I was out running yesterday and contemplating the state of affairs and I came to a stark realization: I am embarrassed to be an American. This is completely different than when I was in college, hosteling around Europe and occasionally pretending to be Swedish or Canadian to avoid the disapproving stares of the German, Swiss, or French hosts. That was fun and gave us a little separation from the loud, boorish American tourists. This, in contrast, is a deep and painful realization. As a country and a society, we have failed and failed badly. We’ve become the unruly children in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory; loud, demanding, rude, greedy, uncivilized, and selfish beyond measure. We elected a petulant, immoral, pathological lying toddler to the White House and have then failed completely to rein in his temper tantrums, foolishness, and now dangerous rants. We’re deep in the middle of a global pandemic and have demonstrated that tech and money are useless when we’ve lost basic human kindness. Our amazing and baffling rejection of fact and simple measures like wearing a mask in favor of “independence” have made us the wonder of the world in the very worst way. We embraced slavery in our early years, fought over it, then quietly and methodically built a society around the tenets of slavery and accepted it as normal. We have failed miserably in caring for our sick, with the most expensive and poorest performing health care system in the developed world. We have the greatest income disparity of any country in the world and, likely as a result, have a shameful number of people living in abject poverty, unable to access basic medical care, food, or shelter. As a society, I’d say we’ve failed miserably.

If there are any younger readers out there, it wasn’t always this way. I vividly remember watching the Apollo 11 moon landing in July, 1969 and the intense national pride that came with that accomplishment. It was a time when virtually anything seemed possible. Now, 50 years later, we’ve made amazing technological progress and seem to have regressed in every other way. I have no idea how or even if we can escape this quagmire. I do know that the first step must be to remove Donald Trump from the White House. As Abraham Lincoln said, in the Gettysburg Address, the United States is a government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people. Under Trump we’ve become a government OF rich old white guys, BY rich old white guys FOR rich old white guys and everyone else be damned. But electing Joe Biden is not really going to fix our problems. As The Who pointed out so many years ago “meet the new boss, it’s the same as the old boss”. While Biden may not be as disgusting a human being as Trump, he will never be a catalyst for major change.


Note: I understand this is a pretty huge departure from what I have posted previously and if it’s not for you, well, so be it. I welcome honest dialog, but if you’re going to respond with “fake news” and conspiracy theories about coronavirus, I’m not going to respond and will mark those comments as spam and delete.

2 replies on “Embarrassed”

Hi Matt — well said.

Ironically, as my wife and I were driving back from my locums gig up north this weekend, I commented that I used to be proud of being from Minnesota (as we were always associated with being nice and having a progressive reputation). But now, I feel as though we’ve slid backwards and are becoming a state of “Me over we” and self-entitlement. It’s sad to see. Hopefully the “new boss” can incrementally push us back in a better direction.

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