Keep America Beautiful

image credit – Google

“Keep America Beautiful.” That was the tag line on the back of snack foods when I was growing up. It meant do your part. Throw your trash out. Remember the commercial with a Native American man crying? Here it is:

Then came the public service announcement to recycle. On the radio, a few teenage girls swooning over a guy walking toward them—but when he throws away his aluminum can instead of recycling it, he gets a thumbs down, “Eeewww!” they wince in unison. Long before Obama said, “Yes. We Can”  we had our bumper sticker on our mailbox. I’m sure one of us kids put it there. I doubt it was a place Mom would’ve chosen. Yes. We Can. Referred to recycling aluminum cans.

We live in such an abundant country—even now, when people are unemployed. Even when taxes go up. I think we’ve come to a point where we’ve confused gluttony with abundance. We want, want, want. But just as in current politics, there’s no compromise. We expect community services—and low taxes. We expect good schools and healthcare—but don’t fund them, and don’t make a plan for how funding will happen. If we do fund something, we often lack the follow-up to ensure the money’s spent wisely.

We say, “What a shame to see litter” but we allow our buddy to leave their popcorn bag in the movie theater instead of saying to them, “Take your own garbage to the trash can.” A few weeks ago I saw a woman in a store leaving her sample food cup and spoon in an aisle. I called her on it, pointing out the trashcan. At first she laughed, then got mad at me. She saw her act of leaving her trash as giving someone else a job!

However you do it, Keep America Beautiful! It doesn’t have to cost a thing. It can begin with a smile, or behaving well in a parking lot, whether you’re the pedestrian or driver. Whatever you decide to do, be committed. It may lead to picking up a stray piece of paper near your mailbox, or going on neighborhood walks wearing a glove and carrying a bag to pick up some litter.

Let’s bring back some neighborhood pride, America. Stand beside her, and guide her. She’s worth it!