We look away from our national madness and say ‘call a hotline’

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Depression and suicide are at epidemic proportions in the U.S. | stock.adobe.com

I was going to write something about suicide and realized that by the time this column is printed, we all would have moved on to something else.

Maybe opioids. Not only are we deliberately killing ourselves in record numbers, we are unintentionally (maybe subconsciously) killing ourselves by taking record numbers of pain killers.

But before the next wave of opioid deaths sweeps the country, we may have a mass shooting in a school building, or simply a number of random murders on the streets of Chicago.


None of this is apparently connected to the number of children being sexually abused in Chicago schools, or by priests, football coaches, or physicians employed by Olympic organizations and respected universities.

In several previous columns, I have suggested there is a sort of national madness taking place in the United States and in response readers have said, “You’re crazy.”

This is the greatest country on earth, they say. We have more cell phones, more computers, more cars, more houses, and the greatest military on the planet.

One of the greatest movie actors in history stood on a stage last weekend during a televised awards show and shouted, screw the president. He received a standing ovation.

I was reminded of the movie “Network,” a satire about a nation that has gone so bonkers that TV executives cut a deal with terrorists to host a live show. Its news anchor urges people to open their windows and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Life imitated art when the nation, in a Thelma and Louise moment, jumped into a car with Donald Trump in 2016 and headed full speed toward the edge of a cliff, confident that whatever lay ahead was better than what they were leaving behind. That’s how awful life was, my friends.

I listened this weekend as all sorts of people talked about the need to do something to stop the epidemic of suicides in this country. Better mental health care is needed. We have to listen to our troubled friends and family members. We need to help our fellow Americans.

What a bunch of malarkey. We don’t believe in any of that stuff. Here’s what we actually do: We cut funding for mental health clinics, close mental hospitals and make it difficult for the families of those who are sick to get any help.

We force the mentally ill onto the streets, where they have to beg for food and money.

But we don’t like seeing them living under bridges, or panhandling, or sleeping on buses and trains or in tent cities. So, we roust them, arrest them and put them in jails and prisons.

When they die nobody notices, so there’s no whining about how terrible it is that they committed suicide. You have to be wealthy and famous to qualify for that sort of public sympathy.

“Call a hotline.” That’s what we tell people, isn’t it? If you have a problem, any sort of problem, call an 800 number because we don’t want to hear you complaining.

We have money, freedom, sports and can purchase flamethrowers for personal use, yet my countrymen are still unhappy, suicidal and homicidal. That’s depressing.

There isn’t enough religion, there’s too much religion, there’s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It’s all so awful.

Our grocery stores are full of food, but Americans fret that chickens don’t have enough freedom as North Koreans live on a bowl of rice a day.

One day everyone in this nation will be walking the streets with tin foil wrapped around their heads, convinced that electromagnetic radioactive waves are responsible for our bizarre behavior. The enemy is within, but we refuse to see it.

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