Some suggest that we have become sheeple. Sheeple are people that accept unquestioningly what they are told by authority figures around them. They follow along impassively, often, at their own peril. This notion is a far cry from the American underpinnings declared by our progenitors that are decidedly not sheepish.
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves," said Henry David Thoreau.
The critics that have declared us all sheeple say that we are engaged in rampant consumerism. They make their case in this way: Americans, once a nation of savers have been lead into culture wide indebtedness. They say that corporations have used misleading television advertisements and inducements to compel us to buy an array of unnecessary items formerly known as junk. Most of the junk we own is made in China. Although the items manufactured in China are sometimes unsafe or even lethal, we continue to consume.
Capitalizing on an American health crisis and obsession, obesity, millions of Americans have run up sizeable credit card balances in acquiring the next weight-reducing apparatus. We buy weight vests, ankle weights and hand weights. We buy treadmills, Elliptical machines and electric belts that attach to your stomach that cause you to lose weight without doing anything. The Abdominizer, the Belly Buster, the Tummy Blaster, all offer the promise of a washboard stomach in just minutes a day.
Because Americans have less and less discretionary time, marketing a device that delivers results in minutes is attractive to Americans. There is also a variety of electrical appliances that cook food faster and with less fat. There are special cooking tools that reduce the time needed to prepare food, utilizing choppers or mini-food processors that have been around for about thirty years, now reborn.
They say that sheeple are not angry that the government did not protect us from near financial disaster and did not let us know ahead of time that it would occur. They say that sheeple are not angry about bailing out billionaires while thousands of Americans go into personal bankruptcy not because of greed or avarice but because they cannot pay their health care bills, the number one reason for bankruptcy in America today.
I asked a good friend if he thought we were sheeple and the mindless consumers that they make us out to be. After he got off his treadmill, removed his electric tummy blaster and turned off his hair follicle stimulator he said, "No, that is ridiculous." As I was leaving his house I noticed that he had the newest shoelace greaser model, the Greaser 2000. I borrowed it for a few days and my shoes have never been more comfortable. I have to go now; I'm off to get my own Greaser 2000. Remember, all kids count.
Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org