America Is Killing Us
By Charles Karel Bouley II
77.6 years. No matter how “old” you are, that doesn’t seem old enough, does it? At least not to die. But in the USA That’s exactly the age to which we are now expected to live; that’s if you are White and not desperately poor. If you’re Black, and male, it’s even less.
Covid 19 brought down the US Life Expectancy a full year; meaning Donald Trump’s mismanagement of Covid 19 took a year from our lives. The stress of the pandemic, our inability to cope, is killing us.
As is the stress of America’s regard. You see, America is killing us.
Because today, what is it to be an American? Unless you are one of the 5.1 million millionaires in the United States, if you are one of the other 317 million of us, all it is to be an American is worry and stress; about everything.
Let’s start with the basics, food, water, air, shelter.
Food: We have the unhealthiest food in the world. Fat, sugar, salt, processed foods, they are what most people eat. We have ignored the warning from the WHO (World Health Organization) that 80% of the us must eat 90% less meat or we, and the planet, will die. Because marketing campaigns for years have sold us meat and dairy that is harmful to us, farmed in irresponsible ways and filthy.
We have ignored the diabetic warnings about sugar, and filled food with High Fructose Corn Syrup, or one of the 55 names for processed sugar that we use in food. Our sodium intake is off the charts. And less than 1/3 of us get enough exercise. It’s as if we want to die.
We don’t respect food, or even really “love” it enough to make sure we eat the best. And we allow food classism. “Organic” food, Whole Foods Market, Gelsons, all out of reach to most. Recently there was an uproar that a seditionist requested organic food in prison and the request was granted. Everyone got mad. Why? If there’s cleaner, better food, why shouldn’t EVERYONE get it? Don’t be mad that a horned, fur-clad traitor gets organic, be mad you don’t.
Water. Again we have no regard for the most valuable liquid on the planet. We allow poisons, toxins, horrors like Flint, Michigan and their lead toxicity. We have no idea what “good” water is, and trust politicians to make sure what comes out of the tap is pure. It isn’t . We pollute lakes, rivers, streams and the oceans with impunity, we, the People do that.
Air? Asthma, Emphysema, COPD, breathing disorders of all kinds flourish because we refuse to stop putting toxins in the air. The toxins in the air are killing us, and the planet, and we just keep spewing.
Shelter. Millions right now are stressing over rent, mortgages, places to live, as if shelter isn’t a human right, a human necessity. Power grids are failing in 2021 and people are literally freezing to death in Texas. Homeless die from exposure every day. Families crowd in to small domiciles, we pack people in like sardines. The nice shelters? Unaffordable to most. The comforts of home, and security of home, reserved for the rich.
Everything above causes stress and stress literally kills. High Blood Pressure over the years, from my stresses and lack of health, have lead to my aorta, the main blood vessel you have, expanding at the root and now I will have to monitor it and perhaps have surgery one day. Worry, bad food, stress, no exercise, kills. And even though I’m healthier I now than ever, your body doesn’t forget as we seem to have forgotten that we are physical beings with a limited time.
Cancers are flourishing. Heart Disease. Stroke, and yes, Gun Violence adds in to that as well as vehicle crashes. Thats’ right, in 2021 getting from point A to point B can still kill you, and unstable people (which seems to be most) can buy weapons of mass destruction and use them.
Our society is dying. The signs are everywhere. And we literally fiddle while Rome burns. We sit in front of larger or smaller monitors, observing life, commenting on life, getting enraged, furious, screaming; we sit at desks doing busy work for billion dollar entities that throw us scraps and are happy to take them. We sit and watch the health care system take over our lives, yet, it is one so fragile and frail that it breaks under a pandemic because we let profits, politicians and pundits really control our health care.
We don’t demand better because we don’t love ourselves and we don’t love our Country. We won’t be better for America, or ourselves, because we are not worth it in our eyes; only the privileged deserve the best. We get the rest. Otherwise, we’d have what they have.
We don’t because of the biggest things killing us: capitalism and money. Every issue, every problem and every solution is tied to, say it with me, money. A man made monetary system comprised of meaningless numbers and spread sheets that can determine if we live or die. Poverty is man made, Mandela said it and I agree. And in one week, men and women could solve it, but we won’t.
We are dying earlier, sicker, under more stress than ever before.
And if we don’t gather up some self esteem, self pride and self love, enough to make radical changes to every part of our society, there won’t be one in 100 years and people in the USA will die at 50. Remember in 1870 we lived to be 30 years old on average. Yup. That’s why all the debutantes in “Bridgerton” on Netflix are supposed to be 16. Because you died about 16 years later. In the 1950s it jumped to 69 because of modern medicine and technology. Now, we have only extended that eight years yet we have more now than ever before. In Ireland, their average expectancy is 82 years, in England, 81 years. In our ancestor’s homeland (for most) they live longer than we do. We went off, established a new country, and this shiny new country kills you five years earlier than from whence we came.
Do they love themselves more? Do they treat themselves better? Well, they at least feel everyone has the right to healthcare. Something we still fight about in the USA. Imagine, money, a man made construct, determining if you access health care that exists. Most of you don’t have to imagine, you are faced with that worry, and those decisions, every day.
Maybe I’ll make 77. Maybe 87. Maybe 100. Or maybe I won’t see 60. I don’t know. I have betrayed my country by going vegan, something that is made fun of, is not taken seriously, is seen as fringe, but is the only way to make sure we and the planet survive. I have betrayed corporate overlords by spending more time exercising (almost two hours a day) than at a desk for them. I have turned my back on “news” channels because all they do is complain and offer no solutions or happiness.
And the biggest betrayal, I have been fighting to replace cynicism with optimism, anger with gratitude.
How long are you going to live? I don’t know. But I do know your chances of dying prematurely are greatly increased if you live between the Atlantic and the Pacific in the United States of America and are not a member of the one percent.
What are you going to do about it?