We Americans believe we have a right to be the way we want to be, which includes being lazy physically and intellectually. Junk is more shiny and more entertaining than non-junk, after all, and we can’t be bothered to be bored with non-junk. We now have many forms of poison that we unwittingly ingest in various ways. We have created in many ways our own version of the gladiator games that the masses celebrated through the downfall of Rome.

We are attracted to politicians for their image over all else. Never mind the arguments, or the truth which all politicians unabashedly lay claim to. Did they speak in a confident way at the last debate? That’s what I really care about. Because confidence is what we really need in a leader, over all else. Did they provide nice entertaining zingers in rebuttal to their opponent? Because those witty one-liners are what we need to lead the free world.

Did someone sniffle during the last debate? Did someone stumble over their words? Did someone physically stumble and need help getting into their van? Did Mr. Funny Man With A Funny Name ask a question at the debate? I forgot what question he asked, or what the answers were. What brand was his sweater? I’d like to wear it this Halloween so I can poke fun at people who don’t appear super polished on TV. These are the things that really matter.

This is no doubt the era of image politics, not issue politics (arguably this has been happening since the Kennedy-Nixon debates…).

Just like junk image politics, junk TV is more entertaining than non-junk TV, and we are attracted to it like flies to garbage. Cable TV has become a cesspool, and not coincidentally. Networks have found what people are attracted to, and maximized its airing time in order to maximize viewers. Create masses of junk, and people will flock to it.

And food! We are attracted to junk food, and not just snacks - even junk added to our main meals. I would argue that the staple food of the US is now sugar. It’s in everything. We eat it with abandon and oftentimes unknowingly. Without regard for long-term effects and without regard for how it affects our bodies and minds.

Because we have a God-given American right to eat what we want, just like our forefathers intended. George Washington would be proud that I ate a fruit rollup for breakfast, followed by two burgers for lunch.

And we defend our body images in all shapes and sizes, because we have a right to it, dammit. And we are beautiful and healthy regardless of what anyone says. I have a right to live my life the way I want to, without regard for what anyone else says. That’s the American Way©, after all (copyrighted by North American Coca-Cola).

We defend our version of the truth, because we have a God-given right to it. I have a right to believe what I want to. It’s the American Way to live my life and believe what I want to. If you question or challenge me, you are attacking my very way of life. And that’s super unamerican.

We defend the position of our in-group, and anything said against that position is an attack on the in-group itself. We have a right to our position, and it’s more important to show confidence and unwavering commitment to that position than to show hesitancy and a wavering opinion. And we like to blast our politicians for waffling on positions, never thinking that maybe it’s healthy to reassess beliefs over time. I’m gonna stick to my guns on this one.

America is undoubtedly in a decline.

And we have a God-given right to be in decline, dammit!