photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, January 12, 2015

Too Big For Our Britches

We all heard it growing up- "Everyone wants to be an American!" "Everyone wants to move to America!" "America is the greatest country in the world!!!" We heard it, we absorbed it, breathed it, lived it, that belief oozed out of our very special little snowflake American pores.

I believed it till I grew up and started talking to people from some of those other countries, who were sort of surprised because, well, they LIKE where they are and wouldn't WANT to leave.

They don't want to be American.

"Outrageous! They're just jealous!"

Are they? What the hell of?

"They can't have GUNS there!"

Ummm...they don't WANT guns there. They are horrified at how often we kill each other by accident and by virtue of passionate moment. Horrified.

"They have high taxes there!"

Yep. They sure do. They also enjoy high wages, universal health care, free education THROUGH COLLEGE, short work weeks, long vacations, all sorts of goodies we don't have because we're too selfish/shortsighted/bullheaded/gullible to do otherwise. Because we're told that to be otherwise would be to give up our freedom.

So we're free.

Free to be underpaid.

Free to be sick.

Free to be uneducated.

Free to be over-worked.

Free to die at our desks because we can't afford to retire.

That's some Freedom there, boy howdy. FreeeeeDumb.

My favorite, of course, is "Well, sure those places can afford all that nice stuff for their people- WE take care of their security! WE protect the entire world!" WE saved all their sorry asses in WWII!"

Somewhere along the line we went from 'benevolent uncle' to 'empire-builder' without missing a beat; seamlessly, insidiously, relentlessly. We bring Freedom to the rest of the world...whether they want it or not. With sanctions and bombs and occupations and drones, we pound 'em with Freedom till they bleed and die, deliver enough Freedom to obliterate their buildings, their people, their societies.

"You sure do hate America! Why don't you just go live over yonder in one o them Scandinavian places if you love it so much?"

I don't hate America. I love America and it happens to be my home, my birthplace. I'm an American and know that the idea of America is still alive, still viable, and very much a good thing. We need to get back to that.

We need to stop being so damn afraid of ourselves that we startle, aim and shoot into the mirror, turn the gun when we hear a twig behind us and shoot ourselves. We're killing ourselves because we ARE each other.

We need to stop being so damn selfish and afraid that someone somewhere will 'get something they don't deserve' and just take care of each other. "judge not..." and "love each other" are direct orders from your Christ, remember?

We need to stop thinking that we are the best at everything and have the only ideas that make any sense and especially we need to stop looking down our noses at the rest of the planet like they're simpletons.

Because they're not. And we need to look at what's working in other places and not have a knee-jerk SOCIALISM COMMUNISM HITLER! reaction because that's just stupid.

We need to stop being stupid. But I don't know if we can.

PS- One of my friends lost her husband recently. Cancer. That's just the last of several in my little universe and every time it happens I think, "That could've been me. It so easily and quickly and nearly was me." It's going on five years since we almost lost Ward and I remember it so vividly- staring at my sleeping ten year old son and thinking, "What will I tell him? How can I do this alone?" I didn't have to...I DON'T have to. Ward's still here. Not 'by god's grace' but by his own amazing stamina and the skill of the medical staff Ward's still here. It's the little miracle I wake up to every morning and go to sleep to every night.And no matter what else happens every's enough.

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