A Country In Peril Remains Calm?

Japan. You’ve seen the country’s name in headlines all over the news for days now. It’s devastating. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, nuclear power plant disasters…the list goes on and on. And, unfortunately, so does the death-toll.

Originally, I was not going to blog today. Heck, I haven’t blogged in nearly a year. I had a couple of posts scheduled to roll out every couple of days over the next week…

BUT – I read an article today that made me pause in my tracks. If you’re interested, you can read this article here at the Washington Post.  What made me stop and think was the following excerpt:

One Fukushima City supermarket was set to open on Monday at 10 a.m. The first customers showed up at 7. Soon, several hundred were waiting to buy rice, instant noodles and other goods. The store manager, Hidenori Chonan, said the store didn’t have many supplies left — and electricity had already cut out.

“We don’t know when the next supply would come,” Chonan said. “We are selling all products at [discounted prices] and losing money. But at a time like this we help each other.”

“We have security to avoid confusion, but there is no sign of people trying to break into our store, or anything like that,” Chonan said. “Of course some complain about lining up or having limits on how much they can buy, but we all know what the situation is and we all feel each other’s pain.”

Indeed, while Japan in recent days has lost much of its infrastructure and refined lifestyle — and far too many of its people — the country has retained its decorum.

And then this other excerpt:

Twitter users retold stories of where the stranded and homeless shared rice balls. Travelers heading north reported 10-hour car rides — with no honking. At a convenience store in one battered coastal prefecture, a store manager turned to a private electrical generator. When the generator stopped working and the cash register could no longer open, customers who had been waiting in line quietly returned their items to the shelves.

Why did these statements give me pause? Because I am not convinced, were a similar catastrophe to strike in the US, that US citizens would remain quite so civilized. Maybe I’m just jaded by the crap I see on the news…maybe I’ve heard too many rumors of people doing stupid stupid things…but I have SEEN that there is a large part of our population that cares only for themselves.

I get so sick and tired of the sense of entitlement that so many in our country seem to have. Serve ME. Give ME. Help ME.


Ten hour car rides with no honking? Putting items back on the shelf because the register could no longer open? Stores giving items away at discounted prices and taking a loss so that others could have the things they need? Ok, there might be some of those stories over here, but what stands out in my mind are the stories of looting; the gas station owners that hiked the price of gas when hurricanes threatened Houston and Galveston and people were forced to evacuate; the people stuck in traffic who honk and honk and honk at each other like the person at the front of the line just forgot to go. I get so frustrated when I’m on a highway and there’s an accident so lanes merge, but people in the lanes behind me as I’m merging feel entitled enough to swerve around me and get as close the the front of the merging lanes as they can.


Am I cynical? Maybe. But it’s my observation and it makes me sick.

Do I wish the US was like Japan? Probably not…the article also made mention of how the systems that cause such serenity in their society also prevent self-expression and that bloggers and social media users often remain anonymous.

Freedom of expression is one of the many values I am glad our country has. I just find myself so disappointed that, to so many, self-expression turns into self-serving entitlement.

I guess I’ll have to step off my soap-box for now…I don’t yet have the funds to start my own country.

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