1. We’re addicted to violence. Canadians, apparently, have more guns per capita than those of us in the USA and yet they have only the tiniest fraction of our gun violence. Is ours still the legacy of the Wild West?
2. We go to war too readily. (I know it’s related to #1, but..) If what I recall is correct, our military budget is larger than the next 14 nations’ armed forces combined. Isn’t that, to use a loaded term, a bit of overkill?
3. We consume way too much. Too much oil, too much food, too many geegaws and trinkets… We can never seem to sate ourselves.
4. We still let racism run rampant. Despite laws against segregation, too many of us – myself very much included – live in leafy cities and suburbs and leave the mean streets to ethnic minorities.
5. We’ve allowed shopping malls and “big box” stores to homogenize us too much. Nowadays there isn’t that much difference between the outskirts of Portland, Maine and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Best Buy and Walgreens rule supreme.
6. We accept bland and worthless entertainment. The old song about “50 channels and nothing’s on” needs updating to 500+ channels and there is still very little of real value to watch. It’s the old “bread and circuses” routine.
7. We’re obsessed with celebrities. I have never understood why festivals of self-congratulation (e.g. the Oscars or Grammys) are somehow seen as worthy of notice by the general public.
8. We’re blind to a lot of reality. We allow ourselves to be convinced that “We’re #1!” despite all the objective evidence that shows other nations have better infant mortality rates, higher literacy, more affordable health care, etc.
9. We’re miserly with our help. Talking about being blind to reality, many Americans believe foreign aid takes up a large percentage of our budget. In truth, it has never reached even 0.7% of our GDP. Shame on us.
10. We accept Cheez-Whiz, Twinkies and other such horrors as food and actually allow our children to consume them. Thousands of years from now, archeologists will puzzle over our bizarre behavior.
Okay. What did I miss?