I grew up in Texas, then I lived abroad for a decade. Now that I have returned to the United States, I see many changes that concern me because of the negative impact to our health, to the pursuit of truth and knowledge, and to our world. I hope we can work together to turn these alarming trends around.
1) We eat food that makes us fat and sick.
The USDA promotes processed food, meat, dairy, and corn because those are the biggest profit points for American corporations (see documentaries such as Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., King Corn, The World According to Monsanto, Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, and Food Matters). Food companies spend billions on marketing (and we believe the hype, otherwise they wouldn’t be spending the billions on marketing!) and for lobbying for favorable laws. Most of us do not read ingredients, and even if we did, how would we know which ingredients are unhealthy? (See 10 American Foods that are Banned Outside America.) Corporations sponsor most of our research, making information and policies are biased. Unfortunately most doctors also don’t receive a proper education about nutrition either, so they tend to focus on treatments rather than prevention of illness.
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: Let’s stop BUYING this food! Eat for nutrition by stick to REAL, whole food (organic and non-GMO if possible). Not only will your future healthy self thank you for the good health (see Top 5 Tips I Would Give My Younger Self), but you’ll be contributing to a much needed change in the American food industry. Let’s put those “food product” companies out of business, or at least force them to change. Fortunately, we are already seeing some change: for example, McDonald’s is Closing of Stores this Year and Some Food Companies are Quietly Dumping GMO Ingredients. Supporting labeling would likely help too.
2) We over-medicate.
Pharmaceutical companies encourage us to continue eating the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) because our illnesses bring big profit. We spend billions each year on drugs for depression, ADHD, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. Compared to other countries, there is a ridiculous number of commercials selling prescription drugs, which consist mostly of listing the side effects. (Should anti-depression pills really cause suicidal thoughts?) Illness is certainly one of the biggest profit makers, and profits are soaring from the incredibly over-priced therapies and medication. For example, Meet the Guy Behind the $750 AIDS Pill. Also, antibiotics and hormones used on animals in our food supply chain often end up polluting our water supply.
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE:
Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates.
First, let’s focus on eating well and taking good care of ourselves. We can also contact our congress representatives to push for change (See How to Find Your Representative). The required change is clear when we look at other countries. For example, check out this 2013 drug cost comparison across countries. Also, legalizing medical marijuana federally would provide access to one of the most effective medicines in the world.
3) We work too hard.
Since when Is Leaving on Time An Act of Courage? We work too many hours, and we do not have enough vacation time. Other countries understand what work-life balance really means, bu we do not. The results of overworking include stress, exhaustion, illness, and premature death. With time as one of our most precious assets, we are expected to give up the vast majority of it to make money. We are so busy commuting and working that we have to spend most of our “free” time doing chores.
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: Life is short, and time is precious. Let’s place a priority on our personal time, and enjoy life to the fullest. Let’s regularly take time away from our routine to be with family and friends, to travel somewhere new and meet new people, and to reflect on life.
4) We believe the propaganda.
Power and money enable the elite to control and filter information we receive. Mainstream media ensures that we are complacent in our lives, that we believe the government and police are generally good, and that we focus on insignificant details, like sports and celebrities. We are also kept in a state of FEAR… of terrorists, ISIS, Russia, Ebola, mass shooters, or whatever else might support their causes. Also, history taught in schools is typically written or edited by people supporting political or social agendas. How are we supposed to know actual truth and history?
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: Let’s stop consuming mainstream media (e.g., CNN, FOX, NBC, Yahoo!, USA Today), and switch to independent news sources. Try RT.com, Aljazeera, the Anti-Media, and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight. Independent documentaries are also a great source of knowledge; check out My Most Impactful Documentaries.
5) The police are militaristic.
The police are armed with military-grade armor and weapons, which encourages their ever-increasing brutality. We have growing numbers of police shootings, and a growing amount of police corruption (for example, why can police seize cash assets with arrest or warrant?) Also, our current laws and practices have made it so that the U.S. holds 25% of the world’s prison population!
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: First of all, let’s respect each other, and let’s stand up for our civil rights. Let’s also keep encouraging the government’s recent actions in turning this trend around: Obama restricts police military gear, says it can alienate. We must avoid becoming a complete police state.
6) Our government spies on us.
Big Brother is watching, via the NSA. Homeland security was implemented to bypass civil right laws. The TSA has proven to be worthless and demeaning. The IRS and police are regularly seizing citizens’ possessions just on suspicion. Whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden are treated like traitors instead of heroes. 1984, anyone?
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: If you don’t think that government surveillance is an issue, please watch this video Why Privacy Matters. Let’s look at WikiLeaks and Snowden on Twitter to keep ourselves knowledgeable about our government. Let’s also push our government to make changes in laws regarding transparency and freedom of speech (How to Find Your Representative).
7) Money enslaves us.
A few rich people run a company called the “Federal Reserve System” that creates its own money with every loan and mortgage, ensuring the ridiculously rich stay that way. Meanwhile most college graduates start their adult lives in a massive amount of student loan debt because of the increasingly high costs of university and the interest rates. Corporate tax structures and loop holes ensure the rich get richer and the poor become more destitute (check out the documentary Inequality for All). Corporations and bankers ruin millions of people’s lives, and they are rarely reprimanded.
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: Despite many attempts to get rid of the Fed over American history (see documentary Money Masters), it still exists. Making higher education free or less expensive is nice, but we need to push our government for some real corporate reform (How to Find Your Representative). We need to hold our bankers responsible; we can learn from Iceland, as they send their Bankers to Prison.
8) We are ignorant and complacent.
As children, Americans are groomed for being a complacent member of the working society so that we can “succeed” as individuals. We are not encouraged to gain an understanding of ourselves as part of society and the cosmos. As a result, we have a lack of compassion, a need for instant gratification, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of respect. (A good example is presidential candidate and massive bully Donald Trump!) Most of us are not critical thinkers, as we do not challenge the brainwashing the people in control. (George Carlin explains it well in They’ve Got You By The Balls.)
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: Let’s spend time pondering, traveling the world, and understanding other cultures. Let’s also read more and educate ourselves (for example, check out these free, informative CrashCourse videos). Let’s socialize and share, and let’s build our critical thinking skills. Children should be taught HOW to think, not WHAT to think.
9) Politicians are puppets to the elite and big business.
The government is virtually run by corporations and the military (research the military industrial complex). American voters generally get to choose between a well-connected, wealthy Republican or a well-connected, wealthy Democrat. They’re the same, but the illusion of choice keeps us content. In the current presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders is somewhat of exception to being a puppet of the elite. However, it’s still unacceptable that good candidates outside of the two party system are not really given a chance.
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: Bernie Sanders has the right idea of refusing to accept corporate funds for his campaign. We definitely need spending caps, and we need to put an end to the bribery. Again, we need to raise our awareness and stand up for our rights (How to Find Your Representative).
10) We mindlessly destroy the environment.
The increasing demand for consumer goods is destroying the environment. Americans (who can afford to) tend to buy new products regularly, without giving any care as to how and by whom they were made (see documentary Death by China). We then throw things away without second thought as to where the products end up, such as landfills and the Great Pacific Garbage Triangle. We continue to destroy our forests and animal species, with no end in sight.
HOW WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE: We need to make corporations more accountable. We can also choose to only buy necessities, and re-use and re-cycle. We can choose to conserve energy, and we can curb our consumption of meat (see Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret). We can also contact our congress representatives and major corporations to push for renewable energy sources.
We have the ability to turn these trends around and create a society that is powered with compassion and knowledge. We were all born as loving Earthlings! See my additional Tips for Learning and Sharing.
Do you have additional ideas about American society and social change? Please comment below. Let’s discuss!
Additional Recommended Links:
Note: The numbers in parentheses represent the corresponding trend above. For example, “(1,4)” means the content applies to #1 and #4 above.
- Forks Over Knives (documentary, available on Netflix) (1,4)
- Just Say No When It Makes Sense Not to Take Your Medicine (2,4)
- You’re Wasting Money on Vitamins (2,4)
- Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight (2,7)
- Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed: The Real Reason for the 40-Hour Workweek (3,4)
- Live Like You’re Free (3,8)
- 10 Examples of the Social Decay that is Eating Away at America Like Cancer (3,4,5,6,7,8,9)
- Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism (a must-watch documentary, especially if you still watch Fox News!) (4,8)
- Media Deception: You are Not Getting the Truth (4,8)
- 10 Lies You Were Probably Taught in School (4,8)
- When Will the American People Finally Get Fed Up with the Media-Hyped Right-Wing Fearmongering (4,8)The World According to Dick Cheney (documentary) (4,9)
- Noam Chomsky: U.S. is the Leading Terrorist State (4,5,6,7,8,9)
- Obama, in Prison Documentary: ‘U.S. Legal System Has Been Unjust’ (5)
- Prisons: Modernized Slave Labor (5)
- American Prisons Will Be Filled with Grandmas and Grandpas (5)
- Snowden Treaty (6,4)
- Law Lets IRA Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required (6,7)
- US Secretly Monitoring Mail of Thousands (6,7)
- The Truth about Consumption and Savings (7)
- 5 Facts About How America is Rigged for a Massive Wealth Transfer to the Rich (7,8)
- Zombie System: How Capitalism has Gone off the Rails (7,9)
- How Baby Boomers Screwed Their Kids and Created Millennial Impatience (8)
- Understanding and Dismantling the Global Control System (8,9)
- World’s Poorest President Explains Why We Should Kick Rich People Out of Politics (9)
- Here’s Why Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils is Wrong (9)
- The Story of Stuff (10)
- Noam Chomsky: Wrecking Nature for Short-Term Profit (10,4)