photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Land of the Free, Home of the Belligerent

(Stupid Playlist no longer supports the playlist widgit. Till I figure out some other way to do this I'll link the blog-song here...if you wanna listen while you read)

I love America.

I'm an American, and I love America.

So it's discouraging to me when I question the status quo and point out ways that the same issues are being handled in other countries to hear the knee-jerk, spat-out response of, "If you think it's so great in France/the Netherlands/Australia/Canada/Cuba/etc./etc./etc. why don't you MOVE there???"

I don't want to move. I want THIS country to work the way it was intended to.

"We don't need no labor unions- buncha murderous, sleazy thugs. I work in a non-union shop for low wages, no benefits and long hours in dangerous conditions but DAMN IT- I don't pay no union dues. This is America- I should be FREE from the tyranny of unions".

"We don't WANT Socialized Government-run health care- tell us what doctors to see, who gets treated, that's bullshit. This is America- I'm FREE to be denied care from any little pencil pusher at the 800 number of the private insurance company I pay high premiums to every month. And when I retire, that Big Government Nanny State better keep it's paws offa MY Medicare".

"Oversight of banking and corporations? HELL, NO! This is Capitalist America, damn it- anyone who can hire lawyers and accountants has earned the right to cheat the rest of us- God blesses those who help themselves. If my family is hurt by those practices, well, we'd best get off our asses and work 80 hours a week instead of 60...if we can find an extra full-time job. But No-sir-ee, I ain't taking no government aid handouts like unemployment or food stamps so my family can eat and stay in our home- I'm FREE to determine my OWN fate."

"College? Sure it's expensive- and as useful as tits on a bull. Buncha sissified elitists think they know more than the rest of us- if they want to spend $50,000 on a degree in Underwater Basketweaving, I sure as hell ain't paying for it."

All the above seems absolutely cartoonish and stereotypical and yet...those exact stories are told and held up over and over again in answer to anything "Occupy" or "99%". The pride exuding from people who are (really) honest and hard-working yet somehow can't see that what they are doing- how many hours they HAVE to work just to survive is heartbreaking and way out of proportion to our counterparts in other nations, both in benefits and paid time off- and that to continue on the way we are is to doom our children to the same never-get-ahead debt slave existence most of us are now in. Don't we want BETTER for our kids?

How little schooling we in this country can afford for ALL learning- not just vocational, but exercising the (also very big) parts of our brains that revel in literature, and art, and music- those parts that differentiate us as humans from our animal friends who only worry about food and shelter and reproduction. Those parts are left to wither and die in most of today's lives- bodies that must spend so much time on the "animal basics" and brains that are being tricked into thinking that somehow "Survivor" and "Jersey Shore" is quality stimulating entertainment, when in other places it's a given that school is outstanding, diverse, and FREE up to and including a 4 year college. If you want to go farther, most times THAT is paid for as well (which answers the question of, "Medical school is so expensive- how can other countries afford to pay for medical care for all?")

Everyone likes to hold up The Founding Fathers as examples and that's great. The Founding Fathers were really pissed off at the old regimes in Europe- debtors' prisons, feudal societies, a decent way of life for only those who could afford it, at the expense of those who could not. Really. Pissed. Off.

So pissed off they up and started their own country- one that would be free.

Free of The Church imposing its morals and doctrine on all citizens no matter their own Faiths, free of the unfairness of Might Makes Right and Money Buys All.

See? They took all the things they wanted CHANGED about the old systems, and did it- changed it up to work better.

Because that's what you do if something changes and isn't working anymore. You change it so it DOES work again.

If my old eyes aren't working and even Dollar Store cheaters won't let me read, I (eventually) suck up my pride and go get bi-focals, I don't curse the tiny words on the page and the way every, single damn street sign has smudged letters.

If somehow the banks and corporations buy enough politicians to enact laws that favor them over everyone else, we're supposed to get pissed and change it back, not hold them up as role models and aspire to the same level of societal immorality.

What the hell happened?

Why are we content to stagnate and actually DEvolve into a pre-America America where the Fundamental Religious Right and the Corporations look very much like the Church and State of Medieval European times?

Are we just too tired? Too discouraged? Too trained to listen to bosses and politicians and preachers and anyone who says stubbornly and defiantly,

"We do NOT look elsewhere for direction and inspiration- This is America- we are the Best of the Best and fuck the rest".

Or is it because, as John Steinbeck said- “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

One in three bankruptcies in America is due to medical debt. The average American has NOTHING to retire age 70. Our life expectancies are low and our infant mortality is high. We rank behind only Romania in percentage of children living in poverty. Our schoolchildren come out of school woefully behind most other nations.

How is it that even with the wonders of the interwebs people don't KNOW this? Or if they DO hear it, they assume it's propaganda and untrue and since most Americans never travel out of state, much less out of the country, they remain belligerently ignorant.

We've been so indoctrinated to fear ANYTHING with the word "Socialism" in it- "Well, fine- all those Europeans live longer, are happier, healthier, better educated and all that mess, but they ain't FREE and any minute now- maybe on one of their extended paid-time-off vacations- they'll realize just how sorry their existence under the thumb of Socialism really is! Ha. Poor bastards."

...yet these same people still believe in "trickle down" here in America...

I don't want to move. I want THIS country to work the way it was intended to.

Because honestly? Right now our Founding Fathers would be horrified and embarrassed- not by how close we are to being sucked into Commie Pinko Socialism Nanny Statedness, but by how we've allowed, and even encouraged the same entities they despised to overrun us and somehow train us to thank them for the indignity.

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