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Commentary on a variety of movies, tv shows, music, and video games.

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ailing america

Our society in America is ailing right now- education is terrible, parenting is nonexistent, and there is weak leadership at all levels (community / church, local government, and federal government).  Bureaucracy is rampant stifling any creative change or preventing would-be leaders from actually accomplishing anything.  Our business leaders and financial institutions are looked upon as crooks and the masses have lost faith in them. 

There's very little personal, corporate, and government responsibility and accountability- everything in America is based around a short term / quarterly fix.  From the fast food eaten to satisfy the moment, without thought of how it may affect the individual later- so much to the extend that major cities have had to restrict, outlaw and ban products because people are incapable of moderation or rational decision making.  To the instant gratification and celebritization of talentless reality TV inspiring no story telling, character development, or providing content for later reflective contemplation.  To our society continuing to perpetuate an oil based industrial complex because renewable energy takes considerable time, effort, and toppling barons of establishment to develop.  And lastly, our nation's economic allegiance lying alongside insider trading brought together by an unregulated stock exchange closely resembling a gossip addled high school cafeteria that is purely in existence to boosters profits by any means necessary for shareholders today, neglecting to deal with the lost jobs, homes, environmental impact, and health issues of tomorrow- of course, only after said investors have sold their cooked book failing shares to the unsuspecting public. 

There is no long term solutions or vision for America's future.  Integrity holds less value than the dollar, which became meaningless after it went off of the gold standard and is laughably over inflated due to the Federal Reserve.

If we don't look at ourselves objectively as a whole, correct some of our major social issues, these school and theater shootings and terrible acts will never subside (and only get worse).  Individuals are shaped and are products of their environment- the trickle down effect is inevitable.  Our society needs to be reevaluated and reformed, in doing so creating and inspiring new citizens to perpetuate the cycle by managing upwards. 

It starts with personal responsibility and accountability.  Leaders must execute an ethical plan of change that answers only to integrity- remembering that pride, honor, and trust can never be bought but are simply expressions of a job well done.

Blame for horrific acts cannot be placed upon violent movies, video games, music, or even guns- sadly, a growing portion of our society isn't intelligent or emotionally mature enough to rationally handle this type of entertainment.  It's impossible and illogical to ban ideas and stories or make everything illegal that may harm someone- critical thinking education is needed to teach people how to appreciate these complex themes responsibly.  The individual's ability to think critically, understand symbolism, and reflect rationally as whole is the problem (along with a completely outdated mental health system). The impressionable feed upon ignorance. 

America's average reading comprehension among adults, the ability to analyze and understand what they have just consumed, resides at a Jr. High level.  That's 12 to 14 years old.  As we all know, the themes in many movies- even late night TV are not things we want our young teenagers watching.  The point is, these TV-MA guidelines are not there to protect our children's innocence or to promote Judeo-Christian values, but act as a barometer of the level of critical thinking and emotional maturity it takes to responsibly comprehend the mature themes about to be watched.  A specific age doesn't qualify you for viewing, but the general aptitude that is required of the viewer for analytical process.

Many adults do not understand the concept of symbolism, have difficulty differentiating between fact and fiction (reality versus virtual reality, or reality TV which is not a documentary), and lack the ability to objectively reflect on subjective material.  Again, our Nation's comprehension level is that of a Jr. High student.  That means half of us are above that, and half of us are below that but yet we all watch the same Rated R blockbuster hits.

The problem with Tipper Gore and her crusade "to save the children" from mature themes in music wasn't that vast majority didn't agree that a guideline should be in place to help parents. It was because she made it about morality, taste, and what she deemed ethical.  Cooler heads in John Denver and others prevailed and brought the issue back to its root, education.  With proper education people can differentiate between the strong emotion a song can stir inside oneself but also understand the consequences of acting upon that impulse. People can decide for themselves what they feel is morally acceptable, but educated people are able to handle strong themes and still walk away intact due to their ability to think critically. 

In Tipper's case, as noble as she thought her cause was, she was giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish.  That is the precise problem that is plaguing our society and the reason our leaders are failing miserably, they are failing to empower the people.  If you're a politician, that's a scary notion. If your constituents were as well educated and knowledgable on issues as you, they wouldn't have much use for you... Is how a Jr. High student would process that statement. Without more in-depth critical thinking you wouldn't be able to seeing the benefit of a highly educated and balanced society working towards the greatness for all and how there is always a place for everyone in that society.

Accidents will happen in all societies and people will die- that's what happens when you have soft gooey tissue and live on the planet Earth. While tragic, our society is okay with that and understands and accepts "accidents."  You don't see anyone lobbying to take cars off of the street which have caused exponentially more deaths than all of the public shootings combined.  It's the unimaginable, malicious, premeditated violence without a cause or apparent reason that our society can't grasp.  Our culture doesn't seem to mind violence, war, or brutality- it just doesn't like it when there isn't a mission or understandable motive behind it. 

From the genocide of Native Americans to our country being involved in a major military conflict at least every 20 years since its inception, to dropping the first and only nuclear bomb that held no prejudice between common men, women, and children of Japan, to the war on terrorism reaching across any border; killing in the name of a cause is quite common to us.  Theater shootings are not. 

However, perhaps public displays of violence are a perfect example of the ailing American condition?  Instantly gratifying, self-centered, lacking vision and honor, without regard to the long term affects it will have on yourself, the individuals, community, and nation. There's no personal accountability or responsibility as movies, video games, or product manufacturers are blamed. The abusive sense of entitlement that just because you're powerful enough to take, means that you do regardless of the consequences. 

No.  I refuse to accept that.  There's not a shred of me that believes we are that far misguided as a people.

Tragically, some of the world's greatest minds have also been the most maliciously violent and brutal.  In the case of the theater shooter, he was well educated.  He certainly could understand complex symbolism and critically reach conclusions of the media he was saturated with.  According to those he surrounded himself with, he was fairly emotionally stable.  There were no outright red flags, no fingers to point, no one to place blame- he was an abnormality.  These types of individuals have plagued humanity since its inception and will continue to do so until its extinction.  There is no possible way around such tragedy and loss. However, not succumbing to the fears they create by limiting freedoms and continuing to strive for societal improvement is the only way to move forward.

What happened in that movie theater and what has happened a handful of times over the last few decades, what will occasionally happen in the future, is not a product of America but being human.  We are all aware that our society, our culture is confused at the moment but we also know that's not who we are.  None of us were raised that way, none of us aspire to be a psychopath... But it happens, and we as humans at this point in our evolution cannot genetically manipulate mental health. All we have is research, education and treatment that can help correct issues and prevent some tragedies. Just as we've been able to save some people through cancer treatment.

The traditional nuclear family is anything but traditional or normal, it was an ideal.  Norman Rockwell personified his imagination of America's greatness, what he wanted mankind to be- it wasn't nonfictional portraits. Sure, it's a nice thought but it's not reality.  We have problems, we don't all get along, and the majority of us have to split holidays with several families.  That doesn't mean we've failed, it means we've changed.  The children have adapted and made the best of the situation, in turn becoming the glue holding these families together.  These same children will continue to adapt, accept the new challenges of our country, and provide solutions that will accommodate us all.  The game isn't over but the level of difficulty has risen and the competition is tougher.

America is no longer a power among nations but a leader in a global community.  Understanding that the only true asset a country has is its people is the next great step in political evolution.  The first country to be able to balance freedom, choice, and expression but also wholeheartedly invest in lifelong intellectual capital and wellbeing will create a society of empowered citizens turning out unprecedented national gross product.  The monetary value of the country along with the quality of life for it's people will be unlike anything the world has ever seen.  No amount of oil, gold, farmland, or manufactured goods can rival human ingenuity, spirit, and desire.

Fundamentally we are a country of greatness and at this current moment there is no nation filled with more opportunity and ability than this one.  What are we going to do with it? It is up to our political figures to seize this moment and provide the people with direction, trust, and hope.  To lead them with ambition, competence, and integrity.  It's no longer enough to do things right, but we need leaders doing the right thing.

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