How many of us feel like we’ve been transported to Bizarro World when we weren’t looking? It really feels like our society is collapsing all around us. Basic etiquette is dead; common decency is so rare that when it does happen it feels foreign and out of place; patience has faded into the past; personal pride is vanishing before our eyes. What the hell is happening to us? There’s no simple answer, and any solutions will be met with resistance and controversy by the ones who wish to maintain the status quo, but one of the biggest issues we now face is the rampant apathy that has seeped into every crack and crevice of our culture.
When Christina Aguilera flubbed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, at first, I wrote it off to nerves. I mean, with hundreds of millions of viewers in nearly two hundred countries, anyone could be overwhelmed by the pressure. However, it turns out that one of the biggest factors is that she blew off rehearsal beforehand. One of the basic tenets that will hold true for as long as people attempt anything is this: “You are going to play how you practice, so practice how you want to play.” I don’t know how many thousands of dollars she was paid for that performance, but whatever the amount, she should have had the gumption to at least rehearse it fully on the stage before doing it live. But I believe apathy took over. Who cares if I get it right. It’s just the National Anthem.
How many times have you walked into a business and been greeted by someone who seems as if they would rather be anywhere but at their job? There’s a Subway on Douglas Dam Road that I won’t be a patron to anymore because the workers there are the most apathetic, lazy people I’ve seen in a business. But they aren’t alone. Nearly every cashier in every fuel station I’ve been in for the last ten years has had a glazed, dull expression on their face. Now, I get that those jobs aren’t the greatest in the world, but could it possibly be that the reason the person is stuck in that job is their attitude?
I’m a classic Gen-Xer, so I’m not claiming that I haven’t had my moments of apathy, but I like to think that in every job I’ve ever held, regardless of how menial, I’ve taken pride in the work I’ve done. I can’t comprehend this new level of detachment that is ruining us. Not too long ago, we were the greatest nation on this planet, and we carried ourselves with pride in our lives and jobs. Now, we just seem like a bunch of slouchers going through the motions. That’s not my country. That’s not the society I want to live in, but how do we change this? From my experiences teaching, I’m certain education alone can’t fix it. So how do we restore our national pride and get people back to caring about the quality of their lives?