In tough economic times I have seen the emergence of a valueless America, an America built on money and purposeless goals that offer no future joy than that which lies at face value. I don’t have to go far from my daily routine to see the effects of low standards and no values in our society. At school, on the road, and at work I see things that constantly move further away from American fundamentals and basic principles.
Americans are moving too fast these days, and admittedly I am a part of this recent phenomenon. I haven’t been able to bend down and “smell the flowers” as often as I’d like, I check my Facebook instead of calling a friend, I order take out instead of cooking a meal, and I watch a movie instead of reading a book. All these things can be justified in the name of evolution or change. But what about tradition, value, independence, and growth?
Because you see, choosing to watch a movie over a book is choosing to be lazy, it is choosing to be rewarded quickly without putting any effort into the task. The idea of finding joy in the doing has faded from American culture and everything is now completed with only the end in mind. Students use sparknotes rather than reading King Lear for a plethora of reasons all of which boil down to laziness. There is no value in taking short cuts, no longer term success, only a cheap way out.
Cheap ways out are a sign to poor performance and low integrity. As a sales associate for a retail store, I take pride in my work for many reasons. My store is the largest volume mover in the country and our daily sales are higher than all other stores, I have reason to be proud. This pride motivates me to work well and not slack off which is clearly represented in my evaluations.
While closing the store for the night, a particular employee always orders me to half-ass the job, he tells me “forget sizing just make it look good.” As an employee with high standards, this is extremely difficult for me to do and I never take his advice, instead I fume over how low his standards are how this could be a typical ethnic standard that is leading America down a path of mediocrity.
But in the end, I am only one employee trying to change things on a world level that I cannot possibly hope to change. It’s not that I lack ambition; I just don’t know where to begin. My dream of America is real, it’s achievable, but with today’s values and liberal ideology, achieving these goals is certainly a daunting task.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.