Thursday, March 16, 2006

3rd World America

As a USAF veteran, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel the world, experience numerous cultures, and see some of the best this small planet of ours has to offer. I’ve ridden a camel through the Sahara Desert, visited several of the Egyptian Pyramids, swam in the Red Sea, drank beer in Germany, sunbathed in Spain, toured a bit of Italy, shopped for gold in Qatar’s bazaars, visited WWII sites in the Philippines, pulled some R&R in Kenya, climbed Mt Sinai at 3am to watch the sun rise, touched remnants of the burning bush @ St Catherine’s Monastery, etc. Those were some great times…

With that said, I’ve also seen some of the worst this world has to offer. In many of the places I’ve visited over the years, although exciting to experience, I witnessed far too much human suffering. Poverty is rampant and almost the “norm” around the 3rd world. In some of the extreme cases, I’ve seen homeless beggar children (and adults) roaming city streets pleading for handouts; in-your-face prostitution as impoverished girls try to earn money any way they can to better their lives; entire communities living in slums/shanty towns--some living next to or in garbage dumps—existing off the refuse of others; the disfigured & crippled cast aside by society, and with no social programs available, left on the street to fend for themselves… I guess the absolute worst that I’ve seen over the years was the massive numbers of starving, skeletal shells of human beings trying to survive any way they could in war-torn Somalia--the smell of death hanging in the stale air as thousands of bodies slowly decayed beneath shallow improvised graves baking in the desert sun… It was an absolute nightmare and words cannot describe the complete despair and atrocious living condition of those people.

Anyway, each of these unique travels was a new learning experience for me, yet my heart always ached for the thousands upon thousands of unfortunate people I encountered. But aside from empathy, I knew there was little I could do for these folks.

Ultimately however, these travels & human experiences did open my eyes to the many blessings that I had previously taken for granted, and it also provided me with a much better appreciation for the countless advantages that we, as American citizens, have. Lastly, these experiences provided me with a new awareness for the fragility of life in general.

I only wish more Americans could visit 3rd world countries to see how the majority of the world lives. I honestly believe that most Americans have no concept of what life is like outside of our borders, and aside from what little they see on TV (when not watching Survivor or Idol) they are completely oblivious of the hardships people endure just to survive.

So, why am I bringing up this issue? Answer: We are a great nation of wealth built through the hard work and sacrifice of our forefathers, yet I believe our greatness is slowly slipping away--from both an economic and a cultural standpoint. In our get rich quick, baggy pants wearing, MTV lovin, fast-food eating, living for today, throw-away cultural mind-set, I think we’ve lost sight of what is or should be important, we don’t respect one another, we don’t appreciate what we have and are far too preoccupied with our own self interests. We have turned into an “all about me” society where everyone wants something for nothing and if we can’t get it now, we whine until someone listens.

American society has made it an accepted norm to be caught up in trivial things (fashion, keeping up with the Jones', reality TV, the latest unsolved murder mystery, sports, shopping, Hollywood, petty lawsuits, material things, etc), and the truly important things in life (family, values, education, hard work, social courtesies, respect, religion, caring for others, etc) have fallen by the wayside. Each and every day our brains are filled with mush and we become far too ignorant to realize that the things that once made us a great nation are slipping away.

I love this country, but feel that if things don’t change soon, we’ll eventually follow the path of the Romans and ultimately will see to our own demise... A 3rd world America.


Anonymous said...

One of the best posts I've ever read. Thanks.
As for Rome... we are almost there.

Anonymous said...

It's my 1st time posting here but I do check your blog daily. I see a wise awareness in your words. You hit the nail right on the head with this post.

I have a theory of De Evolution that we are going through in this country. People will not change for the better until they experience really hard times i.e., bird flu economic collapse etc.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are importing the 3rd world. Yes our once great culture and ideals are being abandoned. The bodies and minds that make up the United States are changing.
We will all go down in the degeneration together rich in diversity and poor in every other way.
It's sad that the song you and I once sung - about what nothing can stop - will no longer be sung some day due to domestic politics.

Rob Dawg said...

Not like Rome, like the Balkans and Ottoman Empire.

Out at the peak said...

It's all pretty scary. There are too many guns and ammo in people's hands to make this country a typical 3rd world.

Randy said...

Very nice to hear this feedback. My thanks to everyone for posting up.

Anonymous said...

Hi. This is my first time to comment although I've been reading your blog for a month now. I agree that most Americans do not have an idea of how harsh life is outside the U.S. because they have never experienced how to live in a third world country.
We're Filipino- Americans and thank God for this wonderful nation. However, we are constantly afraid that our economic prosperity and political freedom will crumble/disintegrate in a few years because of reckless government spending, personal/individual lack of frugal discipline and a "don't care whatever happens" attitude. We have no experience of super hyperinflation here and are financially unprepared for the collapse of the dollar or if not, huge devaluation. I just hope that a lot of us will read blogs like yours so that we can be prepared. God bless you and your family.

Osman said...

My first thought was "not like the Romans..." but there's Robert Coté snagging my comment!

Guess I'll have to settle for taking on the xenophobia of anonymous#3.

Nearly every study worth its salt on immigration shows that immigrants are what has made this country great. This makes sense, afterall leaving home with nothing (sometimes not even knowing the language) is a selective pressure for competitive, risk-taking, and hard working people.

Anonymous said...

A xenophobe is someone who is fearful or contemptuous of foreign peoples.
I am not afraid any more than you would be a afraid of violent criminal in your home.
First I’m not unexposed to foreign people, I have served in many countries and killed all types. And do you know where most of the places I have had to go to solve problems are? Well they all are adapted to living near the equator.
I love Northern Europeans and Northern Asians - intelligent industrious people for the most part.
I dislike the equatorial people - mostly stupid, lazy criminals.
I invite anyone who will contribute in a positive way and only if they come legally. But those that degenerate our standard of living or come here illegally I am against.
I will even cede to you that I am wrong for only liking a certain type of people - since yours is the common attitude that despite all indications we will accept bad people as good.
But, are you saying the invasion that is pouring across our border with Mexico is a good thing - if so then you are truly sick ,twisted, unpatriotic and liberated from reason.
So in short: yes immigrants make a place what it is.

Anonymous said...

Just today I cashed my JPMorgan funds. Not because because I dislike your national or international politics and policies but directly because I fear the dollar valuation in euros.

I've also decided long ago to not to travel to the US as long as the PATRIOT and similar acts are in effect. Too bad, I have relatives in US.

There are times when I'm more than happy to live in northern Europe. Now is the time ...

Take care, fellow americans. I fear there's going to be a rough ride in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Good post Contrarian2day.

I might also add:

Try life for a couple days with no running water in your home. If that's too much for you to contemplate, try life for a few days with no HOT water- just turn off the switch.

Then think about how lucky you are to have clean, hot tap water inside your very own home.

This is big folks. Most people in the world do not even have that much.

Anonymous said...

To the (killer) poster who equated being close to the equator & problematic,lazy people.

OK then, explain Singapore.
I can't image you've ever been there. Singapore blows holes in your theory.

Anonymous said...

Thanks I agree completely. I cannot understand how Americans sleep while the goverment turns not socialist but communist. We have become so seperated from our roots and begginnings that we don't even see it coming. I have tried too wake people up but the sipirt is gone. Yes there are a few but it is to late. President O said change and I was ridiculed at work and with friends when I spoke what turned out to be the truth. What has happened? I know: but it is to late.

Randy said...

Spot on Anon,

unfortunately you're right - it's too late

Anonymous said...

At 3/17/2006 6:32 PM, Out at the peak said...
It's all pretty scary. There are too many guns and ammo in people's hands to make this country a typical 3rd world.

I have to disagree. Guns and ammo could make the coming situation much, much worse. I was in Angola in 1977 and can tell you that although everyone had loads of military supplies, it was devastating on all sides.


Its begining to look a lot like the third world.


You can say that again.