The Marketing Of America: Pt IV, Competition

As Americans, we are constantly sold and most believe in the concept of competition. “We’re Number One!”

We’re not number one in much. Besides, who is “we”? Does that mean we all benefit or profit from being number one? Rarely if ever.

We are sold sports to distract us. Because that’s all sports are for, aside from gambling. If you gamble, I can understand you having an emotional stake in one team/horse/whatever being first. Otherwise, what difference does it make in your life?

I can understand the camaraderie of cheering for your favorite team together. However, people can cheer and gain cohesion through far more constructive, community-beneficial ways than sports.

However, it’s not only sports on which we are sold competition. We are sold a mindset of competition about basically everything. Being the best salesperson. Being the most productive at our jobs to make profits for corporate masters. Being the tallest, most muscular, strongest, most attractive, having the most offers for dates, having the most money/possessions, most expensive vehicle, largest (most gas guzzling) vehicle, who can drink the most alcohol, drive the fastest, take the biggest risks and survive..

Some competition is good, I agree. When it actually offers benefit to yourself and your family/community/country. That’s not how competition is presented, though. It is presented as the greatest hording of resources by the fewest individuals, superficial non-achievements, often damaging to oneself or others. As a society, we place little value on academics, knowledge, humanism, compassion, sharing, peace, honesty.

I’m not necessarily against sports per se. I have no interest in them, personally. I find them frivolous, artificial and wasteful. I detest the many billions spent on sports annually in this country while schools, teachers, students struggle for resources. While children go hungry. While the sick lack medical care. While people die of exposure from homelessness.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

Then we have competition in politics. People pay no attention to policies. They vote against one name and for another name. Mention a third party like the Green Party having much better policies and an ethical, effective, well-constructed platform and you hear words like, “Well, I won’t vote for them because they can’t win.”

Keep cheering for “your” team.

What, exactly do you think you’re “winning”? Trump promised lots of “winning” and his supporters still think they are “winning” as the rich get richer, farmers go broke, international tensions rise to fever pitch and workers get laid off. No, he is not the sole cause of this by a long shot but he’s not making anything better. To think he is the only cause of it is a sign you have bought the competition between two parties.

Yay, winning.

We’re not voting for anything any more. Even if we do, we are willing to make sacrifices which are nothing short of dangerous. War with Russia, invasion of Venezuela, escalating corporate power, censorship of the media, arrest of whistle blowers and journalists.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

Have you ever considered that sexism is competition? So is racism, religious prejudice, homophobia, all of capitalism.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

We’re told we need the largest military on earth. No, we don’t. We comprise 5% of the earth’s population, yet spend more on “defense” than every other country on earth combined. We cheer for our massive military force while they invade and bomb countries that are no threat to us. Meanwhile veterans die in waiting rooms, come home addicted to drugs and commit suicide from PTSD. These are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters we inflict this upon. We pay for all of it with money ripped from our social support systems and debt that accounts for over 1/3 of all global debt.

Keep cheering for “your” team.

We pay more in cost of medical care, debt per capita and the highest consumer debt the world has ever seen and have over 1300 Superfund sites we cannot afford to clean up. We have more gun deaths per capita than any developed country, more guns (civilian, police and military) than any country in history. More violent crime than any developed country, use 80% of the global production of opiates and more people on antidepressants than the rest of the planet. We have the largest prison population making profits for corporations running them at our expense.

We’re number one.

We’re told we need “unity” yet are sold anything, everything but unity. We are sold divisiveness on a daily basis. Our country is “better” but falls behind on every measure of quality of life, falling behind further by the hour. We’re told that one party or another is “evil” while they vote in the most damaging policies with bipartisan majorities. We go through cycles of one or another of two parties dragging us deeper into debt, destroying our rights as human beings, back and forth between parties every few years, never learning. We point fingers but don’t look for actual solutions. We reject actual solutions because even the ideas “can’t win”. Pay no attention to what you, yourself are losing.

Go ahead. Distract yourself with pay-per-view, Sunday/Monday Night Football, go into debt to go to the Super Bowl, the World Series or what have you. Keep up with the sports scores but ignore your children’s grades/fears/depression/drug use. Walk past the homeless mother on the corner.

Just keep cheering for “your team”. That will make it all go away.

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