Witte: Choice this year is between kindness and scavenging

Jacob Witte

It seems to me there is a great schism in this country, one that represents a fundamental difference in how we think and act. This great divide is the incredible difference between how we were brought up and how we act as adults. They are becoming polar opposites of one another, and if something is not done to fix this, the moral decline in America will continue to worsen.

Think about it. What were you and I taught when we were children by our parents or guardians? We were all taught to share with each other, that patience is a virtue and that we should be kind and love one another. Whether you were brought up religiously or not, these lessons are not necessarily religious — they are just basic niceties that reinforce our humanity toward one another.

You always knew a kid who was a bully by the nature of how they acted around others — these crucial life lessons were likely never ingrained into the child, or if they were, they were never absorbed into the mind in the right way.

But now look at us. We have slipped up along the way. We are constantly being reinforced that it is a “dog eat dog” world out there, and that we must act as individually as possible if we want to succeed in life.

And as far as patience goes, we have forgotten the word entirely. Corporate America long ago ditched long-term economic planning for a quick and easy profit, and we share this same thought process. Books are too long, so we either read Cliffs Notes about them or just see the movie adaptation. Researching in books or libraries is too tedious. Wikipedia to the rescue.

This behavior is heavily reinforced through popular culture and television. Turn on any reality television show and you will see it. With the popular show “Survivor,” complete strangers will form close friendships and bonds with one another, but if something happens to jeopardize their chance of winning the prize, they will quickly abandon these friends and betray them, voting them off the island in order for their own private gain.

The women who lose on “America’s Next Top Model” have their picture erased away at the end of each episode, as if they are wiped off the planet — no care or worry is given to them after they are gone.

The matter of rugged individualism at the cost of others has even worsened now that we have been in an economic decline for the last several years. Few job openings are available, and the competition has become even fiercer. Thanks to Wall Street, lack of regulation by Washington and hyper-outsourcing of jobs, we have been reduced to mere scavengers.

And do not even get me started on sharing. The very concept of sharing with one another has been turned into pornography by the right in this country to the point that the word sharing now is synonymous with communism or socialism, which is, of course, evil. Who would have thought that selfishness and greed would become virtues?

So what happened along the way? Something made us forget that patience, sharing and brotherhood are supposed to be virtues. We have turned them into vices. Whatever the reason that made us forget these lessons, it has led us to moral ruin.

What is to be done? It seems that we are left with a choice. One choice we have is that we can just teach our future generations to act just like we are right now: as selfish, instant-gratification seeking scavengers. On the other hand, we can, as rationally thinking adults, who have fully functioning brains, realize that we have abandoned these life lessons and choose to uphold these basic virtues for the good of us all. The choice is yours.