American moral values and the lack thereof

A May 2013 Gallup poll “Outlook for Moral Values in the U.S.” resulted in seven in ten Americans having a negative view of moral values.


Posted December 27, 2013

By Lori Kesinger

A May 2013 Gallup poll “Outlook for Moral Values in the U.S.” resulted in seven in ten Americans having a negative view of moral values. The top five problems Americans cited were lack of consideration for others, lack of family structure, lack of religion, lack of morals, and sense of entitlement. It seems John F. Kennedy’s statement, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” has been reversed. Egocentrism is defining America.

Yet, every now and then some individuals shock society and break the mold. Recently, a homeless man in Atlanta, Georgia turned in a hotel guest’s stolen wallet he found in a nearby trash can as he searched for food. The wallet contained credit cards and identification of a hotel guest whose purse was stolen as she walked to her car. The Omni Hotel rewarded Joel Hartman with a week-long stay and a cash reward. The hotel managing director, Scott Stuckey, said, “He did the right thing, and now I want to do the right thing for him.” Hartman was over-the-moon grateful.

In another recent incident, a Sheridan, Wyoming man found a bank envelope full of money on a street. Sam Watson posted his find on a community Facebook page, “Found: Cash in First Interstate Bank envelope. Pretty specifically folded. If you can identify, I will private message you and get it back to you.” It was not specified how much money was in the envelope, but the person who lost the money responded within hours of the posting. Watson said, “A lot of what I do in life is to make me sleep better.” He never thought about keeping the money.

A Billings, Montana couple wrote a letter to the editor to thank a thoughtful young lady who offered her and a friend’s seats to them at a packed school concert in November. Linda and Dale Fasching stated, “Her parents and the school she attends are to be commended for instilling a spirit of generosity and consideration in this kind girl.”

It is disheartening to have to view these incidents as rarities when once they were the norm. Herman Melville said, “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” We need to realize our attitudes and actions affect other people, and doing good is worth it whether or not there is reward or recognition. We can be a part of a positive transformation on the negative outlook on American moral values.

Trasi Harris of Buffalo, Wyoming commented on the lost money post, “Pay it forward people!” and that’s a good idea.