Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are some things that make Americans sad? Here are the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
1. Dan Holliday
- Burned chocolate chip cookies. If Satan arrives at your home, it’s not the smell of burned human flesh you’ll detect, but the horror at the destruction of these lovely circles of bliss.
- No good sci fi on TV. I mean it, it’s shameful. There’s nothing good on. And since the shit-hole “SyFy” stopped being anything even remotely close to Sci Fi, we’ve got nothing.
NASA receiving paltry funds. This is the tip of anything/everything my country does that’s good, that has a net-benefit for the entirety of the planet. Less than $20 billion annually when it should be five times that.
- Government dysfunction. And yes, I accept that a certain portion of it is just part & parcel with doing business in a republic. But the system is horribly broken. It may heal itself. It may not. But it’s broken, for sure.
- American stupidity. I can handle the political and ideological differences. But the fact that a massive percentage of Americans cannot be bothered with appreciating and learning science (that it’s been labeled “evil” by a significant percentage) is embarrassing, saddening. Just awful
What makes Americans collectively sad?
I’d say the many of the same things that make any people sad: children suffering, people dying too young.
Based on my Facebook feed, overall, Americans get sad about animals, especially pets suffering. I don’t think people are indifferent to human suffering but our four footed friends bring out a different part of it.
We are a diverse people, that is for sure.
As for this particular American?
I know I get sad when I see young people losing their way: for lack of guidance, undiagnosed or unmanaged mental health or learning issues, chaotic home lives. I get sad when I see people who are marginalized.
I get sad when our elected officials engage in icky behavior. We aren’t supposed to be surprised anymore, but we still want people to believe in.
I get sad when I see elderly gay couples stand patiently in a metaphorical line , waiting for their country to do the right thing. I’m sad for them, and I’m sad for the people who think its a good use of energy to stop that old couple from being treated equally , and being able to inherit each others wealth, etc. I really question what is in their hearts and minds to actively take action to prevent marriage equality. The people who don’t ” agree with it” I get, I can live with. Just stay out of it. But really.. It’s sad when your day is spent stepping on the neck of someone else.
Lastly, I’m sad about veterans, young and old. I’m sad that there are even veterans to begin with, because these last ones weren’t clear cut necessary wars. I’m sad that there are men and women returning to a country whose government can’t stop playing petty games about funding. I’m sad that a lot of veterans are being manipulated by some people: being told some are for you, some are against you. I’m sad that there are thousands of veterans with mild to mod head injuries. These aren’t always visible disabilities but they affect everything in life: work, relationships, education, the spirit. I’m sad that these are the jobs the government created. I’m sad that so much taxpayer money is lining the defense contractor industry.
As an American I am sad about:
- Food waste. It’s abhorrent that we as a nation throw out enough food each year to feed all of our citizens and yet criticize those citizens who are hungry because ‘they aren’t trying’.
- Water waste. I live in a desert that is known for its incredible golf courses. Which are always green. Even as we are starting to worry and argue about the water from the Colorado River and which state should get how much.
- Our education system. We’ve become so involved in teaching to a test that should make us better that we’ve forgotten about teaching children about the joys of life and learning.
- That our politicians care more about denying wins to the other side than actually governing the country.
- That I don’t have a cupcake on my desk right now.
- That in many places in the country, you can get away with rape by being a football star.
- That I have to subscribe to Hulu+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime to be able to stream any movie or TV show at any time. And even then there are some that slip through the cracks.
- That so many things that are basic human rights are still up for debate.
- I’m sad over being sad at my first world problems. (i.e. meta-sadness)
5. Jae Yang
Things that make me cry – things that make me actually sad:
- When my relatives or a family member dies
- Watching someone I care about go through an inhumane ordeal
- When I go through an ordeal that makes me feel helpless
Things that make me sad, in empathetic sense:
- People dying needlessly
- Children suffering from cancer
- Animal cruelty
- Poverty and children living in poverty
Things that make me upset, but feeling helpless, or colloquially sad:
- Looking at W2 form and realizing how much money I paid in taxes
- Traffic jam
- Self-righteous people acting self-righteously – online and IRL
- When someone steals my bicycle
- Elitism and superiority complex that just oozes from every sardonic remarks made by supposedly educated and smart people – online and IRL
- Neighborhood dog pooping on my yard and its owner not cleaning it up
6. Marcus Ford
The country goes into mass sadness mode whenever a crazy guy shoots a bunch of random people in an enclosed space. It it happens about once a year. It’s an annual ritual.
I am sad that Americans don’t read labels, especially during the economic holiday in December. Made in China. They must love our traditions.
Apparently, the realization that government spying and espionage exists makes Americans sad. I thought we knew this from history (and action movies) but people are torn up about it.
Americans are also sad when:
- Their NFL team loses the world championship at the Superbowl (which only Americans play in so… huh?)
- Any other sports team that they’ve sworn allegiance to loses.
- Their favorite “it” couple breaks up.
- They see animal cruelty PSAs and YouTube videos. They’re sad but the vast majority of people aren’t sad enough to act or stop eating meat. (No judgement.)
- They find out that their favorite hot male celebrity is gay (though people are starting to care less — Thank God).
- A great TV show ends or is cancelled.
Most of these things aren’t specific to people in the US. People aren’t as different from one another as some would like to believe.
9. Mike Barnard
When they realize — again — that Canada is much bigger than the US AND gets to be on top.
But then they forget again and it’s okay.
10. Kevin J Russell
I’m in my 40s and this is what’s making me sad about America.
A constant and continual loss of our freedoms. The United States of America was set apart from the great majority of the world by its freedom, or what used to be our freedom. We’ve had a non-stop assault on our freedoms over the last 30 or 40 years… like ObamaCare. When I was young, one could lawfully ride a motorcycle without a helmet.. Like you can in Florida to this day. In fact my father’s brother died in an accident on a motorcycle but it didn’t stop the rest of my family from riding on motorcycles. When I was young you were not pulled over and fined by the police for not strapping yourself into a seat belt, or by failing to provide proof of insurance, in order to ride down the street and get groceries.. There are things in life that are dangerous but it doesn’t necessitate a country legislating all the fun out of life. Some laws seem to make good sense but there are thousands of more examples that do not. we are more like a police state now then at any time in history. I would like to know why insurance rates did not go down after everybody was forced to buy… it completely violates the principles of supply and demand economics.
Another recent example is a man losing his very lucrative sports career over spanking his child behind for misbehaving. Or the examples of the city of Philadelphia stealing people’s property without due process of law over small petty crimes. America has become nothing but an over-legislated game of thieves… which brings me to another point that makes me sad.
America’s entire legislative body that makes all of the laws is bought by big corporations and bribes (lobbyists) There is truly no democracy left – it is all about money now. this is confirmed by the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations are the same as individual people.
Our government is also involved in the systemic oppression of certain American citizens and groups… ie conservative groups who wish to claim nonprofit status for their fundraising activities. Even the IRS, the most powerful branch of government when it comes to your money, your credit and your ability to truly be a free American, is fully engulfed in corruption and has covered up the entire affair and nobody has been held accountable for it.
shall we go on to Wall Street and how that fiasco has affected the entire US real estate industry and stolen millions and millions of dollars from hardworking families? this is much less about borrowing too much money on your home and more about the banking system inflating values by providing cheap money to the masses… then hedging bets against it and collapsing everything. What is even more disturbing than this is some of the parties responsible are now running major departments of our treasury and other government offices. Wtf?
I am just getting warmed up and that means I really need to stop now!
11. Danny Marrone
Pretty much, 99% of Americans are saddened by things that don’t matter (Cell phone bill is too high, movies are too violent, Amazon deliveries taking a day later to arrive than estimated, etc.) and 1% of Americans care about things that do matter (Improving education, fighting government corruption, fighting economic inequality, etc.).