The decline of the American Great

The decline of the American Great

by -
Editorial cartoon by Josette Adame

When did we stop revering greatness in America?
Rick Santorum recently got on a microphone, and chastised our current president Barack Obama for being an elitist snob. You know, the kind of braggart who wants everyone to be able to go to college, and believes in — as Santorum said with a marked sneer — science.
We used to stand in awe of scientists and technologists, but now their advancements and breakthroughs, which pushed this country forward, are attributed to vague figureheads that work better with audiences. Steve Jobs didn’t actually invent the iPod, folks.
We once looked up to those who fought for a colorblind educational system, a bold woman who refused to relinquish her seat, and a man who had a dream. Now, we look to vapid reality show contestants, actors whose charitable contributions more closely resemble a PR stunt actual altruism, and politicians with permanent, duplicitous, rictus grins plastered on their faces.
Think whatever you will about your various subjects of adoration, but it’s our choice of leaders that chills the blood.
Santorum should never have been able to get to this point. It is both baffling and disturbing that we’ve let a man who thinks as he does take the national stage. Mitt Romney, for all his mock modesty and pseudo sincerity, doesn’t completely decry scientific advancement.
But all of it speaks of a larger problem we have as a country; abject anti-intellectualism and anti-exceptionalism.
Sure the smart kids got beat up when they were in school, but the presumption always was they would be vindicated in the “real world.” Instead, while discussing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) quite a few members of Congress took time to unequivocally assure the American public that they were not nerds.
We don’t value people who are smart anymore; except on television. Characters like House and Sherlock Holmes, from their eponymously named shows, are simultaneously idolized and disdained. Smart people are portrayed on television as aloof, antisocial, depressed, and love nothing more than to insult the intelligence of their less fortunate counterparts.
Is that the perception we have of the intelligent? They’re all snarky pricks who can’t wait to make us feel stupid? No wonder they’re disliked.
Even those of average intelligence, but above average drive can’t seem to get ahead in America. Imagine there are two people working for a company, each in a low-paying position, but looking to advance. One works exceptionally hard every day, and gets more work done than anyone else. The other does only what is required of him in his day job, but becomes friendly with the managers and other higher ups. Can you guess who is going to move on to a higher paid position?
Sometimes that is acceptable; often you have to play the game to get ahead in life. But in many cases hard workers are not only passed over, but consistently taken advantage of for the betterment of the mediocre.
Why? Because we can’t stand the idea that someone might be better than us at something. We’re told as children that we are unique and special, but also everyone is a winner! We’ve come to value banality in America; exceptionalism is only applauded for one’s ability at throwing assorted balls.
What’s to be done about it? Nothing right now. People need to realize that valuing the triumphs and intellectual landmarks of another individual does not eminently devalue them as a person. But in our current society, the people in power are too set in their ways to change. We can only be vigilant until the older generation is all gone.
How does that make you feel, boomers? We all just can’t wait for you to die.

SIMILAR ARTICLES

Dakota Roberts">

Dakota Roberts">

David R. Barrera">