Are you lonely? Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the Surgeon General of the United States, published a detailed report called “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” Did you catch that? It’s an epidemic of loneliness? Supposedly, one in every two Americans was lonely pre-pandemic. Now, it’s worse. This is a citizenship issue, so let’s talk about it.
My first reaction upon hearing about this epidemic of isolation is that government creates a “crisis” and now proposes a national strategy to advance social connections. (Do you want the government to help you make social connections???)
Created For Community
May I offer that we are created for community? A few of us prefer solitude. Others of us have been separated from the bonds of friends, family, and faith through political policies. These policies are usually presented as being “for our good.” In hindsight, it seems like these same policies promote divisions, factions, and isolation.
Additionally, if we trust the government to do what is good for us, we fail in our obligation to be a self-governing people. Early American generations did not trust government. They wanted to have as much liberty as possible while having a law-abiding society. I might add that our forefathers were not lonely. They did life together in community with each other. Neighbor helped neighbor. There were faith-based communities as well. Above all, they agreed on basic tenets of patriotism. In short, it was God, family, country alongside faith, family, and freedom. These were principle characteristics of American society.
That Was Then, But Now?
But now, where are these characteristics? We are a society that believes our social media friends are friends. How often do you see, in person, your social media friends? How well do you actually know your several hundred followers on your various social platforms?
We don’t entertain much at home these days. We got out of the habit during the pandemic. In fact, we don’t go out much for fear of our physical safety. We worship at home because “it’s easier.”
Our children’s best friend is their cell phone. Babies who can’t yet form a sentence can point you to their mother’s personal device as a source of interaction. They see parents on their devices, so they don’t learn to build social in-person interactive skills.
Who’s To Blame?
Even more, who’s to blame if we are lonely? Is it a government problem or a personal one? If we believe what elected officials (strangers) tell us to do without really applying our own God-given common sense, who’s fault is it? If we blindly accept the politician, the press, or the professor’s summary of America, no wonder we are a lonely nation!
In any case, let’s step out of our lonely prison. Invite someone to lunch. Have friends over for a visit. Join a group. Start a club. Visit a house of worship. If we don’t take the initiative, we may find government initiatives deciding our level of involvement for us.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸
Find the Surgeon General’s report here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf
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