Today marks the four-year anniversary of The Cutter Rambles! (Brief pause for the applause to die down. Thank you. Thank you.)
To mark the occasion, I am going to give you all a very special treat. At long last, I am going to provide you with my guide to fixing America.
I’ve been planning to write this series of blogs for quite some time now, but the time never felt quite right to unleash it.
As Jim Morrison once sang: The time to hesitate is through. There will be no further delays. The country – or at least the portion of it that reads this blog – will be shown the path to enlightenment whether it is ready or not.
I’m warning you that there’s a very good chance that you will disagree with some of the things I have to say. But as you’ll soon come to learn, I’m perfectly okay with that.
And so, here we go…
Based on what I’ve seen on the news, America is an angry nation. People are angry about health care. People are angry about the economy. People are angry about just about everything there is to get angry about.
And what happens when people get angry? They look for someone to blame.
More often than not, that blame falls upon our political leaders. Our political leaders usually respond in turn by blaming other politicians. I sometimes get the impression that most politicians believe that if they’re not blaming others, then inevitably someone will start blaming them. And when politicians receive blame, they often get voted out of office. That is something that most politicians will go to great lengths to avoid.
Since our political leaders seem more interested in their own self interests rather than actually fixing things, I think it’s time we stop depending on them to make everything better.
After all, wasn’t everything supposed to get better once we got Bush out of office? Three years later, and I don’t see much improvement. All we hear is Republicans claiming that Obama has made a mess of the country, and Democrats responding that they’re just trying to clean up the mess that Bush left.
Now that we’ve reached a presidential election year, it feels like the chirping has just gotten louder. But will it really matter who wins the election? Or will we just continue on the same way we’ve been going, with little getting accomplished, and the anger levels continuing to grow?
If we can’t turn to our political leaders, is there any hope for our country? Or are we destined to just continue on as a nation of angry people?
Don’t worry, there is indeed hope. I have the solution to our problems. Instead of looking to others to improve America, I am advocating that we all do our part to make things better.
Now I am not suggesting we all take revolutionary steps that will have an earth-shattering effect. If anyone wants to cure AIDS or figure out a way to end world hunger, that would be swell and all, but that’s not really what I’m getting at.
Instead, I am going to suggest ways in which each of us can help make our country a nicer place to live. For if we all do our part to help, then America can once again fulfill its great potential.
And that leads me to step one of…The Cutter’s Guide to Fixing America!
Step 1: It’s not all about you
This is the most important message that I want to get across. Just about every subsequent step will refer back to this one, so please pay attention.
You are not special.
I know this might be a little disturbing for some of you. After years of listening to our parents, teachers, and children’s television, we have been conditioned to think that we are simply the most special thing that has ever walked the planet.
And to be fair, I’m sure you all have distinct skills or traits that make you a unique person. So in that way, yes, you are indeed special.
But in another, more important way, you are not special. You are not better than everyone else. You are not more important than anyone else. You are just another person in a big, big world.
Because of this, we can’t be solely concerned with ourselves, and our personal wants and needs. I think Dave Chappelle might have summed it up best:
If I had my way, I’d never work. I’d just stay home all day, watch Scarface 50 times, eat a turkey sandwich and have sex all ****in’ day. Then I’d dress up like a clown and surprise kids at schools. Then I’d take a dump in the back of a movie theater and just wait till somebody sat in it– hear it squish. That’s funny to me. Then I’d paint or read and play violin. I’d climb the mountains and sing the songs that I like to sing.
I understand that we’re all at least a little self-centered. I know that whenever I hear about a new law or policy change, I probably have the same reaction as the rest of you: How is this going to affect me?
For instance, when Metro announced their new Rush Plus program, I wondered if it was going to cost me more to use the Metro. When Mrs. Cutter’s company changed their dental insurance, I was worried that I might have to switch dentists. (And as you may know, I do not want to do that!)
It’s only natural to be concerned primarily with ourselves. And if something affects us negatively, it is also natural to be somewhat unhappy about it.
But sometimes, we also need to take a step back and look at the larger picture. Just because something isn’t good for us personally, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t good for society as a whole.
For example, I don’t particularly enjoy paying taxes. I would much rather keep that money for myself so that I could spend it on bubble gum and home furnishings. But I also understand that our governments require money to operate, and that money needs to come from somewhere.
I may not like it that much, but I’m still going to pay my taxes. Because everyone has to, and I am not special.
Once we’ve accepted that everything doesn’t necessarily have to be about us, we can move on to…
Step 2: Keep an Open Mind
America is a diverse place. I’m not just talking about the many races and religions that we have here, although that certainly plays a part in it. The true diversity comes from the various beliefs and mindsets that we all have.
You can take a white, Christian man living in the middle of New York City and compare him to a white, Christian man living in rural Idaho. They share the same race, religion, and nationality, and yet there’s a good chance that they will have very different opinions about key issues facing the country.
Religion in school? Abortion? Health care? I have a feeling that those two men might not see eye to eye on those matters.
But it isn’t just the major issues that we differ on as a people.
For example, let’s take a look at the Dave Matthews Band. I hate the Dave Matthews Band. I think they’re a group of talentless hacks who essentially have three song templates from which all their songs are derived. I am quite convinced that Dave Matthews Band is the crappiest, most overrated band in existence.
And yet, the Dave Matthews Band is immensely popular. They sell millions of albums, and people follow them around on tour, carefully analyzing their set lists.
Since so many people love this awful band, does this mean I’m wrong? No, it just means that I have different tastes than a lot of other people.
If we as a people can’t even come to an agreement as to whether a band sucks or not, (even though all evidence points to them sucking royally) how can we expect to agree on important issues facing our nation?
We can not.
What we can do is always keep in mind that not everyone is going to feel the same way we do. Until that glorious day when the government starts to control our thoughts, then the people of America are going to have varying opinions on issues. That is the price we pay for living in a free and diverse country.
But the differences in opinion don’t necessarily have to lead to strife or chaos. We can all get along peacefully as long as we remember that just because someone’s opinions are different, it doesn’t mean that they are any less valid or correct. Because as I pointed out in step one, it isn’t all about you.
Whatever opinion you have on a subject, you can be pretty sure that someone – possibly even someone you know – will have the exact opposite stance. You may be 100% convinced that you are correct about something and that your way is absolutely the best way. But it’s almost guaranteed that someone else will be just as convinced that you are wrong.
Neither person’s opinion is necessarily wrong (unless of course you’re a Dave Matthews Band fan). And you certainly do not have to agree.
That is why you should make the effort to understand why others feel the way they do. You might be surprised by what you find. You might start seeing things from a whole new angle that you hadn’t ever considered before. If you simply dismiss other opinions as being “wrong” then there is little hope for anything to get accomplished.
So remember, no matter how sure you are about something, you should still remember that not everyone feels the same way. But as long as you respect everyone’s opinions, then maybe some common ground can be found.
That’s probably enough for one day. But don’t worry. I’ll be back with some more steps soon. Until then, let’s all keep doing our part to make America great!