John Rocker, a Major League Baseball pitcher for six years, is the author of "Scars and Strikes." After retiring from baseball, Rocker embarked upon a successful career in real estate development.More ↓Less ↑
Within each society and every civilization since the beginning of recorded history, an evolutionary process naturally occurs by which the organization of individuals as well as the individuals themselves evolve in their understandings, thought processes, ideologies and abilities. The acknowledgement that this generation as well as the prior one are much more advanced in our various realizations, levels of education and overall capabilities from those that existed just a century ago is a reality that is simply understood. It is nothing short of astonishing to contemplate the extraordinary leaps American society has achieved during the last 10 to 15 decades.
With an ever-evolving foundation that promotes the individual, the United States has been at the forefront of tangible contributions to mankind in obvious areas such as medicine, space exploration and technology. Perhaps more significant, however, is the evolutionary processes within our society regarding specific intangible ideologies that have transformed our culture while slowly permeating other societies. Concepts such as women’s rights, human rights overall and individual equality, which in large part have been spawned and matured in our culture, have spread to other civilizations to begin a new growth and maturation process. The lives of millions upon millions across the globe have been enriched through the adaptation of philosophies that were born and have evolved during the history of America.
With that being said, where do we go from here? It’s seemingly a foregone conclusion that the United States and its citizens will continue to lead the globe forward regarding innovation in an array of areas. But what about in the field of these many various intangible qualities in which America has always been the world leader? Arenas such as morality, integrity and ethics. In future generations, will this country continue to carry the world’s compass as it relates to such invaluable qualities? Based on what I see today regarding the evolution of these intangible principles in our society, I wouldn’t count on it.
You can generally tell a lot about a society by who its “heroes” are. Who is famous and why are they famous? Who has public prominence and why? Who do the masses emulate and respond to? What lifestyle behaviors within a culture are mere trends and what chosen conduct shows a basic deterioration in personal ethics and integrity? There is a transformation occurring in our great nation that began years ago and is gradually reaching a level of noticeable, even obvious, proportions.
It takes no more effort than to spend a few brief moments becoming broadly aware of some of the major influencing factors that permeate most facets of our society. If it’s not an obvious fact, then you probably live in a cave, if you don’t have at least moderate awareness as to the overwhelming amount of mindless, despicable garbage that permeates a host of media within our society. Studies have consistently shown, for example, that television through its visual and audible aspects has the greatest effect on the human psyche on many levels. With that being so, it’s scary to observe the debilitating effects many who have “accidentally” risen to television fame have on our current generation, as well as the younger more impressionable generation now attempting to reach maturity.
It says a lot about the state of our society as a whole when it takes at least two hands to list all of the female TV “stars” who have reached their talentless fame through the exploitation of “accidentally” leaked homemade sex tapes. Many of these individuals who now have every waking moment of their disgusting lives displayed for our entertainment have become major influences on the mentality and integrity of many in this country. They have clothing lines, shoe lines and fragrance brands that are all promoted by displaying night after night the glorified train wreck that is their reality. And what’s most disturbing is that an overwhelming number in our culture lap up this inane nonsense with a rabid lust while possessing a never-ending craving for more.
Unfortunately, it’s more than just these useless reality TV dolts and their hideous lives that are slowly eroding the fabric of our society’s integrity. Arenas such as professional athletics and music through which Americans create other influential “heroes” are also more times than not extremely poor examples of strong character for society’s observation. As consistent as the sunrise, it’s seemingly a daily occurrence to witness a revered athlete or musician in all of his tattooed/graffitied glory with a fresh set of gold teeth and prisonesque clothing being arrested for one thing or another or perhaps proudly speaking of his multitude of illegitimate children. (FYI: When you see an individual wearing his pants so low his filthy underwear is showing, he is mimicking prison attire. When one goes to prison, there are no belts for several reasons. In addition, the inmates must eat less-than-par prison food, thereby losing weight. Hence, sagging pants. Nice role models.)
We the People say much about the direction our culture is heading by the people we glorify, revere and emulate. What kind of life will there be for future generations when we tell ourselves and our children those who are the most morally and ethically bankrupt should be praised and mimicked simply because they have a nice jump shot. This country has prospered like no other society in history on the back of capitalism and moral fiber. From the looks of things, all signs on the cultural map show our great nation veering drastically and possibly irrecoverably off course. Hopefully I’m wrong.