Ever since the end of World War II, the United States has been more-or-less in a constant state of armed conflict somewhere in the world. (Thank you, President Biden for working to stop this foolishness). But unless you have a loved one in the military, most Americans have been pretty complacent about these wars because they garner no inconvenience upon them. Sure, a large portion of their taxes go to the military budget, but many Americans would rather rail against their taxes feeding the hungry or educating their offspring. The point here is that endless wars are not an inconvenience for most Americans.
Similarly, for the past century, Americans (granted: along with China) have been at the forefront of destroying the Earth through the burning of fossil fuels. But unless their homes have been destroyed by forest fires or floods, this has been a minor inconvenience for them.
This has not always been the case. During World War II, my parents’ generation sacrificed a lot. Many enlisted in the military to fight fascism. The inconvenience of rationing was a price most were willing to pay toward that end.
But the thing that most exemplifies the change from “community” to “selfishness” has been Americans’ reaction to the pandemic. Fueled by right-wing (i.e. fascist) propaganda from outlets like Fox “News”, even among those Americans affected by the virus, many remain anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers.
My hope for 2022 is an epiphany among that one-third of Americans such that they realize that their actions are deleterious to society as a whole. It’s a false statement to posit that America was built on rugged individualism. Our continued good fortune depends on working together, respecting ALL of our fellow Americans, and - yes - occasionally sacrificing for the greater good in order to provide safe and prosperous lives for our children and grandchildren.