An Opinion on American Culture
America the Beautiful
American culture, for better or worse, is intense. As a country, Americans are progress driven and money hungry which isn't bad for America but it isn't healthy either. We Americans morphed the American Dream into this unrealistic expectation of everything in our lives running like a well oiled machine: picture perfect family, healthy body and mind, clean and well organized home, successful career, money, and a charismatic personality to match.
We all have this image in our heads of how things are supposed to be. Hollywood has crafted this image through dynamic and memorable stories and characters but what we fail to remember about the characters we idolize and the stories we emulate is that there's always a fatal flaw or issue. There's no story without conflict, right? Gatsby couldn't move on/ bring back the past so he didn't grow as a character which led to his ultimate demise. Yet he is seen by many as the man who has it all: the house, the cars, the body, a successful career, and the personality.
I think we forget that real life flesh and blood humans have flaws too; whether it's flaws in society like racism and sexism or it's personality flaws like addiction, vanity, a lack of self confidence, or greed. And the worst part is, our flaws are often undefinable to us.
It's crazy to think that while Americans have this unobtainable idea of what it means to be successful, other countries are fighting to get a stable government put in place. Americans suffer from a lot of first world problems. It could be the fact that the loaded taco burrito at Taco Bell is for a limited time only or maybe it's that not every public building has free wifi but in the grand scheme of things, Americans have such a high standard of living compared to the rest of the world that they really shouldn't complain. Most Americans have access to public education, clean water, and public transportation and as a civilization Americans have worked hard to make these things available for the people in their country. Huge corporations have made America what it is today and without that revenue we wouldn't be worried about getting our entirely frivolous unicorn frappuccinos.
Before I start an unwanted debate on capitalism, I'm going to state my point: the Americans behind huge companies are tenacious, thick skinned, hard working, and devoted. These traits seem to run in American's blood and as my own generation hits the work force, the older generation is starting to realize that things have changed.
The new generation no longer craves settling down and maintaining a house inside a white picket fence. No sir! My generation wants to change the world either with their voices or their technology.
I'll be the first to say that my generation is lazy. We haven't had to deal with the same trials as our parents or grandparents. We didn't have a Great Depression or World War II. My generation has had to face an unknown world: the internet and social media. We are the guinea pigs. My parents never experienced cyber bullying or online harassment. While these issues pale in comparison to World War II this comparison shows a shift in the human race.
Since World War II ended, America has been working to get ahead. While Germany and Poland tried to rebuild and figure out what their government was doing, America pushing forward. Fast forward to today and there's an awfully different set of expectations for young adults in America today.
America sprung ahead of pretty much every country in the world in terms of development. Because most Americans have their basic needs (food, shelter, rest) taken care of, they have had the chance to focus on education. Students today are expected to perform at a high level. They are bombarded with standardized tests that determine their fate. When your entire future relies on a test score you feel vulnerable. Is it healthy to put this much pressure on students?
But that's the American Way. Push on until you die and you still won't have it all.
All opinions are my own
I do not own any of the photos used