about our Canadian brothers and sisters? Canada ranks 3, 5 and 2. But those socialist commies have no clue what they are doing, or so we are told. (By the way, all these lists and many more can be found here.)
Maybe I am overreacting. Why not now look at some other scores? Let’s do it, I have not reached the correct stage of inadequacy yet. Adult literacy ranking according to the OECD – #9. Health Care Quality – #37. Women’s Rights – #17. Life Expectancy – #29. Journalistic Press Freedom – #32 and that is with Finland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands being tied for 1st place. Political Corruption Index – #17 (no surprise there). And I will finally stop with the Environmental Sustainability Index – #45.
People, especially right-wing politicians, try to whip the population into a patriotic fervor – “America is the best!! Woo-hoo!!” Well, the above statistics tend to poke a few holes in this argument, but then, when do fact ever stand in their way? We may still be a world power but it is simply due to our size and our busy-body attitude of having to stick our nose in everyone else’s business. We have our hands in cookie jars globally and most of which are out of simple self-interest. We have become the bumbling bully, the Bluto of the cosmos. We want to help South Africa for diamonds and the Middle East for oil. Our government couldn’t give a rats ass for the people of these nations or the governments they instill. That is what upsets me about the whole Egypt situation. The US Government doesn’t really care whether they develop a “democracy” – especially since Bush proved even that can be bought. I feel we can deplore the violence and offer guidance, sure. But when the people themselves are shouting “We hate America”, then maybe our presence and especially our prominent pushing is causing more harm than good.
I am not saying Mubarak isn’t an asshole – maybe he is – but so was Bush and we were unable to uproot him from his 8 years squatting in the White House. But then we didn’t think about throwing Molotov cocktails.
This has been a long and winding post – for which I apologize. The point I am making is that we have not made progress or enjoyed world respect since the time of Kennedy. In fact we have slipped rapidly downhill. This does not have to lead to the bleak and dreadful existence I have alluded to, but it will require a lot of hard work and innovation. We have to stop thinking only of ourselves and our instant gratification, our gas-guzzling SUVs and our HD TVs. We have to pull ourselves out of this self made rut, respect one another and show a little courtesy.