The number of people I've seen talking on the phone, or texting, while driving - and making all sorts of driving mistakes - has actually kind of shocked me the time I've spent back here in the Chicago area the past few months. (We highly suspect a student who rear-ended my sister, and caused her some quite serious neck damage that she has to watch quite carefully the rest of her life, was texting.)
Illinois already bans texting while driving, and the legislature is trying to ban talking on cell phones (without hands-free) while driving.
I'm not very hopeful that any of this will change much. People are increasingly lousy drivers - which I think goes hand in hand with people becoming increasingly lousy human beings. America's litigiousness is a reflection of a larger entitlement problem in this country - everyone thinks they're oppressed, and acts accordingly. And not oppressed in the civil rights way, but in the Republican way. For Republicans, oppression is "not getting your way 100% of the time, to hell with how your desires impinge on the rights of others." It's selfish. And it's destructive.
It also doesn't help that popular culture glorifies some of the worst dregs of society, that glorifies destruction - be it couples acting violently to each other on TV, or thugs being violent to their women, towards gays, and more. The trash who go on Judge Judy or Jerry Springer come to mind. Though Fox News and Limbaugh and the GOP play their part as well in teaching Americans to hate pro-actively.
Starting around 2004, in the middle of the Bush years, I started to become increasingly concerned about the future of our country. My concerns haven't lessened nearly enough with the Obama years. There's a trashiness (and a meanness) to our culture, our politics, our driving, our health care system, and, more generally, the way we treat, and mistreat, each other.
Perhaps it was there before and I never noticed it as much as now.
More from the AP on the kid who was sentenced.
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