What Do You Think Is Wrong with America?

Updated on December 22, 2012
A.G. asks from Houston, TX
31 answers

Lazy parenting? High society? Low morals? Poor economy? Bad legislation? No legislation? Not enough God? Too much God?

Does it worry you if America is on the decline? Or are you confident the world your children will one day live in on their own will be better than yours? Or worse?

Do you have any kind of solution to it all?

I know my question is presumptuous...I know there is so much good in this country, like countless people who take care of the poor, the abused, the neglected, the forgotten. But still, because of recent events, I'm curious to know everyone's opinion of our country these days.

I have a friend who wants to move overseas because she thinks they have better morals than America has right now, and when prompting her to offer a solution instead of running away, she had nothing to say.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

*Awesome responses. Honest and sincere. We have so much to learn from one another.

Noone is right or wrong here, and I never said whether I agree with my friend or not. I just shared with you folks that I had asked her if she had a solution to everything she has a problem with in this country and she couldn't come up with anything. I totally respect her POV, especially due to recent tragedies.

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answers from Norfolk on

1) Things were never as good as you think they were in 'the good old days'.
2) There is nothing new under the sun - it's all happened before - and it will all happen again.
3) People are people where ever you go.

If anythings wrong - it's that people are too introspective wondering about what's wrong.
Maybe it's the press of 7 billion people on the planet that has an affect on us something like lemmings.
Over crowded animals tend to go a bit crazy.

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answers from Appleton on

Personal responsibility, nothing is ever anyone's fault anymore.

The mental health system ---- or huge lack of a mental health system.

The entitlement attidtude -- I want it I deserve it so I get it.

Some TV programing promoting bullying .... Dance Moms -- Fashion Police -- Bridezillas for instance. I've never watched either program but from what I've seen on the promos it's all about bullying people.

TV commercials that promote taking without asking --- strangers or co-workers simply taking food away from someone else.

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answers from Dallas on

Polarization - I love America, but I don't like the "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude that some people have. The pundits drive me crazy because they just seek to wedge people apart.

When people stop, take a breath, respect that others may be different in their opinions, beliefs, etc., and can be ok with that, it's just fantastic. I love that.

GREAT POST Tat2D - Leggo my Eggo, so I can break it in half and share it with you! :)

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answers from Washington DC on


It's a little bit of everything...and no, it's not presumptuous.

too much "entitlement"....kids no longer have to EARN things...parents just GIVE.

no concept of money...kids since they don't have to EARN their way...and many parents just hand over money to kids...

Over population - there are sooo many people in this world, it's not even funny.

It is true, as a country, our morals have gone WWWWAAAAAYYY down hill...do you remember when it was OBSCENE and wrong for Barbara Eden to show her belly button on "I dream of Jeannie"??? Now women wearing clothes that show their breasts is nothing and no one (not many) bat an eye....

Do I believe that my children will live in a world better than I grew up in? No.

There seems to be a lack of values, morals and integrity for many in America as well....many kids are not held accountable for their actions...no consequences...

We are a "wired" society now. See it, want it, buy it...MUST HAVE NOW...today's technology will be "outdated by next week it seems....

many parents want to give their child/ren "all they didn't have" growing up...well...sorry- but if you didn't have LOVE growing up - that's great - shower your children in it - NOT MATERIAL POSSESSIONS...

Stop EXPECTING someone else to do it for you (generalized - not **YOU**)
Stop expecting the government to take care of you (again, GENERALIZED)
STOP trying to keep up with the Jones'...

Value yourself and life...teach respect...show respect...
Model your behavior for your children...they can see duplicitous behavior...
KNOW your child/ren's friends...who they hang out with - BE INVOLVED...it is NOT the school or day care's responsibility to raise your child/ren...

Welfare is a TEMPORARY MEASURE...not a way of life...(yes, I know there are people who do NOT see it as a way of life).

Don't have a kid if you can't afford it...if you are on welfare...don't have a child. it's not fair to you, the child or society.

EXPECT the best from yourself and your children......don't settle for mediocre....EFFORT and TRYING count and make a HUGE difference...

Keep God in your life...if you are not deeply religious - okay - but there is still good thoughts, etc....treat others the way you want to be treated...

There is SOOO much that can be done...but people have to take responsibility....stop expecting others to clean up their mess or to take care of them....baby steps...but they go a long way!!

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answers from Columbia on

What's wrong in the USA?

Too many Americans don't realize just how good we have it.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

That we don't follow the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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answers from Austin on

Everything starts with the family - EVERYTHING. Many parents I believe are so removed from the original parenting role that we have let our children be raised by society as a whole rather than from our own direct involvement. You want your child to be empathetic, knowledgeable, strong, ethical... well, start in your own home. Guns, games, tv, media, politicians should not give our children power, guidance, moral values. Too many people pointing fingers rather than teaching our kids lessons for the future.

We as americans have no idea the actual concept of survival for day-to-day necessities. We have children getting pissy at their parents for not buying them the latest and greatest. That's our fault. Our kids are bored, lazy, and entitled. They have no idea about appreciation of good health, life and love. That's our fault. We pander to their "needs" - giving into their "wants" and so when they grow up they have no way of coping when things don't go their way. Having a bad day - take some prescription drugs. Oh - you feeling depressed - take some drugs. Can't loose weight with diet and exercise - take drugs. Can't sleep - take drugs. Can't get up - take drugs. Can't get it up - take drugs. Oh and guess what - if you or your child think differently, act differently - then you must have some sort of mental illness so guess what - take some more drugs.

If we ever had to go to war with another country that did not have our modern conveniences or weaponry - we Americans would never survive as we've gotten so dependent and lazy and have taught our children how to be lazy that way as well. Poor Johnny isn't doing well in school or sports so lets just lower the bar so everyone can be a winner!

Yes, I'm venting - I'm not trying to offend anyone though so please don't take this personally.

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answers from Seattle on

Heinlein wrote a piece once that says everything I ever could and more.

Sick Culture v Dieing Culture

--- Robert A. Heinlein (conversation between Dr. Baldwin & Friday Baldwin.. In "Friday")

What are the marks of a sick culture?

It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.

A very bad sign. Particularism. It was once considered a Spanish vice but any country can fall sick with it. Dominance of males over females seems to be one of the symptoms.

Before a revolution can take place, the population must loose faith in both the police and the courts.

High taxation is important and so is inflation of the currency and the ratio of the productive to those on the public payroll. But that's old hat; everybody knows that a country is on the skids when its income and outgo get out of balance and stay that way - even though there are always endless attempts to wish it way by legislation. But I started looking for little signs and what some call silly-season symptoms.

I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course - but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking way at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial - but those things are obvious; all the histories list them.

I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all. This one I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named... But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. Study it. It is too late to save this culture - this worldwide culture, not just the freak show here in California. Therefore we must now prepare the monasteries for the coming Dark Age. Electronic records are too fragile; we must again have books, of stable inks and resistant paper.
--- Friday and Dr. Baldwin in Friday

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answers from Albany on

I don't think anything is "Wrong" with America.

As a country, we are very very young. If you look at the history of the MANY countries that have been around for thousands of years, you can see we've got some bugs to work out, we've got some growing up to do. We are still figuring out our own identity.

I am not highly educated on the subject of history, or even currents events, but I do know a thing or two about human nature, just from observing. And I do know that no other country on the planet has such a wide variety of people. And I feel I'm proud to be a part of such a unique entity, where we all, somehow, miraculously, for the most part, live our lives together, despite our incredible differences. And the passion with which we are free to disagree with each other, is the very thing that makes us the greatest country in the world.

I think it's gonna be ok, I really do.


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answers from Seattle on

I think that one of the biggest problems with us is US!
Too often we think about ourselves without thinking about those less fortunate.
We are not volunteering as much, we are not donating as much, we are pissed off when we need to pay more taxes to take care of our country, we are not taking care of our own.
It's all ME ME ME, without thinking what can I do to make things better for OTHERS instead of just ME.
The solution? We need to talk with our kids, show our kids, make our children AWARE of what is going on around us instead of just sheltering them. It's cliche', I know....but they are the future!

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answers from Augusta on

Personal Responsibility , or lack there of.
No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions. There's a fix for everything and no one is owning up to anything.
I agree morality has gone down the toilet but that's everywhere. Sex sells everything. And it's become common place for spouses to cheat on each other. Marriage is no longer a sacred vow before God between a man and woman. It's disposable. No one wants to work for anything. We're all " Entitled" to things. Well no you aren't the only thing you are entitled to is "the pursuit of happiness" . But Pursuit requires work.

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answers from San Francisco on

I believe the pursuit of happiness is what is wrong with America.
As a nation we tend to do what will make us happy right now without thinking about the consequences - either now or down the road.

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answers from Columbus on

1. Alarming selfishness. Hearts are growing cold.
2. No "natural consequences". We're turning into a "bailout" society. At least, the elite get their bailouts...
3. The dictatorship of relativism. There's a growing lack of acknowledgement of the existence of moral truth. If it feels good to you, then do it.

How to fix it? Start with yourself. Reach out to others. Take personal responsibility for your actions and words. Work on developing a relationship with God.

I was just thinking the other day that I worry for my children's future. What kind of a world will they live in? How bad will it be if it's this bad now?

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answers from San Francisco on

I think the biggest problem, and Riley alluded to this, is that we no longer think of ourselves as Americans. We think of ourselves as Conservatives, or Republicans, or Progressives, or Democrats, or Tea Partiers, or whatever. We think of each other as something to be defeated, rather than being able to see what we share, and building on that. I have noticed in several responses that "people feel entitled." But to be honest, I haven't personally seen that in my daily life. But it goes back to seeing our country as "us" vs "them." As in, "I work hard, but nobody else does, so *they're* the problem with America." Imagine what we could do if we thought, "Just about everybody works hard. What can I do to help someone who is struggling?" But, this is part of our culture these days. We are greedy, we are selfish, and we think we are better than everyone around us. Sadly, our culture promotes this and glorifies it. There will always be inequality, that's just how the world is, but we can still be civilized and gracious toward each other. It is going to take each of us remembering what makes us Americans and what ties us together, rather than constantly focusing on what differences we may have. That's the only way to save our country.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

My daughter who is a step-mom and 30 and I were having this very discussion the other day. As awful as things seem, this is not new to our history. I mean ALL the way back history. Bad things happened with the founding of this country, pilgrims left Europe so they could live, and not be murdered for their beliefs, etc. Look at the slaughter of the American Indian and land-grab that settled the west. Look at slavery, discrimination against (insert any group here). My point is that this question is asked of EVERY generation. It was a hard and dark time in our county in the 60's and 70's with the Vietnam War, sad and hard.

Now with that depressing view, look at the progress and good that is in our country now. We are less judgmental about races, we are more aware of justice, and many ways more tolerant of all kinds of folks. Having lived through the 60's and 70's national turmoil, it isn't worse, but more of the same.

All in all I'm optimistic for the future. There are many wonderful parents, wonderful children, wonderful families. Look for the beauty, look for the good, and spread the light to others and your children. Here is a wonderful article about goodness

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answers from Dallas on

It's populated by people. Fallible, imperfect, selfish, flaky people. It always has been, and it always will be.

Other countries are as well, and they have their own problems. If you think their problems are more tolerable than ours, why not give them a try? It might be a better fit for her.

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answers from Charleston on

Few want to work hard for anything and instead want handouts, and usually get them whether they truly deserve them or not.

Too few parents are teaching respect and morals. Instead they either blow their kids off onto someone else in the family to raise, or they want to be their "friend". Ugh.

Sex is deemed acceptable at too early of an age today. There are commercials on tv during the day that are totally inappropriate for children. Sex is everywhere starting in adolescence - clothes, movies, tv, etc... It's insane.

The only solution would be next to impossible because most of society is too lazy to change. It would require stricter regulations on welfare, parents actually teaching their kids instead of relying on others or not even caring, and for people to have PRIDE in themselves and their country. Too many people just don't seem to give a S!$T today. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

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answers from San Francisco on

In my opinion - the number one problem is broken homes, and 50% of kids being raised by single parents, usually mainly the mom. Young males, who cause probably 95% of the violence in the world, need present and active (and sane) fathers, to keep them in line.

This doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions to the rule, or sometimes good reasons to split up, etc. etc., so I'm not judging anyone on here who is a single parent.

There are many other dimensions to the problem, obviously, but this is one huge factor.

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answers from Boston on

I see so much goodness, good works, generosity and thoughtfulness, that I cannot answer the question as asked. But I would say that many people are moving so fast, with responsibilities, plans, burdens and choices, that it can be hard to notice the many humble acts of kindness that surround us, in the market, our work places, and on Mamsource. I wish that each of us can find a moment to slow down and observe what a wonderful country and world we live in. Even in tragic times, the kindness of others is overwhelming. Peace.

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answers from Phoenix on

Cheryl O says it all.

Entitlement attitude.
Control your own circle and make your own difference
Live within your means

TV has ruined us because it normalizes bad (and violent behavior) and it makes us think that we are entitled to what the sitcom people have on their fake set homes.

Be grateful and live a life of gratitude and grace. :-)

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answers from Dallas on

My thoughts are that people do not take personal responsibility.

Too many people prefer to rely on a handout, freebies , and do anything but take responsibility for their own actions.

Any person from any party, race, etc should first take responsibility for their own actions.

Too many people are freeloaders looking for handouts and a free obamaphone to be paid for by someone like me.

My advice is to get off your butt and work, have some morals, and dont rely on others . Dont always be the taker.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I think what's wrong with America is the inordinate amount of time we're wasting complaining about what's wrong with America instead of getting off our butts and making positive change!

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answers from Portland on

Here's the thing: we can get better, if we choose to.
If we choose to listen and stop sniping at each other.
If we choose to help when we see something wrong.
If we choose to regulate ourselves wholly.
If we think of others before we speak or do.
If we try to see someone else's perspective before condemning it.

If we start accepting where we are and begin being thoughtful about how to go forward. Not putting 'me+mine' front and center but looking at the big picture as a whole. I see that we have much that is out of balance, however I also believe that there is a lot of good in our nation. We have to be able to see both of these, and to create a system which does honor the basic good that people do.

This does mean reforming our public assistance, social services and our mental health services.Could we provide support and skills to parents who are challenged in raising their families, so we break cycles before they begin and get our kids help without the usual judgment? We need to be supporting families instead of permitting laws which allow--and even facilitate--the destruction of families which face hard challenges, most especially health-related and financial ones. The fact that some working parents cannot earn accrued sick days at some jobs is just one example of how we need our lawmakers to *help* families instead of allowing things like the deregulation of the financial sector, which turned into this most recent depression.

We need lawmakers who are beholden to their constituents, not the lobbyists. Which means we need (desperately) election and campaign finance reform. How many billions were spent on the last election on Ads? Who benefited from this? Who *could have better benefited* from that money?

I am concerned that we have stopped valuing childhood in healthy ways and are now headed toward a track of too-old, too soon with some of our kids. Other children who face challenges, either culturally, intellectually, physically or emotionally--these kids' needs aren't being met. These problems have varied sources: broken social and educational systems, deregulation of what is being advertised and shown to children, too much technology, too early for some kids-- and,once again, the legislation which does not support healthy families.

I'm not for moving overseas, personally. I'm in favor of teaching my morals to my son as part of our 'family culture'. I'm a secular humanist and feel that no matter what our religion or beliefs, humans are called upon to do well by each other and to care for each other whenever possible. The bare minimum is being courteous. The extraordinary acts of parents and families going beyond their own comfort zone to act compassionately toward others through adoption, charity, volunteering and more--this is part of the good fight that I want to participate in.

Those people who would desecrate what we hold dear--which are the freedoms and liberties allowed to our citizens-- with desperate or brutal acts..... I cannot let them win. I accept them as one part of this life here. Let's also remember that in other countries, morals run just as extreme. Homosexuals are persecuted. There is religious and racially based genocide. There is intolerance toward people who are 'other' than the dominant population. Countries who purport to be extra holy and devout still have a reputation for human trafficking and scary prostitution rings. We are a country of honest, honorable people and still we must do battle in the courts and through law with the greedy, selfish people who would sell their mother for a quick buck.

There are no easy answers. Perhaps personal responsibility balanced with social responsibility is my answer. My idea of this may look completely different than someone else's, by the way. But it's worth starting the discussion....

ETA: wow, Riley, your Heinlein is chilling. I do agree. Reminds me of Huxley's Brave New World, too. the "People are just meant to be used and dominated" attitude. ugh.

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answers from New London on

I agree that there is alot of good out there...There are good people, good teachers, good music, good tv shows, good parents, etc...

On that same note, when I was a kid I could walk down the street to play, I could leave doors unlocked, we never had a house alarm, we always went to church, I did NOT talk back or disrespect my parents or sibling, I could not stay in the rm when the news was on, I never blew up people or buildings on a hand-held game or computer, I had rules, I believed the world was pretty safe, I watched family-orienred shows w/ very "nice" commercials, I never dis-respected a teacher...and so on.

We have to go back to morals and values. We need to bring back respect :

I just heard a 4 yr old say "shut-up idiot" to his Mom the other day. I hear bad words on tv and in music. Commercials are very violent !! And who let J. Shore actually air on tv? Even the Blake Shelton TV holiday show tonight had dark moments. I turned it off. I heard a teen swear at an elderly man the other day. I told the teen (in the car) next to me to stop texting the other day. I can't even write what she said to me---an adult!
Yesterday, I saw a lady buy a 4 yr old an I-Pad. What will he get when he is 14?

The other day, a mom asked me where they could go for her husband's B-day dinner because their 5 yr old said he did not like the restaurant Dad picked. Are you kidding? This is horrible parenting. When it's time for the child's 6th B-Day, then he can choose the restaurant!!

While I'm glad that kids voice their opinions, I am not glad that so many kids and teens do not have a HEALTHY fear in their folks or other adults.

So much has just spiraled out of control.

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answers from Honolulu on

Sink or swim... a culture does it together.

Every nation/Country, is comprised of its own culture(s) and ethos.
Whether it is splintered or not, homogenous or not.

Some cultures, even if comprised of seemingly differing beliefs and cultures, still exist, nicely.

But again, sink or swim... a culture and country and its people, does it together.
...and they will still all point fingers at each other.

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answers from San Francisco on

Asking a question like what is wrong with America is like saying, what is wrong with dogs?
(some are mean, some bite, most do not)
I think anyone who wants to move overseas because they think it's better should do so!
I would love to see your "friend" struggling as an immigrant in a foreign country. Ask her to send a postcard detailing her glamorous new life and be sure to share it with all of us ;-)

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answers from Kansas City on

I think our problem is the polarization of the parties. There seems to be no room for compromise or middle ground and that's making them unable to solve anything.

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answers from Los Angeles on

well lets start with the American Dream. Freedom. Thats the American dream. that is what people coming from other nations were coming from and many still are. But then with that freedom was overwhelming choice. Now that you are not told what to do, what should you do? The answer: whatever you want. Whatever the HELL you want. And thus freedom has been taken from granted.
In families I have seen more and more parents raising their kids to allow them to do whatever they want. They are not doing them any favors. My kids know like 5 "bad" words: stupid, shut up, hell, hate and idiot. The other really bad words. They don't know them. Why because they haven't been taught them. One family I know has a 4 year old that knows more (really) bad words than I do! So the younger generations are not learning how to be an upstanding citizen. People have learned that you can do whatever you want and you will be fine. You will be given money even if you do not work. Even if you don't try. You can pretend because the system is so overloaded we don't have the manpower or the money to have someone check that out.
Drug addicts are on welfare and receive food stamps. Guess what? They are not buying food. They sell the food stamps. I got $200 in food stamps. give me $100. someone else who is struggling says I can give you $100 and get double the groceries. DEAL! Know how I know? A single mom at my work can't afford groceries and makes too much to be on welfare. She struggles. Lives in a crappy area with her 3 kids full of druggies who sell her food stamps. Its one of the only ways she can afford to get food.
There is no one solution but I do think that you need to make people work for it. People are so entitled. Because they live in the US they deserve certain things. example: Disneyland takes care of their guests. goes the extra mile. If you need special consideration (disability?) they will help you out. They want you to enjoy it. Well people have figured this out and they take advantage. So now Disney makes new rides so everyone can be accommodated the same. The older ride ques are not accessible (wheelchair). So they allowed the individual a separate entrance (with a shorter line). People find out and now EVERYONE has a wheelchair. it is overbearing to accommodate. so on the new rides all of the ques are accessible. I was there on Monday and someone was asking where the wheelchair line was. The wait for the ride was an hour. the worker said that the que was accessible and the individual scoffed "you mean we have to wait in line?" really. and that is just a parallel to how it in in the world.
You mean you want me to work for my money? oh but wait someone said its ok so no you don't even have to work for it. everyone else does. Now don;t get me wrong there are people on welfare who are legit just like there are people at Disneyland in wheelchairs who are legit. But there are way more that take advantage. we need to start making people accountable. you're able bodied and on welfare? go paint/clean graffiti, serve in a soup kitchen, read books in an elderly home. Earn that money. I know it is not a ton of money. It doesn't have to be a ton of time. it doesn't have to be a 40 hour work week but something. The wheel will turn and it needs to go the other way.

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answers from College Station on

Boy, have you opened a can of worms!

I think the real problem with America is lack of personal responsibility. In all level, across all socio-economic lines. It has NOTHING to do with God, or laws, or anything else. Somehow, we got a couple of generations of people who "its not MY problem" everything, or "it's not MY fault" everything else.

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answers from Chicago on

The malaise of our times is a complicated phenomenon that started a long time ago. We have a sick ideology and culture, and no desire or inclination to try to fix it. In fact, in many ways, it is our morals that led us here, and hopefully one day we can get beyond good and evil and stop talking about right and wrong, and instead let our individualism speak to the need for different conditions based on different contexts and specifics.

In fact, it may be our very drive to judge and moralize that makes America such a more violent and aggressive nation. Other nations with more guns don't moralize and judge the way we do. We affirm through negation, and in doing so condemn and blame others for our own problems.

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answers from Erie on

I think if you think you will fit in better somewhere else, go for it. I don't plan on living in the US my whole life, why should I limit myself?

On that note, people are limited in their perceptions. Those who are unable to look outside their own box (and we all are guilty of this to some extent) are unable to be tolerant. We are imperfect, our lives and choices are imperfect, our world is bound to be so, too.

Blessed be, and Happy Solstice :)

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