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As you may or may not know, I ventured on a 2700 mile journey across America. Now, I’ll mention quite a few tidbits of information in my article “Where’s Avelino,” but I felt it necessary to devote a separate article to this topic. And again, some of you may or may not already know that America is going to the dogs. For those of you who are aware of this development, this article should provide further vindication of your belief. If you didn’t know that America’s character is in a state of decline, consider this your first lesson.

Now, I could begin listing reasons like the Bush economy and the Bush Screw Your Neighbor? Doctrine of Foreign Policy, or the fact that we’ve seen so much legislation aimed at regulating citizens that I want to move to Canada, or we could look at the latest information on corporate scandals. But, here at the Stasistech Network, we like to do things a little bit differently. Instead, we’re going to look at only two factors: the inability of Americans to follow simple directions, and the inability of Americans to pee into the toilet, as opposed to on the toilet.

Yes, You Heard Me Correctly
That’s right folks, half of my dissertation is based on simple human hygiene, and the American lack of it. Traveling through America can teach you quite a bit, and while I saw many things, places, and people that made me proud to be an American, the thing that really sticks in my mind is yellow toilet seats. You see, when you’re on the road for 12 hours a day, you stop at rest stops and restaurants quite often. It’s basic human anatomy. And I kid you not, at almost every rest stop we visited, if I went into a stall, I found yellow spots all over the toilet seat.

What possesses grown men to make them feel it’s alright to Spray-It-And-Leave-It? is anybody’s guess: I’m as baffled as the next guy. Because it can’t just be kids doing it. And even if it is kids doing it, what kind of parenting is occurring throughout this land where we teach our children to pee all over the place? If we’re failing to let our kids know the simple stuff, like lifting up the seat before they go, then how focused are we on the major stuff?

What kind of manners will exist in our society if we’re neglecting basic fundamentals like toilet seat etiquette? Will teenaged boys stop opening doors for their sweethearts? Will they show up to prom in jeans and a t-shirt? What other impacts will this have on our society? An even lower turnout on voting day? Perhaps we’ll see more murder on the streets because of an increase in road rage. I know I’m just speculating, but it really seems that if we’re not teaching our children the basics, they’re never gonna catch onto the bigger stuff.

Hooked On Phonics Worked For Me!!
And speaking of teaching our children the basics, I’ve got an idea: make sure they know how to read! Now, I understand that things are bad enough already, but my recent trip only highlighted how bad things are in America. Not only do our children lack proper reading skills, but our adults do as well. Case in point: my recent visit to Gettysburg.

For those of you haven’t been to Gettysburg, let me tell you one thing about it. This was the site of the bloodiest battle ever fought on US soil. 51,000 casualties occurred over three days. 140 years ago, this huge battle which was fought over a section of Pennsylvania land turned the tide of the Civil War. Gettysburg National Cemetery is where President Lincoln gave his famous Address. Get the idea?

Now, imagine you’re there, along with hundreds of other people, reading the signs which give depictions of famous engagements, or inform you of a particular officer or company, etc. And imagine you see one sign that says, “Please stay on path.” Now, I’m not exactly sure what level of reading is required to understand these four words, but I’m going to speculate that the majority of second graders would comprehend the message to mean “stay on the path.”

Then Again…
But, of course, we live in America. So, of course, not only were there little kids running off the path, but teenagers, and some grown men as well. So, I started thinking about possible causes for people to walk off the path, and I came to several possible conclusions. I present them here in no particular order.

The people could not read the sign.

People in America take their core values, that whole “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” thing very seriously. These people who were getting off the path truly expect to be “free” here in America, and as such, they feel that petty rules are below them. “Why bother, when I’m a free American citizen, in a section of land maintained with my tax dollars?”

The people simply didn’t care about what the sign said. They had no motivation for ignoring the sign besides general apathy.

However, I must now add one little snippet of information. To add injury to insult, I heard a woman telling her boys that, “Hurry up, you’re not supposed to be on those rocks. Oh, OK, just a few more pictures.” So, in other words, she could read, just not follow directions. Or, for that matter, impart discipline upon her children. Whatever the case, she rules out conclusion #1.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m getting a little too upset about a small little situation. Maybe I’m blowing it all way out of proportion. And I start to think, and I realize that I can’t blow it out of proportion. We’re talking about the future of America, and how it’s already being degraded. How could I possibly NOT get upset?

The question I must next ask myself is, do we have any hope of change? I think so. For starters, people like Arriana Huffington are getting involved. Her campaign for Governor of California is based mainly on the principle that the government should be existing for the welfare of the people. I don’t believe anybody has expressed this ideal as much as she has since the time of John Adams. She’s not interested in corporate sponsorship, and is instead reaching out to the actual populace to fund her campaign. She wants to make education in that state work, and her ideas look as sound as any I’ve seen.

Secondly, not all is lost in the Entertainment Industry. Artists like Neil Young are out there, trying to spread some meaningful work amongst the pop-culture BS which has taken a hold on mainstream America. We went from the brief highlight of last year, with Norah Jones and Beck having great albums, back to the same-ole same-ole of this year. Check out Young’s Greendale. It probably won’t sell a lot of copies, but I’m gonna be getting one.

Finally, we’ve got an election year coming up. While many feel the main battle will be the economy, I’m not of that mind. The economy will get better: that’s what economies do. We’re going to be looking at foreign policy, health care, and education this year. Hopefully, some major issues will be brought to light in California, and that trend will continue into the Presidential Election next year. Maybe my generation will wake up to the fact that we’ve been silent for far too long. Hopefully, after the year we’ve faced looking for jobs and worrying about friends and family overseas, we’ll take on an active role in determining our future. Because if we don’t, somebody else will.

Wrapping this all up into a nice little ending is somewhat difficult. How do you follow up three paragraphs about peeing on the toilet, honestly? But, there you have it. I’ll let you make up your own minds, based on the evidence I provided. Send comments to

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