First World Problems: Guest post by Cyril Vetter

By Cyril Vetter

We are a deeply divided country. Our divisions run along the fault lines of race, class, religion, et. al. Our political divisions are stark and well defined and decidedly First World.

Duke & Cy @ Seaside - Version 2

Cyril Vetter

Consider this the next time you engage in an argument or troll an internet comment page over women’s reproductive rights, Jesus, gay rights, civil rights, political correctness, confederate monuments, restroom gender battles or any of the other culture war issues that divide us so sharply. Just Consider: Forty percent of the world’s population is without running water. Sixty percent is without sanitary toilets. Twenty-five percent is without electricity. Eighty percent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. Over 11 percent of the world’s population is hungry, lacking adequate food supplies and malnourished.

And the refugee crisis is exactly that, a crisis and worsening. 60 million of our fellow homo sapiens are displaced: refugees escaping war, poverty, religious extremism, corrupt and oppressive governments, barrel bombs and Sarin gas. I could go on. About one in 100 people are physically separated from their homes.

But it’s impossible to starve to death in the U.S. (You can eat yourself to death, but unless you do it intentionally, you can’t starve to death.) And while there definitely are issues of food insecurity here, you’re not likely to see video of mass famine or fly covered babies with distended stomachs in Iowa or Ohio.

And with the exception of the tragedy of Flint, Mich., a resident of the United States can drink the water from any public lavatory; conduct basic hygiene in the bathroom at a MacDonald’s, find shelter at a facility for the homeless and, despite the current bombast in our nation’s capital, be relatively free of oppressive government.

I don’t mean to minimize or diminish the enormous problems we face as a society. Crumbling infrastructure, wildly uneven health care delivery, inner city and rural education and drug problems, outrageous income inequality, random violence, etc. ad infinitum.

But still, those are not issues of survival, of access to potable water, of starving to death, of fear. Ours are self-imposed issues created by a culture of too much.

And until we realize that the things that so deeply divide us are creatures of our own making, we are destined to continue on this divisive and unproductive path. How about a little civility, a little dignity, a little respect for a different position? How about we agree to disagree on issues that divide us, tone down the toxic partisan rhetoric and be about the mission of improving the lives of all of us.

How about we start by dialing back anonymous flaming and shaming on comment pages and social media. If you’re a MSNBC news devotee, try watching Fox news for a while and vice versa. Volunteer in a public high school; get involved in a political campaign or a non-profit fund raising campaign. Do something positive. It might feel good and it just might get your temperature back down to 98.6. It just might put the issues that divide us into perspective. Sen. Ben Sasse says as much in the thesis of his new book, The Vanishing American Adult.

Cyril Vetter is an attorney/businessman and a lifelong resident of Louisiana. He has written and produced books, music, film and television projects with a Louisiana cultural preservation theme.


This entry was posted in Life, Louisiana Politics, News Media, Politics, Popular Culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to First World Problems: Guest post by Cyril Vetter

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    You have presented simple and elegant solutions to our deep divisions with perfect clarity.

    Unfortunately, like many such solutions that make perfect sense (most notably, the golden rule), it will be ignored by most of those who could most benefit because their minds are closed. Worse, if you posted this on certain blogs, you would be mercilessly attacked and called unspeakable names for reasons that would make little to no sense.

    We can’t stop trying, though, and thanks for doing so.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Johnny Palazzotto says:

    Most Unfortunate is: The people that need to read this post the most will not be aware or won’t be on FB and maybe no other medium. Very true, Thank you Cyril Vetter


  3. Jill Varisco says:

    My dad’s response would be, “Amen brother Ben”. Like the person that commented before me, you make perfect sense, to the sensible. Unfortunately, the people that need to read this won’t.
    Thanks Cyril


  4. d.Holler says:

    Education’s a biggie for me. Taking a part of the education budget and turning it over to the private sector in the form of vouchers is insane. When the public is not educated enough to tell fact from fiction, and we spend our energies trying to convince them the world is not flat even though they’re presented with overwhelming scientific evidence, is a reckless way forward. Science is falsifiable. Religion is not, therefor has no place in the science class. Same thing with climate change. even though the vast majority of scientists agree we’re the cause of the rise in Co2 emissions, when a debate is on television, it’s presented as a 50/50 argument. The present head of the EPA Scott Pruitt is gutting the very agency he was appointed to protect. While everyone’s attacking Trump’s family and hair, so much is going on unbeknownst to many. Now, get ready for the big tax cuts which will only feed the billionaire fat cats, an trickle down to virtually no one. They didn’t work for Reagan or Bush. Look at the bill they left. Same old crap. Yes, USA stands for United states of Amnesia. Still, I have faith in our constitution. Trump is not a king, and as he’s discovered, he’s having to deal with the checks and balances. Keep hope alive.


  5. Anne Marchand Jones says:

    Thanks, Cyril. You grew up good! Wonderful, thoughtful commentary. We are so spoiled and entitled in the USA.


  6. Ron says:

    Very well said, and refreshing to read these thoughtful words from you, Cyril.
    Been a long time!


  7. Keith Morris says:

    Cyril,average ,work a day people feel none of the things you mentioned,only people with time on their hands feel all those things…..


  8. Bob Hamiu says:

    Cyril , thank you for putting these truths into words all Americans should read and take to heart . We need to be more thankful and give back in any way we can , , no matter how small we may believe it to be .


  9. Carol Pooley says:

    You are right! Do I really have to try watching Fox News? I agree we should take a united stand that first & foremost we should have as our number one priority the basic well-being of every person on this planet. And we could do it if we choose to work together in that cause for concern & love for all humanity.


Comments are closed.