AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM...


 

The following is a work of fiction.

Pledging Allegiance to the flag and singing God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner and eating Apple Pie with a Beer or Cola product and getting the job done, efficiently, quickly, and with love is what America was all about. And now I think our mother is crying because we destroyed her home. It isn't about climate change or global warming it is is about doing the right thing by the planet. When mom says to clean we should clean. How much debris should be in front of your favorite restaurant or store ? Would I be crazy to think that petrified poop would be removed by someone even if it just out of embarrassment ? 

We had hospitals in at least three states that were created for dealing with COVID. Pop up hospitals. And the story goes that you were either not sick enough or too sick to be seen there. Ambulances were refused from brining patients in. Hundreds of millions wasted.

Two houses per day were created during the creation of the Hover Dam. During the first Arbor Day 1 million trees were planted. That seems exceptional to me. Those are the things that we can pledge allegiance to and pump our fists in the air about. Landing on the Moon and Mars.. Wal-Mart is really good at creating success in their business. What if in Chicago we gave all the houses the government owns and asked them, to make them profitable again? And when society fails I am quick to apportion blame. Those possibilities of blame are endless as are my numerous excuses. Doubt that anyone else has that problem.

Whose responsibility is that ? Or do we just think that someone else is going to take care of it. Remembering the times that I worked at a grocery store and was a low-level supervisor, I thought of how I used to come in early and pick up the debris and shuttle the carts back into the front of the store. Working off the clock was against company policy at least in theory. The other supervisors we're supposed to go off their check list and make sure things were taken care of before they left to go home.

Most didn't. Coming in on Sunday I can imagine my boss seeing the mess and that not putting him in a good mood. After doing this for a while, my boss, the store manager asked if I came in early on Sundays to clean the lot. I was suspicious of why he was asking. Policy stated that we shouldn't do this and I was wondering if he was going to use against me.

I told him "Yes," and then explained the reason why. He thanked me. Living in Chicago one store always had a mess in front of it. The garbage was never emptied and then the wind would blow it all the local area. My guess was that the people Independent contractors who came to clean it the next day we're happy the store didn't clean; since, they had work.

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It just seemed like a complicated process and it didn't seem that emptying the garbage was that big a deal. Something simple that didn't get done. It seemed a complicated process. What's my point? How many other things go on like this ? Easy to do and not get done ? Just think of all the missing links in our society. During the pandemic I started to realize the missing links. We couldn't get masks or ventilators or the right testing equipment. Other countries had it and yet we weren't resourceful or resilient enough to get it done. Had we lost the plot?

Thinking about all the information that Google had shouldn't they be able to tell us were the outbreak was going to happen next. And the digital thermometer companies had more information pertaining to where people were sick. Then I wondered to myself as I saw masks strewn on the ground or in the garbage if this was the proper way to dispose of them. And then I heard about the wasted food, potatoes, eggs and milk being dumped down the drain and hogs that were being killed because the farmers didn't want to feed them. This left me wondering where the concept of American Exceptionalism was.

A High School student in Georgia provided masks for all the hospitals in the state. At one point, he had provided more masks than the federal government did. Kept on thinking to myself as I recalled a Leslie Stahl interview, where she went into the warehouses of the United States military. They have leftovers from a war that my grandfather could have fought and you can just see on for ages. That's probably where the masks and ventilators we're hiding...

It seems China and Australia and Senegal beat us. Well in life and in government we will make lots of mistakes. The National Debt each one of us could get about $80,000. And the spending continues and what do we really get for it?

In Chicago, people, the elderly will be on trains sleeping and trying to protect themselves from the coldness of people and weather as well. What we need is another charity. Because if we just have one more charity this time things will work out.

We are great at building bombs and endless wars and not so great at curing PTSD and making sure veterans have inexpensive insurance. When did the idea of not having warm water coming out of the faucet become the norm? Are we that cheap? So we had another bailout... Interestingly enough this took some time to pass. It seemed to me as if all the players were just playing their roles as stooges in a melodrama. From the very beginning the PPP program was corrupt. Making a joke, about opening a business just to get a loan/grant, I thought it would never happen , and yet people did that.

And the corporations just didn't use the program as it was meant to be implemented. And then we basically get a huge shoulder shrug from Big Daddy government and another play that something will be done. All those business people lined up to the trough. No one could figure out how to survive without government money. Patriots. Remember when ?

What happened to that version of thinking that said "Big Government," wasn't the answer and that, "all this was kick the can down the road," politics ? Billionaires on welfare, with no skin in the game. Sure would be nice to play a game where you couldn't lose. Rigged. Any left money from the programs can be used by the president until 2064. Compare that to the months that it took to pass the second stimulus for the poor. Couldn't they have just don't that all in one bill ? " How much debris should be in front of your favorite restaurant or store ? Would I be crazy to think that petrified poop would be removed by someone even if it just out of embarrassment ? Whose responsibility is that ?


Or do we just think that someone else is going to take care of it.

What's my point? How many other things go on like this ? Easy to do and not get done ? In an episode of MASH, Hawkeye writes the president and asks, "Who's Responsible?" And so in this observing America's Exceptionalism that is a great question to ask. When we walk down the street and see more homeless individuals, blighted housing, murders beyond war numbers, litter and an estimate that more garbage will be in the ocean in the upcoming years than fish, whole species of animals disappearing one must ask "Who is responsible?" God. Man. The pigeons. Curious -call me crazy when I- here is the conundrum-wonder if we have lost the plot. In the absence of God who is responsible? Talking to a friend, who was telling me about how his sister had done him wrong. She promised to do this and that and somehow who knows how it didn't materialize, the way that my friend wanted.

He refused to admit that he might hold some animosity toward her based on his responding to her not keeping her promise and him not realizing that he shouldn't have been dependent on her guidance in the first place. And yet these things happen. And I had to ask, maybe philosophically, "Upon your death bed who is ultimately responsible for your life and lack or gains ?" "There are 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States – this includes all 501(c) designations from churches and cultural centers to food banks and disaster relief organizations."

Once upon a time I made a comment, "That one day everyone would have a charitable organization and nothing would get done." Who is responsible for the mess in your neighborhood or your mind ? Let's come up with a list of whom we can blame. Here is the conundrum, once we take up responsibility for our mental, physical and flora and fauna environment does that mean we will have ultimate success in our endeavors? It is tempting and easier to just say, "Good enough as it is." Who wants to run around and just be a fixer of broken relationships and a society that works and doesn't work? And just because you go to fix doesn't mean you will succeed. My mind remembers a time of convincing myself and being convinced that I could do something that I found complicated. Lesson learned don't ask me to put in on your bathroom floor.

Imagine if we took those broken down houses and held banks that owned and didn't own these properties and told them they needed to be fixed. In 2008, banks were "evicting" people-well not legally-but by force. And then when the taxes came due, they would claim they didn't own the property. They only owned it when it was a business loss. This really messed with people's finances and credit ratings, all to the delight of the banks.  An economist once told me, "Debt is king."

Imagine if each church raised money and fixed up one house.

Imagine if the Metra Police; instead, of chasing people out of the stations at night, grasp this-what if their income was based on getting people housed?

The CTA and Metra received about a billion dollars from the Federal Government and yet we don't ask them to come up with a credible strategy to house the poor and make sure that there is heat on the Blue Line.

I am starting to sound like John Lennon.

“Autograph your life with a signature of excellence.” ― Mark F. LaMoure

Two houses per day were created during the creation of the Hover Dam. During the first Arbor Day 1 million trees were planted. That seems exceptional to me. Those are the things that we can pledge allegiance to and pump our fists in the air about. Landing on the Moon and Mars... All those wonderful doctors and nurses and cleaners and fire people and EMTS. 

And when society fails I am quick to apportion blame. Those possibilities of blame are endless as are my numerous excuses. Doubt that anyone else has that problem. Personally, I take 100 percent responsibility for 50 percent of my actions. Two houses per day were created during the creation of the Hover Dam. During the first Arbor Day 1 million trees were planted. That seems exceptional to me. Those are the things that we can pledge allegiance to and pump our fists in the air about. Landing on the Moon and Mars..

This article is indeed a lopsided rant and that is just it. We all contribute to our community in one way or another and when does our being "our brothers keeper" end ? And when does our pandemic of ignorance subside ? It is true that we can't do it all. Still some things are so easy to do. You would think that is what would happen. It is sad that we had to try to convince people to wash their hands, cover their face with a mask and clean. Certainly that was not our exceptionalism. And even though I can play armchair quarterback or back seat driver I don't think I am the one who can cure the ills of society. Been there and done that. It's a conundrum. I do what I can do.

Here is an exceptional story. Click the picture below. To find out how.