We are the champions?

I hope that this does not come across as a rant. I keep seeing our country on a number of areas settle for less, accept mediocrity and celebrate being average. It just seems that when I was coming up it was a different time.

I played little league baseball and I was a pretty good athlete when I was younger. I remember very vividly winning the world series. It was the same year I won the MVP of the all-star game going 5 for 5 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBIs. I received a trophy and was celebrated (alone) as the best player that day. Our world series win was the same. None of the other 13 teams in the league were celebrated. And you know, it was good. The teams that lost had a chance to try harder next year and we wanted to get better and do it again. We lost in the world series the next year and you know what? We got nothing for coming in second. The only thing we got to do was shake the winning teams’ hands to congratulate them and then scurry off the field because this was their moment not ours.

When did we get so soft? I mean that loss bothered me because it was my last year playing little league and I wanted to go out with a bang. I was angry with my teammates, coaches and even myself — and I wouldn’t change those feelings for anything. I needed to know what losing felt like. I needed to be uncomfortable with it. I needed to go home empty handed. When teams won back then they used to sing the song We Are The Champions by Queen. I hated to hear other teams sing that song.

Competition is much needed in our lives. No one needs to be spared of the agony of defeat. It truly builds character. Not only did we want to win, but we wanted to win fair and square — no cheats. And the feeling of winning feels so good that you will crave it again and again. Take it away and what do we have left?

In the late 70s someone decided that everyone needed to get a trophy for just participating. If you showed up with a good attitude and tried, you got a trophy. Then another person thought that girls and boys at a certain age could play co-ed. Little girls began to infiltrate little leagues everywhere and the level of play suffered.

The next thing I know, we started having graduation ceremonies for Kindergartners and they stopped people from celebrating touch downs, homeruns and slam dunks. We could not dance, high five, shout or anything. The reason: You don’t want anyone to feel bad.

This logic crossed over from sports to the working class. Unions began to standardize raises so nevermind that you out work everyone at your job, you are going to get the same wage as everyone else. It is not based on work performance anymore. It’s based on whether or not you came to work and worked. Time on the job is what pay is based on so in the course of a year, your raises are already factored in and all you have to do is show up. Sadly, you may only get over the course of the year a $1.00 raise incrementally broken up in two or three parts. On my own, I may have out worked everyone and gotten a $5 increase. But don’t penalize everyone, just me for working so hard.

Thirty plus years of that brings us to today where minimum wage needs to be increased. But in my day no one wanted minimum wage so you went to school, learned a trade or joined the military so you could avoid minimum wage. When I was in high school, fast food jobs were for kids. As were most retail sales reps and movie theater gigs, these jobs were earmarked for teens and now adults do them as first, second or third jobs. When did our country decide to take shortcuts to success? There are none. Contrary to popular belief, hard work, character and integrity were virtues that were taught on every level and the individuals who were learning wanted to succeed. I don’t believe this to be the case anymore. People today do more direct marketing and attempt to profit off their friend’s money.

Today we lie, steal and cheat. We reach success by any means necessary, but that ain’t success! We live in a time where the dark clouds which hover over our government (which should be made up of the best people our country has to offer) is now full of indictments, selfish greedy individuals and they are spearheaded by a fool.

We settle and celebrate mediocrity which makes us weak.

This dumbed-down version of America will be remembered when it is too late. What I mean is that all of the historical signs are there. Our mediocre country is divided and the two sides will clash for the same reason they did during the Civil War. Slavery? Nope, I know that’s what they finally admitted to us but that’s not it. That war and the coming war will be due to IGNORANCE.

Right now, we are too ignorant to make new gun laws and follow the way of more civilized nations like Japan and Germany — the most horrific thing you can have in those countries are mass stabbings. We are too ignorant and greedy to use our resources for the masses. Power in America rests in the 1 percent. Corporations manipulate our government so bad that even the most honest of politicians have a very difficult time representing their constituency.

We are too ignorant to solve basic needs like clean water, energy and air in our country. We are too ignorant to know when we are being lied to and we are too ignorant to know what to do about it. We are too ignorant to know that nothing positive can come from hate. We are too ignorant in our own conceit to believe that one race is better than another. We are ignorant and because of this single fact, we will crumble. It’s very discouraging to watch it happen, but it is coming. We certainly don’t look like anyones champion.