Saturday, September 17, 2011
My Country, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong...?
It used to be that I could tell the international people I worked with that while the politicians and government of the US government were the spawns of Satan, the people--your Average Janes and Joes--were really very decent and nice. And at the very least, they'd have the manners to quietly escort you to the door and send you on your way without an ass-whomping. Not that there weren't any jerks, but they were mostly relegated to late-night Fox News where nobody cared how many times they used the N-word.
Karel likes to say that the facade of humanity lasts only three square meals. I prefer to give humanity a little more credit than that (I say 5), but lately the news hasn't been inspiring. I can chalk up a lot of what people like Rick Perry have been saying about the state of the US government to pandering to a rich and elitist mob that's sick of being "raked over the coals" with taxes (ah ha ha). The short version is that the Tea Baggers (right-of-Republican whackos who have no idea just what the government actually does for them and therefore think nothing of dismantling the entire institution altogether) want to dismantle the entire US social safety net--what the US has of one--and let people pull themselves up by the bootstraps, or die in the gutters. And yes, this includes women, who would be completely screwed over if institutions like Planned Parenthood were to get the ax, and children.
History comes and goes in circles: a look back at the history of the US and the industrialized west shows that, in the days before unions and social welfare, there was poverty of the level we'd associate with Third World countries, child labor, and horrific working conditions for the masses while the elitist few reaped the rewards. The only middle class were the farmers, and that's pretty much a lost cause in this day since only 2% of the American workforce work in agriculture. The issues were rampant--justice by lynch mob in the South, typhoid and cholera in the large industrial cities, and food companies selling chemical impersonations of edible food.
That is, apparently, the state to which the happy mobs want the US to return to, because every time someone like Ron Paul gets up and spouts his rant against "Obamacare", everybody applauds. I bonk my head to the desk: What are the other options, then? Either everybody must buy health insurance or suffer a fine, or the responsible ones that do buy health insurance pay to subsidize care for the ones that don't. Or else you let the sucker die in the street. When the last option was mentioned, the crowd applauded.
If I were the president, I'd be sorely tempted to just cut off all government aid and access to people who participate in Tea Party rallies: can't drive on the Interstate, no more screening in airports, no help for you if your box of frozen pizza makes you sick, no treatment for you anywhere if you don't have health insurance, no unemployment checks, no disability checks, etc. You know, the whole "never knowing what you've got 'til it's gone". Then again, there's a reason why Obama is president and not me. I just hope that people recover their sense of compassion in 2012--I really do want to miss home, but that's getting harder and harder to do.
EDIT: Believe it or not, it gets worse. The crowd booed a gay soldier during another inane debate (and if you want a real puzzle to keep your logic center busy, riddle me this: if Rick Santorum says sexual orientation doesn't matter, then why is he so worked up--into a frothy mix--over the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell?). I sometimes feel like I'm in a dysfunctional relationship: I want to love my country, but she just makes it so damn hard.