When 2017 came roaring in a few months ago, it was accompanied by the enthusiastic chorus of “Make America Great Again”. Another election cycle had come and gone; the winners were jubilant, the losers were crying foul, and the stage was set for yet another year of nominal change and gross partisanship.
I remember tweeting around this time about “fixing” America, and that genuine change would occur if Americans just minded their diets and dealt with their daddy issues. It seems to me, in our present era, that many Americans are slowly forgetting what it is that truly makes America a great nation. It isn’t our government programs, it certainly isn’t our corrupt bureaucrats, and it isn’t an identification with either the Republican or Democrat parties. What makes America great isn’t empty flag-worship, and it isn’t how “badass” our military is, as we regularly demonstrate by flexing our muscle in countries we have no business in.
America’s greatness lies in its individuals and their ability to take care of themselves, and those close to them without relying on figureheads or parties. American greatness lies in the self-sufficiency of the individual, and the state of this self-sufficiency is also reflected on the national scale, and embodied in collective endeavors (such as our political discourse and foreign policy).
Americans have forgotten what true greatness is and this, and this alone, is why we face the myriad of problems that we do whether they be social, economic, or political in nature.
Even self-styled “conservatives” fawn over Trump, and some truly believe that he’s a savior of sorts. Liberals thought very much along the same lines (and many still do to this day) about Barack Obama. Many in Rome thought the same of young, charismatic, populist consul Julius Caesar, and eventually crowned him as their Emperor.
Being represented and being ruled are two very distinct and disparate concepts, and we’d do well to remember this.
The beginning of the regeneration of the American populace, in my opinion, would start with their diets and their daddy issues.
What do I mean by this?
Simply put, prioritizing one’s health, both mental and physical, can make a world of difference in how we interact with the world. That heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are rampant in our non-stop, constantly plugged-in society is a travesty. All of these diseases are completely preventable, and prevention simply boils down to what people put into their bodies. If we were to change our diets it would not only have physiological benefits, but psychological ones as well.
There’s much literature to read about the interplay between food and people’s moods, how diets affect sleeping patterns, how diets can free many from the need of prescription drugs or incredible healthcare costs; all of these things require the individual to take a higher level of responsibility for their body and choices. If Americans chose to recalibrate their bodies with actual nutrition, can you imagine how much burden would be reduced on healthcare providers in this country? Better yet, can you imagine how much happier people would be?
We also have to deal with our daddy issues.
This statement is merely an illusion to the degeneration of healthy relationships in America, which has occurred steadily over several decades. Yes, many have learned new coping mechanisms, and it may seem that kids today have accepted broken families as the new norm.
They don’t have to be.
Study after study tend to confirm the disadvantaged nature of children from broken homes. The devastation is particularly poignant when addressing single-parent households, in which children are astronomically more likely to grow up in poverty, experience prison, experiment with drugs or alcohol…
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but the trends indicate that the fracture of the nuclear family has been detrimental to the wellbeing of children in our society. Call me old fashioned, but it was in an era of strong families that America experienced its renaissance of sorts. It was out of that era that many could call to mind a very specific ideal when they heard the phrase “living the American dream”.
Trust me, I know that each age has its own set of challenges. I know that the idyllic visions of the past gloss over the many issues of those particular eras, so I’m very wary of championing any particular age as the “gold standard” that needs to be realized once again.
I will say, however, that in regard to family and social stability as a whole, America was better off when families were intact. Today many fathers are missing, rather than at home setting an example for their children of how to protect and provide for a family. Mothers are too busy playing that role to spend time and give their children nurture, a trait that women tend to embody far better than men. As a result, children largely raise themselves or fall into the hands of state funded programs which actively craft a generation further dependent on the state.
We need parents in the home.
We need individuals to take care of their physical wellbeing.
If we witnessed improvement in either of these areas we would begin to see Americans realizing their greatness once again; the greatness they can only find in themselves.