Thursday, January 22, 2009

Of football and fast food!

We live in a culture that’s a litany of contradictions. We call our national pastime football, yet we play it with our hands. We talk about fast food, but the only thing that’s fast about it is the way it fastidiously sticks to your waistline and hips. We are a “get it now” culture, which does not bode well for the future. I’ve learned the hard way that indulging in excesses today might leave you high and dry tomorrow. We measure our wellbeing and the health of our economy by how much money comes into stores on “Black Friday” (the Friday after thanksgiving, when people supposedly run amuck on Christmas shopping). We are decidedly a nation of excesses, yet we don’t or won’t admit it. Amazingly though, what we consider poverty would be the equivalent of the upper middle class in most nations around the globe, yet we crave more!

I’m learning that we are not a culture that likes to take personal responsibility for our excesses. In other words, we lack the discipline to acknowledge our weaknesses and do whatever it takes to rectify them. For example: I recently had a conversation with a couple of, shall we say, generously proportioned folks, who expressed the desire to lose weight and live healthier lives. I subtly suggested that they might want to consider a lifestyle change. This might mean incorporating a daily exercise routine as well as rethinking their eating habits. They hemmed and hawed and proffered every excuse as to why they just couldn’t find the time to exercise. By the way, did I mention that this discussion was taking place in a restaurant, as they devoured a generous portion of rum-raisin ice-cream with chocolate sprinkles, M&M’s and a large drizzle of caramel topping?

Talking about personal responsibility, our new president has been heralded as somewhat of a messiah, not only to the United States, but to the world. Scary thought I admit, but there does seem to be this completely ‘tinted’ expectation that he will turn the global economy around, bring back our troops and end the global war on terror (in sixteen months tops), provide healthcare (at minimal cost) for everybody and his uncle… and the list goes on! The only problem is that we want him to do all this as quickly as we want our fast food, and we want it with as little or no inconvenience to us as possible. Don’t ask us to make sacrifices because life is hard enough as it is. I mean, can’t he see that we’ve downsized and now live in a three bedroom townhouse instead of that large 5/5 home we previously owned?

So the question is: Can we take personal responsibility for the plight of our nation and pay the price required to curb our excesses, or do we want Mr. President to ‘wave his magic wand’ and make it all better immediately? I suggest that the true test of our moral, and indeed national fiber, will be displayed over the next few years, as we are forced to make drastic alterations to our lifestyles in view of a better tomorrow.


Ash said...

even the president is finding that he doesn't have a magic wand to go "poof." obama wants to shut down gitmo...and his original thought was to do so w/in the first 100 days of presidency, but now he's finding that might be a little harder than it looks. and while he still wants to accomplish this, it might take a little more work than he anticipated to sweeten the deal as there are several challenges to be tackled....

people will need to realize that the "leader of the free world" is not a cure all and previous presidents have all taught us that. i'm think the glam will fade soon. i can only hope too that people will realize THEY must be part of the solutions they seek, we live in a country where we can vote and have a voice and make efforts to change things in our own lives and in our communities. being "co-dependent" on the president or the gov. isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway.

Joseph said...

Ash, great thoughts, thanks for your contribution to the conversation.

Thea said...

We all have a lot to learn and I pray that as a country we can truly look at the root of the issue and not just band-aid it.

When all is said and done, Obama is just a man. He will stand before God the same as the rest of us and our highest concerns ought to be his eternity and the eternity of those around him. He needs our prayers to make tough decisions and have integrity in his service.

Time will tell.


Joseph said...

Well said Thea, I'm right there with you. :)