A few definitions before we start. Pervasive (per dictionary.com) means present everywhere. Self (according to Wikipedia) is the individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness. Pity (according to dictionary.com) is sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another.
I was listening to a radio program on my way home from work. The host mentioned the idea of pervasive self-pity and it got me to thinking. There seems to be a sense of malaise that has gripped this nation. The citizenry is cautious about every little detail of their life. This caution comes from the lessons learned from our neighbors, friends, or family who suffered through consequences of living an out-of-control lifestyle. I am not going to get into the blame game, since there are too many players to properly point the fingers (that and I do not have that many fingers). However, let us talk about the outcome from this “financial disaster” and subsequent fallout.
You know that feeling you get when you get reprimanded for doing something wrong? It causes some unwanted tension in our lives and we find ourselves walking around on eggshells when dealing with others. Another symptom is being overly cautious because we do not want to mess up again. We decrease the amount of risk we take, and in some cases, eliminate risk all together. It is a mechanism of our self to rebuild our self-esteem after a mistake, error, fuck up, etc. Many would call this self-pity. We sit around feeling sorry for themselves, withdraw from many of the activities that we once enjoyed, and in some cases, quit the activity all together to avoid such a negative outcome from occurring again.
Think about the stock market. Millions of people lost trillions of dollars. What took people decades to build was lost in the matter of months if not days. The first reaction to the events was shock. After the initial shock wore off, people became angry and demanded answers. After the reality of the events began to sink in and the realization that there would be little to no recourse, the self-pity began to set in. In the past, Americans and the economy would bounce back. Unfortunately, that has not happened this time. Sure, we could blame the President for this. He is an easy target and just happened to be the person behind the wheel of this big ship. We can blame the corporations for their greed. It is all too easy to blame a name with no face. However, there is a problem with all this finger-pointing. It does not solve the issue.
In my honest opinion, I think that it has made matters worse. Instead of picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off, we instead have decided to live in the past and wallow around in our sorrow. Instead of trying to solve the issues, we have gone from one pity party to another. Instead of removing dead weight from the system, we have injected it with a serum of imaginary money in hopes to prop up a dead system. We have encouraged a pervasive self-pity mentality to blanket this nation. We can feel it in the air. We see it when we drive the main streets of whatever town we happen to be in and look at all the open storefronts. We hear about it on the news daily. It is depressing and there seems nowhere to go. What is the solution to this issue?
I think that it is time to get very real. I do not pretend to have all the answers, but what I offer is a bit of insight into what I think America can and should be. I do not care if you are Democrat or Republican. I do not care if you are Black, White, Purple or have polka-dots. I do not care about who or what or if you have a God. What I care about is that you are an American. That is the only “label” that matters to me. We need to work together to get ourselves out of this mess. It is amazing to me the amount of pride Americans take when we help each other and get things done. We can not rely on the government to get us out of this mess. We need to help our neighbors. That is what I see is missing. That is what I see as the first step into solving this issue. Then, and only then, do I think this sense of pervasive self-pity will go away.