Friday, February 20, 2009

What's In It For ME?

The frankly ugly spectacle of CNBC's Rick Santelli on the Today show this morning, calling for debate on the government's mortgage crisis intervention while screaming down anything anyone else had to say was a chilling reminder of the power of the outraged voice of personal grievance in this country. If you shout ME! ME! ME! loud enough and often enough you expect to get your way. This is the bully tactic of those radio talk show hosts (and, I have to say, fellow bloggers: this was "the most emailed moment in the blogosphere") who have managed to amplify Santelli's me-first voice to fever pitch. It's a call that resounds in the United States Congress, in the halls of the state capital in Sacramento, and elsewhere. My great fear is that we have lost all sense of mutual, civic responsibility in America, and that Obama's efforts to revive it may come too late. The fabric of our civility has worn very thin indeed, and if we allow it to shred further, it will not be only our economy that falls apart. We'll all be headed for the cliff's edge. I hope I'm wrong.

5 comments:

roger said...

i think that all americans should see the clip of a financial worker claiming that he and his cohort of stock traders are "a representative cross-section of america." really? and what exactly do you produce?

i can't see this looking good to most actual workers.

John Torcello said...

Science, reason, logic, proofs, common sense, etc. have been under attack for some time; focused on those who strive to become true 'experts' in their respective fields; deemed 'suspect' from those who have a different perspective on this issue as to where/whom, they understand (and are determined to tell us), true authority comes from.

Obviously, we are all entitled to think/believe/live as we may choose in spite of how these actions might affect ourselves and those around us; but, it seems to me, so much of this 'other' approach to authority seems to hinge on a narrow and closed attitude; drowning in a notion of 'belief', in which 'thumbing their noses' is an appropriate response; given their apparent 'right' to be heard and the corresponding righteousness of their opinions (for all of us).

I feel we haven't necessarily lost a sense of mutual and civic responsibility in America. Rather, the preponderance of strident, outraged voices of personal grievances and opinions might just be the 'last gasp' of those who understand their mode of operation does not carry the same weight it once did. Not being heard?; just shout louder!

Obama is the perpetual arm waving optimist...perhaps his efforts, his message have entered relatively late in the process; but, choosing to join and share in his message has no timeline.

The fabric of our civility may seem very thin and will shred further only, I think (my opinion?!), if we allow those with such opinions to speak for us and take up space in our minds and actions.

mandt said...

"The fabric of our civility may seem very thin and will shred further.." It could be that this viscous Malthusian corruption of nearly thirty years will result in ruin and give many of the chance to participate in the transition to a new Post American society.

ErnestO said...

"Everyone sees the UNSEEN in proportion to the clarity of the love in his heart."

Robin said...

Is it all about me?

or it is more about how we can help the communities better? or are we being too hard on ourselves or others?

I think so many of us are too hard on ourselves for what we didn’t accomplish or what we should have done. The first step is to forgive yourself for all the things you didn’t do that you should have and all the things that you did do that you shouldn’t have. Get rid of the guilt. Negative feelings don’t do you much good. The way to deal with them is to forgive yourself and forgive others.