After a rocky couple of weeks of young kids, family death and cancer, all the while struggling with a “real” job in the obama economy, I am trying to get back to saving the world. I had one topic in mind but am revamping that (merging it actually) after seeing a disturbing news story that elucidates the continuing decay of our society. Do not worry, fellow Patriots, I will cover it all.
Sandwiched in the cacophony of my life was a vacation with my wife that wrapped up last week. My father worked a LOT of hours to raise four boys, especially after my mother’s untimely death, and that left little time for traditional vacations. It is understandable that I never had the vacation bug and rarely took any time off when I was working post-college. My wife comes from a family that enjoyed the Griswald-ian family vacations and I have eagerly embraced their love of cruises since entering the clan. In the bang-for-the-buck department, nothing can beat taking a cruise since everything but a fruity rum drink and a few hands of blackjack are included. Sadly, it is the darker side of this “all-inclusive” point that bothers me and that was my going to be the whole crux of my musings today. Then, when I read about the classless lesbians visiting the White House at obama’s invitation, I realized both issues dovetail.
Many of our fellow Americans, occasionally me included, are rude, vile, gluttonous, tacky individuals and nothing I have found exemplifies that quite like taking a cruise. We have no desire to take one of the snooty cruises that require tuxes and gowns every night and we do not want a party boat with barfing 20-somethings, so we have a developing history with an upper-middle class cruise line (that rhymes with “barnival” if you could not guess). There are large, nice, new ships staffed with a friendly and worldly mix of people, making fun stops. It always amazes me that these floating Towers of Babel, with dozens of nationalities teaming up to cater mostly to Americans, operate so well, so often. I would love to read a behind-the-scenes employee account of their work but, by all indications, these are simply nice people trying their best to help cruisers so that they (the workers) can send money back home.
The cruises have been wonderful but there are always the embarrassing cruise-mates onboard. Sadly, the bad apples shine in such an otherwise wonderful environment and I fear our country is being judged by these individuals. While we have not always traveled without complaint, we strive to be courteous and respectful. The cruise employees have to be universally friendly, even as they deal with high-stress situations, only to then retire to their assuredly cramped, sparse quarters for rest. We always try to learn of the countries and families of those caring for us and are often sad to hear how little they see of their spouses, children, family and friends. We have a great time because they are running such a top-notch show. End of story……until…..
Enter: the ugly Americans. I am ALWAYS proud to be from the U.S. but, if there is ever a time I want to pull an obama and forego the lapel flag pin, it is when my fellow Americans show what insipid, greedy, spoiled people we sometimes become. Early in my cruising adventures, I was shocked, disheartened, saddened, ticked off by many things but the most prevalent was the waste of food! The very fact that the price of food and (non-alcoholic) drinks is included in the price of admission lead some (thankfully a comparative few) to waste a massive amount of perfectly good food. Look around on a cruise at the uneaten food people leave on their tables. Because they feel they have paid for all that they want, they load their plates down with mounds of food and order numerous entrees during dinners. Much of this food is sampled (or not) and discarded. Worse yet, the patrons make a mess and expect the help to clean it up (These are the same rude, thoughtless individuals that leave Cheerios strewn underneath high-chairs at restaurants, expecting the servers to clean up after their messy infants.) On a cruise ship however, the waste is magnified as few pause to think about the servers’ countries of origin. Most of these people tasked with cleaning up and throwing away mainly untouched plates of food would kill for their families to have such bounty.
The lessons adults are teaching are obviously not lost on the children. A few doors down from our cabin this last cruise was a group of kids staying in one room with the parents apparently across the hall. Almost daily, these overweight kids would have mounds of desserts, half-eaten, left on carelessly stacked plates outside their door. Similar plates were often outside their parents’ door. Monkey see, monkey do.
Couple this with individuals that, once they get through with a glass, plate or bottle, they simply put it down, often on stairways or in hallways. I would have a nice bit of money in my wallet if I had a dollar for every time I removed something from a public staircase to prevent an accident. What are these people thinking? Are they thinking at all? I find I cannot ignore the scattered items in the hallways and stairwells as I imagine an elderly person slipping and killing themselves. This is in addition to the apparent thought process that has cruisers thinking “let the help clean it up as I am on vacation.” Many end up acting like the employees onboard are the help in an Old South plantation.
Why does paying for “all-inclusive” lead so many of us to leave our courtesy and good-taste on shore? Why is there a guy spitting chaw into a Bud bottle at 9am? Why do the children yell in the hallways in the middle of the night? How do parents ignore their brats that run through the putt-putt course as others are playing? Why do people ignore the few rules that apply to attire for meals?
I swear, the following is an account of an exchange we witnessed (to our horror and amusement) as we entered the dining room for the second of the two “formal” dinner nights. Mind you, there are dozens of casual places to eat on the ship and the requirements for long pants and more formal attire are listed in numerous spots. Regardless of this, an obese and vulgar man, decked out in the finest of khaki shorts was yelling (and cursing) at the maître d’ as we entered:
Man: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T COME IN?”
Maître d’: “I am sorry sir but, as we have explained, the formal dinners require long pants and more formal attire.”
Man: “I WORE SHORTS TO MY SON’S WEDDING! I WORE SHORTS TO MY FATHER’S FUNERAL WHEN HE DIED. SHORTS ARE FORMAL TO ME! THIS IS JUST LIKE IT WAS ON THE PRINCESS CRUISE AND I WILL TELL YOU LIKE I TOLD THEM, I WILL NEVER COME BACK!”
This fashion plate of a man proceeded to make a scene, trying to convince his party to depart with him (even his wife stayed) as he stormed out. I do not mean to be condescending as I am a live and let live kind of guy but, if you read the description and the rules and still chose to pay your money, do not complain and embarrass yourself when you are not allowed to do as you wish. Aside from the fact that this man obviously disrespected his son, father and himself in the past, how do you think this makes Americans look to the others on the ship? As a supposed beacon of freedom and liberty, how silly do we look when we are fighting the rules for our right to be tacky? The stories the employees on the boats must go back home and share must be mortifying.
And this brings us to ugly lesbians…
Seriously, it does. Many or most of you must have heard about the members of the gay and lesbian community that recently visited the White House at obama’s invitation. Instead of acting like respectful Americans, honoring the hallowed building they were visiting (if not respecting all of its former inhabitants), these visitors proceeded to disgrace and denigrate themselves. Again, as a live and let live kind of guy, I am not judging their lifestyle. I am, however, judging their complete lack of tact, taste, decorum, class, respect, values, sense, National pride and patriotism as they proudly flipped off (a portrait of) President Ronald Reagan. They then posted messages online “F*** Reagan!” and the like. I understand that Reagan has become the boogeyman for some in the gay community as they feel he did not recognize AIDS soon enough. They are entitled to their views on the matter (though he was sort of busy saving the world from Communism and restoring hope, pride and jobs in our country) but their actions towards a painting do Reagan no harm but certainly show them to be spiteful, little people with no respect for the White House or our history. I may find some childish satisfaction by not showing obama the respect of capitalizing his name but I would not embarrass myself in the White House by shooting him the bird (wow…thinking about it…it would be hard not to though). As anti-American and, as history will judge, villainous as he is, I would still have the class to respect the hallowed halls in which I found myself. Were everyone blessed with such beliefs, our Nation would be a better place.
Instead, we have tacky Americans on the high seas, bird shooting lesbians in the White House, vile children verbally attacking a grandmother bus monitor, and thousands of other examples of National classlessness. It makes me sad that I can find so many more examples for my children of “what not to do” than those to emulate. We are better than this. We, me included, rarely take the time to marvel at the blessings we have in the United States about which most others only dream. We need more Reagan, not less. We need more “shining city on a hill” and less trash, hate, racial/class division and callous disrespect. We need to lead by example if we are to be the Nation our Founders envisioned. I am not preaching. I pray to be a better man an have the examples start with me (though, this being said, I am embarrassed to admit I am currently wearing shorts as I type).
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As the sixth-great grandson of American patriot and Revolutionary War hero Christopher Gadsden, I feel it is my duty to speak fondly of America’s greatness and stand ready to defend her against all adversaries. Sadly, I must rail against the vileness and evil of the leftists, progressives, Marxist, socialists and idiots in general now threatening to destroy our great nation. If you support this aim, please spread the word.