Let me preface my remarks by stating that I love America, and I love the American people. . . most of the time. The sad reality is that Americans can sometimes be complete and utter idiots (as I suppose any nation's people may be). I do not wish to be pessimistic, but I honestly do not believe that one should confuse observation with pessimism. The following is simply an observation of a segment of the American psyche. It by no means reflects people as a whole (I know, generalizations are bad), nor does it reflect a sustained attitude or action of a people. People can change and they do. Needless to say, here are some of my most dissappointing observations:
1. I am amazed that there is a large portion of American society that feels that government has an obligation to them beyond providing the basic necessities of a civilization. While it is true that government should have to answer to the people, some of the people are oblivious to the fact that government is the people. I am surprised and shocked by so many Americans who feel that it is the government's obligation to provide for them. There are so many people that feel that government should pay for education, should pay for abortions, or for out-of -wedlock children, or. . . the list goes on and on. There are so many people that abuse the system by taking government grants for selfish and personal reasons, that abuse welfare, and take advantage of "the system" in so many different facets. And what do Americans say to this fleecing of American money? "It isn't hurting anybody--I'm just taking money from the government." Hello people! Who do you think the government is and from where do you think the government gets its money? The people are the government and it is the taxation of you and me that pays for all of this frivolous spending. And yet Americans don't see it that way. The government is simply a rich entity that owes us. Sad and idiotic.
2. It is almost laughable at how many Americans honestly believe that terrorists are upset with America because of our hard-line stance against terrorism since 9/11. The reality is that terrorism and anti-American sentiment has been running high in the Middle East for decades. While our public policy may have somewhat to do with the disdain of Islamic extremists, it is more so our culture as portrayed through the media. What does the Islamic world see in America? Most have never been to America so what they see is what the media presents to them. And what do we present in American media? Hmmm, lets see. . . reality television which portrays Americans as ignorant, selfish, immoral beings who are constantly fighting with one another. American news which portrays our last President as an imbecile and tyrant and covers extensively stories of murder, rape, theft, lawlessness, extremist protesters, and etc. Television and movie drama, comedy and action which portrays Americans as disrespectful, horny, ultra-sexualized, unfaithful, perverse, corrupt, war-mongering people that are secularized to the point of seemingly having no moral value. Is this the real America in which I live? Well, some aspects of it, yes, but overwhelmingly no. But this is how we portray ourselves in the media and sometimes through our actual actions. No wonder people in the Muslim world fear democracy. Think about it. In their eyes, democracy leads to corruption, sexual perversion, immorality, lack of faith, and the list continues on and on. . . all things that are opposed to Islamic teaching. In essence, we are telling the Muslim world, "Hey, be like us great Americans where we disrespect our women, seemingly have no value on family, no concept of honor, and are a bunch of self-satisfying amoral individuals who believe that whatever makes us feel good is right. Isn't that what the Muslim world wants?" It is ridiculous! And what is even more funny (in a dark-humor sort of way) is all of these Hollywood actors who pontificate on how President Bush has destroyed America's image in the Middle East. Really Hollywood actors and screen writers. . . really? I dare say that this is the definition of verbal irony. I honestly believe that Hollywood has done more damage both to the real and perceived America than any other institution or individual. But Americans don't see it.
3. It is interesting to me how Americans tend to project their own characteristics upon the general populace. The stereotype in America is that Conservatives are greedy people who are only concerned with their own economic empowerment and that Liberals and great philanthropists that have a selfless concern for others. The reality is quite different. Recent studies have shown that conservatives contribute 30% more of their income to charity as compared to Liberals. While conservatives feel that it is not governments responsibility to provide for the welfare of others, they take upon themselves the personal responsibility of taking care of others. Liberals on the other hand feel that it is the responsibility of government to take care of others. They believe in raising taxes because they think that most people are like themselves--greedy and unwilling to part with their substance to benefit another. of course, this is a gross generalization. There are plenty of Liberals who do give of their personal means for charitable causes and there are plenty of Conservatives who are money-grubbing individuals. I just think that it is interesting how the actual figures turn the tables on what Americans generally think.
4. The current economic meltdown stemming from the housing market is a great example of the sometime idiocy of the American people. We have idiots in all segments of American society. We have the idiot businessmen who have been conducting shady business (as if they thought it would never catch up to them). We have the idiot bankers who have made loans to people knowing full well that they couldn't afford the loans. We have government encouraging the banks to make such bad loans. And we have the idiot citizen who thought it wise to get into debt far beyond their means, taking out loans they knew they could not afford to pay. What is even more surprising--the concept that some people feel that it is now government's responsibility to bail out the businessmen, the banks, and the homeowners who made these bad deals. And who pays for it? The rest of America. . . people like you and me who have been playing by the rules, having sucked up the responsibility of the day to day struggle, living in apartments or a meagre home which we can actually afford in the hopes to one day save enough money to buy a house. So America wants to save the home of the idiot and screw over the people who are trying to make an honest and intelligent living (I say let the houses default--it makes housing more affordable for all of us who are paying the taxes and struggling to save for such a home).
5. Americans tend to pride themselves on being open-minded and respectful. Concerning politics, we often call upon the need for civility and bipartisanship. Yet, when it comes to action we more often than not prove that talk is cheap. What we often mean is that we are open-minded with like-minded people, respectful of those who share our ideologies, and believe in civility and bipartisanship when it is the other political party that is bending to our positions. It is sad, really. If we look at the example of politics, we witness this hypocrisy quite readily: The very individuals who demonized President Bush and spoke out against the President himself (not the individual policies but the President himself, mind you) are now calling on all of America to support President Obama, regardless of one's difference concerning policy; and those who supported President Bush and called people out for their lack of patriotism for reviling the President are now in turn reviling President Obama. Obviously it is the hard-core political left and right of whom I speak. It is rather pathetic and says much about the virtues of moderates.
6. Americans do not like to be told what or how to think or do things. We embrace the concept of our individuality and tend to pride ourselves on making our own way in the world. We often ridicule people of other nations who are duped through the use of propaganda which is fed to the people by their governments. Americans would not be so foolish as to buy into propaganda peddled by its government. . . O, no, Americans would much rather be duped by the propaganda peddled by the media, movie-stars, and the educational elites who blind themselves by their own ideologies. This is evidenced by the ailing support of the American people for the war on terror and particularly for the war in Iraq. Immediately following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, the American people were outraged and called for action. It was not long before an offensive was launched in Afghanistan and shortly thereafter Iraq. While the support for the war was overwhelming by the American people, certain politicians began a ploy to counter the President by making statements that America was acting unilaterally. The media, Hollywood, and the educational elite picked up on this concept and started trumpeting it both to the American people and the world at large. Through these means an image was created of America, and particularly President Bush, being a renagade cowboy, doing things on our own. The propaganda that was spread was that if the United Nations did not sanction war, then the United States must be acting alone. Nevermind that Nations such as Norway dropped bombs for the first time since World War II, targeting sites in Afghanistan. Nevermind that Nations such as Latvia, Albania, Serbia, and Singapore joined the coalition (I guess America thinks that if a nation doesn't have a comparable population that they don't count as a nation). Nevermind that nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia joined the coalition (I suppose that America doesn't think they count because they are Muslim nations). Nevermind that soldiers from such nations as Australia, Poland, and The United Kingdom were sent home from Iraq in body bags (I suppose that casualties only count if they are American). The reality is that we did not go alone and that President Bush established a coalition consisting of diverse nations, but because of propaganda, the American people were duped into thinking that America is going it alone and that President Bush is some sort of tyranical dictator that is trying to overthrow the world. The following is a list of countries that were actually a part of the coalition:
COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN THE COALITION IN AFGHANISTAN:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Republic of Macedonia
United Arab Emirates
COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN THE COALITION IN IRAQ:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
*p.s. There is so much more that I had ought to write, but I figure that there are only a select few who will actually read this far, so what is the point of continuing to write when most everyone has already tuned out.