With one day to go before Ben and I decide whether or not we are moving back to England, what better way to say ‘cheerio’ than turning over the keyboard to a Brit – and an atheist with a Jew-fro at that (yes, that would be Ben). Which leads me to one final thought before the big day: Several of my readers, very sweetly, have expressed concern that my candor could cost me a position in politics in the future. And if that isn’t a reason to keep writing the truth as I see it – as well as seeking to make a change politically or otherwise – I don’t know what is. The PLP is signing off until Nov. 13 – when I may well post from the UK. Stay tuned!
Four More Years, or Real Change?
As the sun sets tomorrow night on the American empire, also known as Guam, the campaigning will finally be over. We will either have a 45th President of the United States and the Mormon Church will be helping themselves to an extra $40,000 a year, or the 44th President will get another four years to finally hand over his college records to Donald “nuttier than a squirrel’s shit” Trump and collect $5 million for a charity of his choice. If Obama wins, then things will carry on pretty much as usual. The epitome of never letting the truth get in the way of a good story that is Fox News will bemoan the fact that America will continue its downward spiral into a godless, penniless country that is unable to defend itself, let alone push the upstanding moral virtues that came over on the Mayflower on the rest of the world. If Romney wins, Fox News will start the campaign for a new national holiday while the rest of the world points and laughs. Whether it is “Four More Years” or “Real Change,” nothing of any consequence will be different.
The election is being fought on one topic alone: the economy. This is understandable as we are in one of the most difficult economic periods in history. For some reason, Fox News blames Obama for this, which is like replacing the captain of the Titanic after it had hit the iceberg and blaming him for sinking the ship. I am not saying that another President could not have done a better job, but there is also no guarantee that they would not have done worse either. However, the economy is not what I want to talk about. If there is someone who is not yet bored of talking about or listening to people talk about the economy, then they must have literally come out of a five year coma within the last few minutes or they are the sort of person who actually thinks their Facebook “friends” are interested in what airport they have just flown through.
What I want to talk about is the way Americans and especially American politicians are hung up on America having to be the best country in the world. It isn’t. England isn’t either – far from it in fact. Before someone resurrects McCarthy to kick me out the country, I am not Anti-American. I am not a Communist or a Jihadist. I am a realist. America is not the best country in the world because there is no such thing. Every country does some things well and some terribly. Take Iran. It is pretty solid when it comes to producing oil, and some people actually like the climate. America also has many great things going for it. However, while every country has many faults, there are a couple in America that stick out like Ann Coulter at a gay wedding.
The first is the fact that there are about 80 million evangelical Christians in the U.S. They form the base of the Republican Party that pushes it further and further to the right every election cycle and makes relatively sane people like Mitt Romney (yes I said it) seem like the evil love child of Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Bachmann. You could take these 80 million people and form a new country (probably called something like The Reunited States of The Merica) and the rest of the world would look at them as we now look at countries like Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates. The far right in the U.S. has been referred to by Richard Dawkins as the American Taliban and it is hard to disagree when you hear the views of people like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock when it comes to rape. While it is easy to laugh at the bigoted idiocy of people like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the aforementioned Ann Coulter, when people with these ideals actually have a shot of becoming lawmakers, it is scarier than the prospect of having your teeth pulled by an amateur North Korean dentist while listening to Coldplay.
The other big problem America has that prevents it from even stepping on the podium of ‘great’ countries is its constitution – and I am not talking about the fact that a large portion of people in the U.S. are spherical. I mean THE constitution. The one that was written over 200 years ago – and yet politicians, political commentators and pig wrestling, moonshine drinking, gun-toting, teeth lacking rednecks seem to think it cannot be changed. Unsurprisingly, the irony seems to be lost on them that the right to free speech and firearms, amongst other things, are in fact amendments themselves. There have been 27 amendments – and yet the mere suggestion of amending something that was appropriate over two centuries ago is met with a look suggesting you have in fact pulled the pants down on democracy and shoved an oddly shaped root vegetable up her bottom. Other equally democratic countries have successfully managed to keep the idea of free speech while being able to do something about people who want to hide behind it in order to spread hatred. That is a great thing. Sticking to one’s guns (pun intended) in the face of a quickly changing world is not.
So what is my point? I am starting to question that myself, but I think it is this: The US is stuck in a rut the size of Bill O’Reilly’s ego. The two main parties are polarized on social issues, and as a result, think they have to be far apart on everything else. A victory for one side is no longer when a policy of theirs is successful. It is when a policy from the other side fails or is, in fact, blocked from even having a shot at success. In my very simplistic mind, two of the biggest factors causing this are the two listed above. The extreme far right (think Tea Party, although why they had to drag my national drink into this I have no idea) is pushing an agenda that would make any sane Republican (and there are a lot of them) blush. This then leads to the other factor. You tell someone in the Tea Party that they clearly have the intelligence of some water-based amoeba from which they claim not to have evolved and they will throw the constitution back in your face. How all they are doing is promoting the core values of your founding fathers etc. etc. Basically, they want to have their cake and eat it, and we all know how well that ended up the last time someone tried it. Perhaps the Tea Party and the French nobility have a lot in common: They are, after all, both stuck in the 18th century.