One of many things America is being blamed for is bringing fast food to the world and thus single handedly destroying the health of entire populations all over the world. It is absurdity to say America or “The Americans” are responsible for ruining an entire countries health by bringing in fast food. Even if it were remotely true, people make their own food choices. “The Americans” can hardly be held accountable for the personal dietary choices people in distant lands make. I once lived in a town where a McDonald’s was going to be built and folks there didn’t want one. They protested, peacefully, and guess what, it was never built. In Haiti, after weather damaged crops, Monsanto tried to force their product, their GMO seeds, on Haitian farmers, the Haitians lit those seeds on fire. Choice is the bottom line. Anyone who has ever read my blog knows I am not the most outwardly patriotic person, at least not in the traditional, “I bleed red, white and blue and crap apple pie” kind of way. I do love my country though, not because I was brainwashed to but by choice, being an American means I get to make such choices and I am humbled and grateful for that.
While it is true that America took the fast food trend to ridiculous proportions, fast food was not “invented” or begun in America as so many claim when they play the blame game. The idea of fast food dates all the way back to China circa 25-205AD, during the Han Dynasty where there were all night noodle stands and one could procure a quick serving of noodles 24 hours a day. As to the fast food tradition of sub-par, greasy and overall unhealthy food being the fare of the day, look to Medieval Europe 500AD-1500, where ready-made meals such as meat pies made with animal offal were the fast food trend. Between 1700 and 1800 street carts finally came to America bearing a quick meal of oysters from the bays of the Hudson River. America is populated with people from other countries, many of them enterprising capitalists who came to this country where they could be free to pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship. That perhaps greed or corporate agenda took hold of so many of them is not the fault of “the Americans” any more than it is the fault of the Wright Brothers that sometimes airplanes crash.
It was a German, Max Sielaff, who invented the first vending machines, fastest food of all. His idea was adapted by Americans Joseph Horn and James Hardart and they introduced them in 1902 in New York City. It wasn’t until 1921 that the first fast food chain store was erected in America in the form of a White Castle. None of these food chains started out as they are now. They started out as small businesses run by people trying to get by in the world. Corporate agendas and perhaps greed turns a business man (or woman) into just a business. This is a common pattern with people who are successful in business and it isn’t just companies like Monsanto and McDonalds that submit to it. Look at some of the people in businesses where a higher level of integrity is implied due to a health or spiritual agenda. Look at people like Tom Wolfe of the Raw Food movement or some of the more popular yoginis or New Agers who talk the talk of a more spiritual life and how it’s all about helping fellow humans to thrive. They say that it’s all about living simply and being open but close their doors to people who can’t pay them exorbitant amounts of money to attend their seminars and workshops to which no payment plans are available. More often than not these folks won’t even talk with you unless you have paid to be in their presence, not exactly walking the walk.
It used to be a good thing that America was a place where a little guy with a big idea and a dream could start a business and succeed. Now, successful businesses coupled with greed and corporate agendas have left most Americans in the dust and only a handful successful. Of course, that also depends upon how one defines success. Still, all over the internet I hear people from other countries calling out “The Americans.” Americans in general are being called out not only in terms of the greed of big business but also with regard to military action in other countries, as though the American people have any kind of say whatsoever in what its government and big businesses do. America is a place where people are free to pursue their dreams but not a place where it's likely they will come true, at least not any more or any less than in any other country. America is also a place where people are free to speak out but you really are dreaming if you think you will be heard. When people who have never even visited the United States and really have no idea what is going on in this country lump the entire population into a box and slap a label on it, “The Americans” and then sit back making assumptions in ignorance, it only serves to create separation and breeds hatred.
It is true that America is a rich country compared to others. It is true that what constitutes poverty here is a far cry from what constitutes poverty in some other countries. However, poverty and how it manifests taken in proportion to societal boundaries and cultural expectations is still poverty and in America, poverty has always existed and is exponentially on the rise and has been for some time now. I’m not certain what causes people to feel compelled to call out an entire country of people based on what they hear in the media whether it be the news, which is always slanted and filled with agenda pushing, or television shows that depict people in a certain, stereotyped way that is rarely accurate. It seems that everyone agrees we’d be better off if we all just got along but people seem to go out of their way to disconnect, to separate themselves from their fellow human beings based on all the labels we can pull out of a hat and stick on the box we shove a person or in this case an entire population into. It’s bad enough that it is done one on one with the people we meet on a daily basis but to judge an entire population of people is just ignorant and serves only to separate us all further.