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America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson

This country is experiencing turmoil as never before seen in its history. This country has been engaged in numerous wars and rumors of wars are coming fresh every day. There is a threat within and without. But aside from the external threat coming from enemies in foreign lands, there are more serious problems within the U.S. mainland. It is the corruption of children that made them do drugs, shoot each other, and dishonor their parents.

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Everyone is blaming the media, gangsters, the easy access to handguns, etc. The blame game can continue but as long as people will not assume shared responsibility for collective actions that created a very imperfect society then these problems will continue and like a bad-smelling wound it will fester. It is time that each one should be responsible and accountable for his or her actions so that this moral decline can be turned around.

The song Cookie Jar is a song written by Jack Johnson and included in the album entitled On and On. The song talks about the blame game that is going on and in American society. No one is taking responsibility and those who have done wrong are not accountable for their actions. The following arguments will show why this is creating problems and how it can be turned around so that positive change can be experienced by everyone.

  • P1: Responsibility must trickle down within humanity, understanding how to assume accountability is necessary to have harmony in this country.
  • P2: Lack of responsibility, and failure to control reactions to adversity causes division among people in society.
  • P3: It is easy to blame others when the going gets tough; when individuals face a problem it is easier to pass it to others instead of solving it.
  • P4: By being united and realizing that each one is partly to be blamed for current social problems can help end the cycle of irresponsibility.
  • P5: It is how the individuals within a society respond to adversity that will determine where this particular society is heading; it is by assuming personal responsibility and uniting together that will lead to prosperity and the eradication of some serious social problems.
  • P6: There must be a better understanding when it comes to taking responsibility for one’s actions, if the perspective on accountability can be turned around then this country can be saved from experiencing further civil decay.
  • C: Assuming responsibility for one’s actions will help solve many social problems in this country.

The United States of America is the most powerful nation on earth in terms of its military might and economic strength. Interestingly, it is also a country saddled with so many social problems. The economic turmoil, the high crime rate, the shootings in schools are just some of the major issues being dealt with in this country. Yet, most often than not, its citizens will not assume responsibility for some of the negative behavior that they are guilty of and contributed to the overall moral decline of this nation. Most of the time people would blame the government, the national leaders as well as the local leaders for not being able to solve the aforementioned problems.

The common catchphrase is that there is corruption in government, that there is corruption in the police department, and that there is corruption even in church. When confronted even the guilty person is ready with his defense and it is normally to assign blame on others. The accusing finger is pointed at somebody else and never on themselves. If this will continue then this country will not move forward and experience sustained prosperity as well as be able to help others. This country will be bogged down by a blame game where no one is guilty and everyone is a victim. This has to stop for this country to achieve harmony and move forward in the right direction.

Jack Johnson was able to illustrate – the blame game that is so prevalent in this country – through his song the Cookie Jar. In it, the songwriter tells of the chain reaction of events that started with a boy who was found guilty of shooting someone with a handgun. The boy was caught with his hand on the cookie jar so to speak and yet without shame, he said something familiar, “It wasn’t me” the boy exclaimed. Then he did something unexpected when he admitted, “Sure I pulled the trigger…” but he did not confess because he shifted blame to his troubled life. It was the pain of his existence that drove him to kill and therefore he must not be blamed for the crime.

Somebody has to pay for murder and so the spotlight was focused on the father of the boy. But the songwriter said that the father, like his son, would not accept responsibility for what his child has done. He went on to blame the media for influencing his boy. The media according to the father was the one who taught his boy about killing. Those in the media could not accept what the father has said to them. They too could not be blamed for they were simply doing their jobs.

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For them, the images projected on the TV screen are pure entertainment and they are harmless. Somebody died from a gunshot wound but no one would accept responsibility and so the songwriter demanded that society must turn it around.

It made world headlines. The infamous shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech. The shooters were not yet adults and yet they were as cold-blooded as a hardened criminal can be. The shooters killed many using handguns that they were able to purchase in the streets of America. The shooters died before anyone had the chance to ask them what made them kill. Yet the evidence that they left behind suggested that even if these kids will face a trial they will not accept responsibility for their actions. They will blame the problems of society, they will blame the bullies and they will blame those who treated them like garbage.

These shooters must realize that they are not the only people who encountered bullies. The best example is the Jewish people who had a face-to-face encounter with one of the worst bullies in human history – the Nazis. The shooters may have experienced being ridiculed in front of many but the Jews had everything taken from them when they were living in Nazi-occupied Germany during World War II. Their sons and daughters were murdered, their businesses were shut down, and they were humiliated in every possible way. Yet they did not retaliate. The whole political system was arrayed against them but they remained steadfast knowing someday they will triumph.

While the Jews could not do anything to change their situation the shooters in both Columbine and Virginia Tech can approach the school board, their parents, and their friends to ask for help. They could ask assistance from others to unburden themselves with what they are feeling inside. The whole country was not against them but they chose to retaliate. They chose to let hatred rule their hearts and minds. They chose to kill even the innocent bystanders who did not even know about the bullying. They did not try to resolve their problems instead they let their emotions control their beings.

If no one will take responsibility then it would be easy to subdivide this nation into groups with common interests and blaming the rest of society for the problems that they are experiencing in their lives. The victims will blame parents, the parents will blame the media and then the media will say hey it’s the government. There is a need to unite and unity can only be achieved if everyone will take responsibility.

There is a need to take that bold step in admitting that everyone has contributed to the moral decline of this country. This moral decline led to civil decay and therefore it is the ordinary American citizen that can turn things around. It starts with taking full responsibility for their actions. It starts with being honest and then acknowledges that there are many times when they did not do their best. It is time to turn things around by taking a long and hard look at what has been done in the past then determine that blaming others will move this country forward. It is time to show what Americans are made of.

During the Second World War, this country responded to the threat of being overrun by an evil empire. Instead of blaming the government for failing in the Pearl Harbor debacle, the whole country supported President Roosevelt in his desire to overthrow Hitler and his thugs. The news bureau could have created an extended show where they would criticize the government for its ineptitude but instead, the people were united in one cause and it is to free Europe and Asia from the clutches of evil.

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The families that were left behind by the fighting men experienced difficulties. The country experienced problems due to the war effort. The wives and girlfriends of the young men who were shipped out to fight in the Pacific Islands and Europe could have protested the separation but instead, they wanted to help by working in factories that produced ammunitions and other things needed in the fight for freedom. This kind of behavior revealed what they are truly made of and offered a glimpse into the future.

Due to their united stand against a common enemy and by dropping the blame game, they were able to face the music. Their heroic attempt to solve a major problem helped to move a nation forward. In the years after World War II America experienced unprecedented economic growth and became a well-respected country overseas. It was a great time to be an American. Sadly, these incredible achievements were not sustained. Selfishness crept back in and after enjoying tremendous economic gains the people began to look after themselves and began to entrench themselves in their little world.

In Jack Johnson’s song, selfishness was the root of the problem. It was not me said the boy. Do not look at me said the father. It was just business and nothing personal said the media. No one is taking responsibility for their actions. But the words of the songwriter rang true “It was you it was me it was every man.” It is not just the government that failed. It is not just the school system that dropped the ball. It was every man. It is time to take responsibility. It is time to move forward.

In the preceding discussion, an argument was made with regards to the negative impact of not taking responsibility. The root cause is selfishness. If no one will take responsibility then there would be disunity. The wounds caused by the conflict will not heal it will fester. It will also reveal the weakness of American society. This country will continue its decline and sooner or later the people will wake up to an America lacking strength and zeal to help others. This is the result of merely looking after selfish interests. This cycle can be broken if everyone will take responsibility. It must trickle down so that this country can be turned around.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 12). America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson.

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"America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson." StudyCorgi, 12 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson." November 12, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson." November 12, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson." November 12, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'America’s Social Problems Through the Song “Cookie Jar” by J. Johnson'. 12 November.

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