The American Bubble: A Follow Up To American Sniper Post

Bubble

What a rollercoaster the past week has been. How does one even begin to follow up a blog post that has gone viral? Never, ever did I imagine that when I wrote out my thoughts about American Sniper (took me all of 20 minutes), millions of people would read them. A few hundred? Sure. But millions?

Thanks, y’all, for reading. Thanks for sharing, and thank you for commenting and reaching out to me. I am truly overwhelmed and humbled.

I found the reaction to this post quite interesting. As I read through the comments, there were several themes that stuck out to me, many questions raised, and a whole lot of gratefulness for our military members who have so honorably served and are currently serving our country.

I won’t address all the themes, comments and questions in this post because it would take forever to write and even longer to read (I’ll try to get to them all eventually), but I do want to address one thing first—the American Bubble.

There were strong reactions to my suggestion that many Americans live in a “bubble.” While many of you whole-heartedly agreed with me, others of you were very quick to point out that no such bubble exists, and perhaps I’m either too quick to jump to conclusions about our American culture or I’m just plain delusional. For those of you who think the latter, the only response I have is: thanks for reading the blog. 🙂

I argue that the American Bubble is very real, and far too many people live inside it.

First off, let me define what I believe this “American Bubble” is.

  • To me, the American Bubble exists for those who are unaware of history, religion, culture, politics, economics, and current events and how all of those things are tied together throughout our world. I don’t mean Americans need to be scholars in these areas, just have general awareness.
  • The American Bubble exists for those whose greatest concerns in life are trivial matters—those who are perfectly content with accepting that life exists only inside of their own understanding; that their world is small and needs to stay that way.
  • The American Bubble exists for those who believe that one human cannot affect the life of another for the better.

Let me expound on that last statement. Far too many people believe that their impact on the world is too trivial to make a difference. They believe that they can’t do anything to make the world better for others, so they might as well not even try—in fact, some go so far as to flat out ignore the plight of others in various parts of the world because they see it as “too sad” or “just too uncomfortable.”

And I think that’s the essence of the American Bubble—comfort.

Too many people are unwilling to move their hearts and minds outside of their comfort zones in order to accept the reality of the world and attempt to do anything to make the world better.

Two points I want to make here:

  1. I do not believe that most of these folks in the Bubble are purposefully ignorant. Many of them simply haven’t been taught.

I was privileged enough to grow up as an Army brat with parents who openly discussed religion, geography, history, and current events, among other things, around our nightly dinner table. I was lucky enough to have the kind of upbringing that exposed me to all kinds of people and places, opening my eyes to the beauty of the world at an early age.

Not every kid grows up like this. I’m very well aware.

In my years of experience as a high school Social Studies teacher (throughout my career I have taught US History, World History, American Government and Comparative Religions), I often find myself shocked at the lack of knowledge high school students have. They have no base for understanding the Social Studies for two reasons: their home situation either doesn’t allow for them to have exposure to these things from the adults or older people in their lives or their parents are in the American Bubble and simply don’t know enough to talk to their kids about these subjects.

Social StudiesAnother problem is that Social Studies is the most undervalued subject in American education. Just ask any elementary teacher. When they are out of time and need to cut something, what’s the first to go? Social Studies. Why? Because our education system places so much weight on math, science, and reading that there’s no time left for the valuable lessons Social Studies brings to making a well-rounded student. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying math, science, and reading aren’t vital—Social Studies actually ties into all the other subjects in a vital way, too, if given the opportunity). Middle school and high school are the same way. In my state, we require only 3 credits of high school Social Studies to graduate, while all other core subjects require four.

I’ll save the rest of my spiel on what’s wrong with education in America for another post. 🙂

My point is, young people haven’t been taught. Then they grow up into unaware adults and the cycle repeats itself. Is this in part due to our culture and our ever-constant shift away from the traditional family? I’m not sure. But I know many adults who just don’t know what’s going on in the world, how we got here, and what we can or should do about it. And I know even more teenagers who are the same way. Thankfully, as a teacher, I have the opportunity to do everything I can to education my students—and trust me, I’m making the most of that opportunity.

  1. The second point I want to make goes to the idea that far too many people believe they can’t make a difference in our world.

I’m certainly not suggesting that once we’re out of the American Bubble of blissful ignorance we should sell all our possessions and join the Peace Corps or become an international missionary (if you want to do that, awesomesauce!)—I’m simply suggesting that there are plenty of ways that we, even right around our own families and communities, can make a difference, and while those differences may seem small, they have a huge impact on the lives around us.

When I mentioned in my American Sniper post that Evil does indeed exist all over our world, I mentioned that we needed to combat it in all areas—from international war zones to the battlefields of our own hearts.

I believe this is one of the ways we improve the world—we start with improving ourselves. We must rid ourselves (as best we can) of hatred, greed, pride, and anger, and put our energies into helping and serving others.

**Side note: My personal belief is that the only way to be able to successfully do this is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. When you know Him as your personal Savior, combating this evil is so much easier because you have the tools with which to fight. I know there are some of you who won’t agree with this, and that’s okay. This is my worldview. Yours may be different. But if you are interested in learning more about Jesus or my worldview based on Christianity, please contact me. If you’re not interested, just remember that our goal is one and the same: making our world a better place.**

Whether you run the largest humanitarian organization in the world or you simply stop to help an older person carry their groceries to the car, the essence of improving our world lies, I believe, in ridding ourselves of the sin of pride (self-focus) and instead focusing our hearts on serving others.

Little things do make a big difference. Give kind words. Volunteer. Donate money. Sponsor a child (click here to check out WorldHelp for awesome child sponsorships).

Pray.

Prayer can do mighty, mighty things, folks.

Some of these might seem too small and insignificant to make a difference, but I’ll tell you what—our God can do amazing things with the smallest offerings. There’s miraculous proof of that not only in the Bible, but right around us all the time. We need only look for it. We need only act on the opportunities we are given to serve others, even when we feel like they are not really opportunities at all.shaking hands

Because we live in America, many of us live in relative “comfort” compared to other nations in the world. We’re blessed in that. We’re blessed that we have opportunity and access to education and clean water. While these things are definite blessings, I believe that our access to comfort might have made many of us complacent to the realities of the world. This is an example of us living inside the Bubble—complacency.

And I believe living inside the Bubble, for many, is a choice.

Too many times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t watch the news. It’s just too sad.” Perhaps that’s you. Folks, I’m here to tell you that unless you keep up with current events, not only can you not come out of your Bubble, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the happy going on in the world, too. Yes, there is sadness. There is Evil. There is tragedy. But there are also stories of those who have popped that American Bubble and are doing whatever they can, even in some small way, to make the world around them better. That’s hope, folks, and hope is just about the best news ever.

Many of you let me know that you didn’t need to see a movie like American Sniper to come out of “the Bubble” because you were never in one.

I think that’s fantastic. And rare. I’m so glad that you are more aware of the state of the world and how you can affect it than many others seem to be.

I would like to think that I don’t live in the American Bubble. I’m too much of a student of the world for that. However, that movie jolted me into the reality of what our soldiers face during war time; what our soldiers currently fighting in the Middle East are facing right now. Perhaps you didn’t need that reminder. But I did. And I’m grateful for it because although you won’t find a person in the US who is more grateful for our military than I, I simply needed a reminder of the conditions they face during war time, the struggles they have readjusting once they’re home again, and the realities the families face when their loved one is at war. I was in the Bubble and I didn’t even realize it. I think that can happen to us, too. We get so caught up in our own lives that even if we think we are aware of what’s going on, all we’re aware of is self. That’s pride, and pride leads to selfishness, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’re going for here.

For me, American Sniper wasn’t only about Chris Kyle’s story—it was the story of every man and woman in all branches of our military who has ever had to face an enemy and how life-changing those encounters can be, not just for that person, but for all those who know and love him/her.

Even as a military brat who experienced a life lived with a father deployed to a war zone, I needed the reminder.

The American Bubble is a real thing. I would argue that it’s not just an “American Bubble,” but can be applied to anyone in the 1st world who refuses to acknowledge the realities of how current events, politics, economics, and religion play a vital role in how our world interacts and where we’re headed.

It’s never too late to get educated. It’s never too late to learn. Even if you are educated, it’s never too late to get a little reminder; a dose of reality to make you realize how blessed we are to live in this great country, where we have the freedom not only to choose whether or not to stay inside the American Bubble, but the freedom to do something, even something small, to serve humankind.

Click here to follow me on Twitter.

Click here to follow me on Facebook.

Don’t forget to take a sec and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date with all posts! Either click on the button on the right side of this page or if you’re reading from your mobile device, click on the menu tab at the top of the screen, click on my “Contact” page, and scroll down until you see the “subscribe” section on the menu page! Thank you!

Share with me: What are your thoughts on the “American Bubble?” Do you think it exists? Are you in it or out of it?

Real Signature

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Just For Fun, The Christian Walk

6 responses to “The American Bubble: A Follow Up To American Sniper Post

  1. Mike McCrady

    Thanks for taking the time to make some very good points.

  2. Great points. Having taught many military children over the years as well as civilian children, I’ve seen those who have lived the life of not knowing when or if they would see their loved one again and I’ve listened to some of them who needed to voice it but could not at home, for they wanted to be strong for the other parent. I’ve seen the civilian child who was never exposed to any current events, never taught to think in terms of community, who had a hard time even forming the questions about his place in the grand scheme. I’ve fought for Social Science to be held as an equal to other academic courses at both the loal and state level. It is thrilling to see people make the connection to the subject of their passion and history, government, and economics. So many forget that we are social animals, and that we all need community. Your view of the world has helped prepare you to understand that not all will agree with you and that that is okay. We can only continue to pray that others will come to understand we do not all have to agree absolutely yet still be social!

  3. Les Ismore

    Let me give you another bubble. One of your commenters last time made the remark about how “leftists”, whatever that is supposed to mean, are trying to destroy American. Now that is part of the Fox News bubble. Did you know that it has been proven that people who watch Fox are actually dumbing down on current events? I urge your readers to turn off these highly partisan TV programs and watch something, anything else. Instead of reading Glenn Beck, find an impartial news site. As a veteran I am appalled to see people, like some of your commenters, talk about their fellow Americans like they are the enemy, they need to get out of that partisan bubble of hatred.

    • I certainly think that’s true on both sides of the aisle. When folks talk politics they tend to get heated quickly, and while I love a good, hearty, fact-based debate, I don’t like to see it turned into name-calling and spewing vitriol. I think there’s partisanship on both sides. I don’t think that will ever change, but we can change how we discuss our views with one another. Thanks for reading!

    • Holli

      Yet, Mr Ismore, you just labeled those you judge for doing so. There is a Left and Right and Middle in politics. Before you sit on your pedestal, research what terms people are using….and No, your statement about FOX is not supported by an Independent Study. However, it’s important to read all views and make up ones own mind. THAT is the freedom we fight, bleed and die for.

  4. FR

    Ms Hale,

    What you allude to is something many veterans have known for a long time. The “sheep, wolves and sheepdog” line from the movie is actually one that’s been around for a long time. It’s from a poem that put’s the bubble aspect you mention as well as the publics general lack of understanding about the mindset that it takes to do what we do. I sent you an email in greater detail about my personal story following your initial post on “Sniper”. I hope you had time to read it for I never received a reply

    But back to my original point, the following is the poem “The Sheepdog” by Russ Vaughn. What American Sniper did, I gather from many posts online across various forums, is bring a certain level of understanding to the sheep, of the sheepdog.

    The Sheepdogs
    Most humans truly are like sheep
    Wanting nothing more than peace to keep
    To graze, grow fat and raise their young,
    Sweet taste of clover on the tongue.
    Their lives serene upon Life’s farm,
    They sense no threat nor fear no harm.
    On verdant meadows, they forage free
    With naught to fear, with naught to flee.
    They pay their sheepdogs little heed
    For there is no threat; there is no need.

    To the flock, sheepdog’s are mysteries,
    Roaming watchful round the peripheries.
    These fang-toothed creatures bark, they roar
    With the fetid reek of the carnivore,
    Too like the wolf of legends told,
    To be amongst our docile fold.
    Who needs sheepdogs? What good are they?
    They have no use, not in this day.
    Lock them away, out of our sight
    We have no need of their fierce might.

    But sudden in their midst a beast
    Has come to kill, has come to feast
    The wolves attack; they give no warning
    Upon that calm September morning
    They slash and kill with frenzied glee
    Their passive helpless enemy
    Who had no clue the wolves were there
    Far roaming from their Eastern lair.
    Then from the carnage, from the rout,
    Comes the cry, “Turn the sheepdogs out!”

    Thus is our nature but too our plight
    To keep our dogs on leashes tight
    And live a life of illusive bliss
    Hearing not the beast, his growl, his hiss.
    Until he has us by the throat,
    We pay no heed; we take no note.
    Not until he strikes us at our core
    Will we unleash the Dogs of War
    Only having felt the wolf pack’s wrath
    Do we loose the sheepdogs on its path.

    And the wolves will learn what we’ve shown before;
    We love our sheep, we Dogs of War.

    -Russ Vaughn
    2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    101st Airborne Division
    Vietnam 65-66

Share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s