Our (Not So) Secret Addiction

It’s time to take a good look in the mirror.

Because this addiction may be destroying us.  All of us.

More people than we ever expected are afflicted by it.

Nearly the rest are complicit.  Even encouraging further abuse.

We revel in the addiction that will soon bring this entire society down if we are not careful.  I believe we are that close.

There is no 12 step program.  There is no support group.

We either remove the addiction from all of our lives or we let it destroy us.

I first learned of this epidemic when I was a young child.

I then saw it celebrated and often.

I saw how crippling it could be when I was a young adult.  It usually only cripples the decision making skills of the addicted.  The decisions cripple others.

It gets passed down from generation to generation.

Fathers to offspring.  To their offspring.  An endless cycle.

And they have taken extraordinary steps to ensure there is no cure.  In fact, we have given this addiction, this epidemic, this mental virus more power over all of us.

Every President I can remember has this problem.

Most of the rest of the government.  People on the streets.  People even dream of becoming powerless to it.  Owned by it.

And just like every other addiction in the world, the problem exists in the fact that those who suffer from excessive greed don’t know when to stop.  They don’t know when they’ve had enough and refuse to admit even if they do see.  They are useless to recognize when they are harming others and society.  They make excuses.  They cover it up.  They lie.

Or, like many other addictions, they simply don’t care what you think about their problem.

When I was very young, my dad would tell me that somebody couldn’t be rich unless they were smart or successful.  Even at a young age this didn’t seem right.  There’s a lot of talented and smart people out there who were not wealthy.

In fact, didn’t my dad see the hypocrisy of his own statement on the matter?  He wasn’t, by any stretch, stupid.

Every adult dreamed of coming up with that one good idea like the Pet Rock.  Hardly an idea.  More like a con.

But that’s the American Dream, right?  I never really thought of it as being able to purchase a house or be able to live a life debt free and take vacations and raise children to have hope.  Because that’s hardly our generation.  It’s definitely not my children’s generation.

The disease has gone too far.

By the time I was a teenager, there was the constant yelling about Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  This was a thing.  We worshiped their addiction so much that we watched it on television.  And that hasn’t ended.  Every reality show is just pampering to the addicted.  These people can’t get enough until we take it away.

How crazy is it that we encourage them to flaunt their addiction?  Because all they wanted to do after that was impress everybody more.  Look at this.  Look how I own this.  Even though I don’t need it.

It became an epidemic.  People would soon be harming themselves with this disease.  People would run lines of credit and further empower the haves.  But they had to.  They wanted everything they saw on television.

It’s as if they were helpless.  Powerless.  Willing to sacrifice everything just to be seen in others’ eyes as something more than they are.  The addiction grew to proportions never once though could be possible.

Full of ego and greed, people set out to destroy everything.

Just for another fix.

Just for a little more.

One more hit of cash.  Even if it’s only on paper.

Ruin others’ lives if you have to.  What do they matter?

See Enron.

Goldman Sachs.

Prime loans.

War after war.

Citizens United.

How are we any different from a totalitarian state at this point?  A totalitarian state controls the news.  With Citizens United, corporations own the media and are now considered people who can control the government.  Modus ponens says that we are a totalitarian state since corporations control the state and the media.

The media praises war because war allows the wealthy to make more money off the people.  The wealthy pay the salaries of the media.  Not mine.

Our dependency on oil will never go away because of this addiction.  If ever a greater example of addiction to money and greed, go not further than the Koch Brothers and other big oil elite.  They are so deep in it that they give away money to get others addicted.

And once you’re hooked.  Tell me about the integrity of all those politicians.  They are nothing but junkies hoping for another fix.

Take a good look in the mirror, America.

What you’ll see is an orange money junkie who will lie, cheat, and steal in order to get another fix.

You built and encouraged this shameful version of ourselves by not stopping this addiction sooner.  You encouraged it.  You always dreamed of being it.

You haven’t really looked at the mirror in a long time have you?

You haven’t seen how bad you have become?  You missed all those steps and waited until we were just about to hit bottom.

Shaking and trembling with each and every fix, you forgot to check yourself.

Those shiny lights of a Hollywood “star” got you all worked up and you told yourself you could control it.  Everything was so exciting and you all went out to max out your credit cards.  It was so exciting.

There was the young charismatic leader who built for profit prisons and created a temporary boom that would make you all feel good about yourselves even though he was exporting your jobs to other countries.  You didn’t care.  It all felt so good.

Hollywood and charismatic was followed by inherited wealth and war.  Many wars.  And home lending corruption.  We thought it couldn’t get any worse.  Unless we follow up another young charismatic Hollywood type with a greater example of inherited wealth.

So what are you going to do?

Sink into the oblivion with your pennies and excite at the life of those who destroyed everything that was once good?

Or change everything.

I say we stop enabling.  Stop excusing.  Stop denying.

First step is to look in the mirror and admit there is a problem.


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