What Americans Don’t Want to Know

What Americans Don’t Want to Know

by Tori Perez

“Not everything can be changed that is faced, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
– Lucille Ball

It’s simple.

Gas prices are falling, poor people are getting better health insurance, soldiers are being sent home to their families.. It sounds like things are going pretty well for our happy-go-lucky, wealthy country. Just another day livin’ the American dream.

 

Living in America is much like driving a shiny new car. Americans trust their cars too much. They think if they take out a loan for that last-year model Lexus that they’ve got it made and don’t have to worry about anything. Unlike their poor friend in college who’s still driving that ’92 Geo Metro.

 

False. No matter how new your car is or how many miles it has on it, all cars require the same routine maintenance to be kept in good condition. Simple things – check the fluids, brake pads/shoes, belts, tires, plugs, filters, hoses and joints. If all of this is kept up consistently then there will rarely be a need for expensive, unexpected repairs to the engine or other systems.

 

So what? So Americans are driving their 2015 Lexus down I-5, seemingly without a care in the world. It’s got a fresh coat of untarnished red paint, perfectly tuned thermostat for the A/C, radio and iPod hookups and a sun roof. All the comforts of home while you’re flying down the freeway at 80 mph. We are lucky and blessed to have our shiny new car, er, country. Who needs to bother with routine maintenance? However, we know an auto mechanic just around the corner for when things go bad.

Politicians have become our hard-working mechanics. Politics are becoming exponentially more commercialized in a way that takes the responsibility off of us random citizens. We get all the perks without the hard work of the mechanical processes. That’s the dirty work of politicians. Every now and then we take our car to a mechanic and they slather themselves in grease for a few hours, fix up our car and we’re on our way. The good news is that all mechanics are extra greasy, and extra trustworthy, so that we don’t have to know what’s happening on the inside.

In Bowling Alone – The Collapse and Revival of American Community¹Robert D. Putnam tells us

“In 1960, 62.8 percent of voting-age Americans went to the polls to choose between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. In 1996, after decades of slippage, 48.9 percent of voting-age Americans chose among Bill Clinton, Bob Dole and Ross Perot, very nearly the lowest turnout in the twentieth century. Participation in presidential elections has declined by roughly a quarter over the last thirty-six years. Turnout in off-year and local elections is down by roughly this same amount.” [Emphasis added]

In other words, we are more than happy to let someone else make the decisions and do the “dirty work” for us. It doesn’t matter much who they are, either. The more we shift responsibility, the more our paint stays shiny, and the more our engine falls apart.

When I was little I used to wonder what it would be like if the floor of the car was opaque and we could see through to all the mechanical wonders. We would see them working hard to propel us, not to mention have a great view of the concrete flashing past underneath our feet.

no_floor3

Talk about terrifying! But, thankfully, engineers know better and have put these dangers out of sight and out of mind. All we need to remember is the click of a seat-belt buckle and we are “safe”.

So… that thing that happened this last Friday? Something about the Supreme Court?

I’m filled with the same irritation, worry and fear that takes over me when I see this little symbol on my dashboard:

Car-Warning-Light-Check-Engine

Don’t tell me about it.

I don’t want to know.

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