American Nationalism is very different from other countries. Its ideology is based on the premise of individualism — freedom of speech. The right to bear arms and capitalism all revolve around the individual.
The United States is a very individualistic society whose core principle is individual freedom. It’s about self, self-preservation, self-reliance, self-autonomy. The people in our lives serve a purpose that satisfies the self. When this country goes to war, it’s on the premise that it threatens self’s freedom. (The truth is, it’s to protect corporate and government interests.) So when folks start hoarding and panic purchasing, it’s a threat to the self. You can’t engrain individuality for over 200 years, then expect people to think about others who do not serve a purpose to themselves. The constitution was created based on individualism. To say Americans are selfish is, uh yeah, duh. It is the basis of being an American. Just look at the different cultures around the world and see the stark difference.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has cast a spotlight on this individual selfish attitude. Despite the countless pleas from healthcare officials and leaders, thinking of others falls on deaf ears. Protests on individual liberties are always brought up. Videos of people refusing to follow public health guidelines increasing daily. Yet, the number of infected cases and deaths continue to rise. Now people are protesting in mass, demanding the government to allow businesses to open.
America is egocentric. Someone will say, well, I care about my friends and family. Yeah, those people are an extension of yourself. Do you have the same energy for the person who lives next door to you or a random stranger unless they serve some purpose of self? When society completely collapses, the egocentric attitude will dominate all logic and reason. This is why communities refuse to come together to combat government corruption. It’s not my immediate problem, so I won’t control it.
It seems people belonging to oppressed demographics don’t share the sentiment. Or did not have the privilege to express individualism. Coming together as a community was a difference of life or death. Many immigrants and first-generation born citizens fit this description.
People will care when it becomes about them. Have you noticed whenever a celebrity brings awareness to a disease or issue, it’s because it threatens self? For example, certain White Celebrities don’t give a shit about Black issues until they have Black Children. Because their children are subjected to the same institutional racism as any other black person. This pandemic only highlighted what was already there. People only care when it affects them or someone dear to them. It isn’t solely celebrities. It’s the general public too.
Stories of multiple people in the same family dying days apart from each other. Yet, it is still not keeping people from exercising social distancing. Close-knit family units are the most at risk. Their refusal to understand social distance also applies to family members not living in the same household. Despite 160,000 deaths as of August, people are still insisting on meeting in large groups. Because individual ideals are so ingrained in the American Psyche, to go against it is un-American even if it does save your life.
While many people have called out this selfish behavior, the majority continues to do it. This pandemic has brought out the ugliness of society. Social systems have collapsed, yet the collective doesn’t care. Many die due to lack of proper care with assisted care facilities with the elderly and weak left to fend for themselves. It’s no secret this pandemic has highlighted the considerable example divide regarding wealth, class, and social morality.
The lack of regard for those on the front lines of this disease is very apparent, ranging from pleas from store owners to employees to posts cussing out patrons because of their rudeness towards employees. Even Healthcare workers are on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse because care isn’t coming fast enough.
Let’s discuss the cruel bait and switch people are experiencing delivering groceries and other items to households. People are risking their lives doing your personal shopping; the least you can do is tip them accordingly. Instead, some people lure unknowing workers with a high tip, then reverse the tips citing things beyond their control or just sheer nastiness.
This is just an example of total disregard for another person who is risking their lives.
To service the American people. This is not a surprise given the various biases and prejudices towards oh name of any group — racism and bigotry cycles in seasons. No matter how many times influential leaders say uniting will strengthen the country, it falls on deaf ears. People will continue to focus on their own needs and interests. If a global pandemic won’t make people listen to reason and think about their fellow humans. Nothing will. It will be a matter of time before a catastrophic event wakes people up.