Today,life seems to be so fast and self centered. Individuals are strivingtowards achieving their personal goals each day. This sometimes isdone at the expense of others. As we have seen, most conflicts todayamong people and even with the environment are due to the fact that,the society, especially the American society is becoming a “Me”society. In the past, people were concerned with others and theenvironment. The society operated as a whole. Today, the society isabout oneself and not about others. As people go to school, their aimis not to gain knowledge and help others or change the world, theyare focused on making success out of life, be the next big thing, acelebrity or something of sort. So what is this “Me” society inAmerica? This essay explores how the “Me” society has influencedthe American society.
Thefirst thing that is noticeable in the changing society is the waypeople have forgotten simple manners or courtesy. As Weeks (2012)writes in his article, “Please Read This Story, Thank You” manypeople have no courtesy and will barely use words such as kindly,please, thank you, you’re welcome, or how are you. Instead, thesewords have been replaced by more casual words like “Sure/Noproblem/You bet” for “Welcome” “Got it” for “Thank you.”(Weeks, 2012) In the “Me” society, people are not concerned aboutother people’s feelings. In his article, Weeks explore how peopleinteract with each other in everyday activities. He points out that,even in a café, airport or any other institution offering serviceslike a kiosk, people rarely pay attention to the clients they simplydo what is obligated to them. This is also echoed in the video “Ifonly we could see other people’s hearts”. In the video, peopleare going through different experiences, some stressful or dreadfulwhile others are having the best moments of their lives, yet no oneis interested in any one’s business. This is the ‘me’ culturethat we live in today.
The‘me’ society in America has ruined the way people relate orhandle crisis. With the attitude that people have, all it matters is‘me’ and not you. Olson (2011) notes that people in Japan handledthe tsunami in a better way than Americans could in a similarsituation, thanks to the ‘me’ society that we live in.
Thereligious beliefs of the Americans have also been eroded by the ‘me’society. NPR Staff (2013) express this view when they explore whymany Americans are becoming less religious. In the interviews withsix young people, they noted one thing in common, the young men andwomen are egocentric, they only think about themselves. In the ‘me’society, all it matters is how one feels, what benefit one gains andnot necessarily the other person. For example, one of theinterviewees, Melissa Adelman who was raised as a catholic showsdiscontent with the Stand of the Catholic Church about homosexuality.This shows that, for her, what matters is her opinion and she cannotaccommodate the greater societal view.
Theeconomic development of America is also affected by the ‘me’society. People always perceive themselves as in need of help thanothers. When the government works so hard to get people out ofpoverty, most of the people who get this help are undeserving.Charles Sykes in an interview with ‘The Fiscal Times’ regardingthe way the “take Care of Me Society” is ruining America, henotes that Americans have a tendency of perceiving that,’ there ismore money in other people’s pockets than theirs’ (Mackey, 2012).This hinders the government’s efforts of eradicating problems.
Fortunately,some people are optimistic that, the norms have not changed peopleare still courteous as before. The only thing that has changed is theway of expressing oneself. Cindy Post Senning, the director of EmilyPost Institution dedicated to etiquette argues that etiquette andcourtesy entail two critical components principles and manners. Toher, principles of respect, honesty and consideration are universaland timeless, but manners with time and across cultures. Thereforewhen people use alternative words like “Hello” for “How areyou?” they still show and mean respect and courtesy (Weeks, 2012).
Finally,the society teaches graduates that, it’s all about me, not you.When graduates finish their studies, they are equipped with skillswhich disconnect from the reality. The society encourages them to be‘me’. The phrases most commonly used to reflect this notioninclude, ‘follow your passion’, ‘find your dream’, ‘beindependent’, and ‘pursue happiness and joy’ (Brooks, 2011).This leads graduates to go from one office to the other looking for ajob that will make them happy. These connotations are far from thereality, as many graduates find out during their endeavors. One needsto be dependent, work with others, do what is not their passion toachieve happiness (Brooks, 2011).
Conclusively,the ‘Me’ society that we live in today has influenced the way werelate, handle conflicts, our religious beliefs as well as theeconomic development of the United States. However, there is stillhope that the ‘me’ society is not dominant in the society, and isjust a change of the way we see things. Ultimately, the ‘me’society is not doing Americans any good and there is need to refreshour view of the society.
Brooks,D. (2011, May 30). It`s not about you. The New York Times. RetrievedNovember 9, 2014, fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/opinion/31brooks.html?_r=0
Ifwe could see inside other people`s hearts. (n.d.). Vimeo. RetrievedNovember 10, 2014, from https://vimeo.com/77450643
Mackey,M. (2012, January 28). The `take care of me` society is wrecking theUSA | The Fiscal Times. The Fiscal Times. Retrieved November 9, 2014,fromhttp://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/01/28/The-Take-Care-of-Me-Society-is-Wrecking-the-USA
NPRStaff. (2013, January 15). More young people are moving away fromreligion, but why? (2013, January 15). NPR. Retrieved November 9,2014, fromhttp://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169342349/more-young-people-are-moving-away-from-religion-but-why
Olson,C. (2011, March 30). America`s `me` society. – FreemanJournal.net.Retrieved November 2, 2014, fromhttp://www.freemanjournal.net/page/content.detail/id/514587/America-s–me–society.html?nav=5002
Weeks,L. (2012, March 14). Pleaseread this story, thank you. NPR.Retrieved November 10, 2014, fromhttp://www.npr.org/2012/03/09/148295675/please-read-this-story-thank-you