Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Spoiled Americans

I never fully understood the term "to be spoiled." To me the phrase had insidious negative connotations, a rotten food, not worthy of consuming, or a bad person on whom everything is lavished and wasted because they are so self-absorbed and egotistical.

Romanians thought spoiled ("rasfatat" is not really a direct translation) meant unconditional love and devotion to their children and protection from harm at any cost. It never had any connection to material possessions provided to a child. I remember the phrase used to designate an only child treasured by parents for his/her mere existence.

American "spoiled rotten," an idiomatic expression, eluded me as it did not exist in the Romanian language at the time. Perhaps it does now, 32 years after my departure. Language evolves and acquires neologisms and idiomatic expressions every 25 years and Romanian is no exception, it acquired a lot of English words that replaced perfectly good Romanian phrases. "Rasfatat stricat" would be a direct translation, however "stricat" can mean "not working" or, in vulgar vernacular, someone who is of ill-repute.

Do Americans really understand how fortunate they are to live in the best country in the world? Given the level of malcontent among young people, it seems that they are not aware of the standard of living in most countries or the level of misery they experience day by day just to survive.

As some of us recognize, U.S. is still the best country in the world to be poor and spoiled in. My family in Romania had no idea how unfortunate they were because the governing elites made sure they had no connection to the rest of the world. They were cut off from any outside influence except "Voice of America" and "Europa Libera" via short wave radio. My dad would sit huddled every night in front of his huge radio, the size of a dresser, trying to adjust the dial so that we could hear the words clearly, without any static interference. The commies went way out of their way to scramble the waves as much as possible but we were still able to receive some transmissions. We knew there was a better life and a better way in America, "the shining city on the hill." We wished to have a glimpse of this paradise someday and spoke in whispered tones about the wondrous life in such freedom. Dad used to say that he would kiss the ground if he could be there for one day before he died - he wanted to feel free.

Americans have slowly become a nation of entitlement seekers. Everything they do, from the time they are born until they die, is a right, an entitlement. They say with a straight, angry face and a loud voice, they are entitled to cradle to grave nanny state. They don't care who is going to pay for it, or where the money is coming from, they want it, and they want it now.

My own former students had grown more and more demanding over the years - they did not just want good grades for lack of effort and learning; showing up and paying their tuition in full were good reasons to get an A. As I was not accommodating such expectations, there were charges of bigotry and racism from time to time. Nothing came of them, as they were not true, but it was a waste of my time, the dean's time, or the president's time, depending on how far the student would go with his/her outrageous claims. Society would vilify and lawsuits would punish teachers who dared not comply with disingenuous demands.

I loved teaching and most of my students were good. It was a rewarding profession and I took pride in watching them become the leaders of today. But there were always bad apples in baskets of beautiful, fragrant ones.

I parked my car many times in full light to keep it from being vandalized; I was threatened by students, mothers with guns, or irate fathers over deserved grades; I had to deal with mentally disturbed students who had no business being in college much less among people, they belonged in a mental institution. I had students who had previously been in gangs, had tattoo markings, yet they had redeemed themselves; I loved touching their lives in a positive way. Who knew that I could have run for political office instead of being a teacher, it would have been much easier and it would have required less schooling!

It was human nature to be constantly dissatisfied with the current condition, but Americans took it to new heights and exaggerated the reality they experienced. This was true of liberals who vilified society and everything it stood for, negating all the accomplishments that America contributed to this planet. They were intent on re-creating America in their twisted image and drug-induced logic, apologizing for everything wrong America may have done, by destroying it bit by bit and installing an Utopian society that never existed or survived very long - an Utopian society they've read about in history books.

These were children who were encouraged to dream, were raised on the coddling of self-esteem as being paramount even though they may have failed miserably, children who were never told no to anything, and whose lives were shaped by money and protection from harm and disappointment at all costs. These were children who were given awards just for participating in an event or for not tripping across a stage.

Furthermore, the very young "progressives" who benefited from the "evil" capitalist system, were willing to destroy it in the name of social justice. This social justice, of course, was not meant in any way to include them. I didn't see any people in Hollywood giving away their entire wealth in the name of social justice. They just wanted to give away other people's money. What will happen when other people's money runs out? Whose money will be then confiscated? Did they not realize what "useful idiots" they were? What made actors in Hollywood such experts on socialism/Marxism or environmental science when they were mouthpieces who memorized lines for a living in front of a camera? Most of them were high school drop outs, never attended college, or dropped out after one semester.

Most of the participants in violent protests around the country were spoiled young liberals with a trust fund who never worked an honest day in their lives; they had all the time in the world to organize mayhem and disrupt society who had to work for a living. They were the perfect marionettes to be manipulated by a few very powerful men who wanted to control the world.

Would it not be divine providence and intervention if they were sent to live in the very countries they so admire and aspire to install in America? I am sure, they would change their tunes upon return and kiss the ground of this free country. It was this very freedom won with such loss of blood by many selfless, nameless, faceless Americans that gave them the license to spit upon the symbols they so despise. They truly are spoiled Americans who don't realize the depth of their ingratitude.

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