The Whiner Mentality in America

We have all heard the saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It seems that far too many people have taken this motto to heart, and sadly enough, it works. Don’t get me wrong, I favor a society that looks out for the less privileged, that takes care of its own. What I am speaking about is the tendency by Americans of all social strata to complain to resort to loudly whining whenever they don’t get what they want.

One good example came from the hurricane aftermath stories this past summer, specifically after Wilma. There is no denying that the Katrina response was woefully inadequate. But instead of learning from that, many people didn’t prepare, didn’t stock up on supplies. After the storm went through, it was mere hours before there were seemingly desperate people on camera whining about the lack of power or gas. Advertisements and alerts that tell people in Florida to have hurricane supplies evidently still fall on many deaf ears.

Another area where whining is getting old is air travel. I spent some years working in the airline industry, and dealt with much of it firsthand. People blaming agents for things entirely out of their control, like weather. Or a problem in another city that doesn’t allow a flight to depart. Again, it is legitimate to ask for good service. It is not OK to berate the girl at the ticket counter because you are having a bad day.

And what about retail? A Wal-Mart employee told me that they have a policy that rewards those who whine the loudest. If a person comes in with a legitimate claim but does not “push” it, they do as little as they can. For the person who yells the loudest, they bend over backwards. The person who gets the most help is often the one who deserves it least.

And although I think that Mr. Bush got the United States involved in the war in Iraq under false intelligence and bad pretense, the fact remains that we are there now. To simply whine about it doesn’t do any good at all. We need to do the best we can, and that will take some time. We can challenge the choices, we can even impeach Bush, but just whining will get us nowhere.

In closing, I suppose I could be charged with whining about the whining. So be it, I have had enough. I would like to hear more people taking responsibility for their own safety and comfort, while not forgetting those who can’t. And I would like leadership (from all sides of the aisle) that moves beyond just berating the other opinion to offer concrete choices.

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