Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

We All Hate America

Don't pretend you've never felt that way at some point. Nearly every thinking person--and a good number of non-thinkers, too--has hated this country and most citizens of every country have hated their own somewhere, some time. It happens. The feeling doesn't make you a bad person nor does it mean you live in a bad country. You almost have to hate it just to love it sometimes, because the United States is a nation of contradictions. There's almost no statement you can make about this place that isn't simultaneously true and false. There's plenty of opportunity; there's not enough. Racism is dead and alive and in every different phase of health, good and ill. We're warmongering, peace-loving, God-fearing atheists. We're selfish and charitable and vindictive and forgiving, stupid and ignorant and brilliant and innovative. America really is like one of our uncles, the one who combines all the traits of uncles into one huge and enormously confusing pacakage, like an uncle who, say, has dedicated his life to charity and works all day in a soup kitchen, then comes home, gets drunk and beats his wife. But I love my Uncle dearly.

When I'm not giving tambourine lessons over the Internet, I spend a lot of time thinking about these contradictions, these odd tendencies we have, and I ponder matters that confuse or confound me. In doing so, I have concluded that if people got what they wanted in every case, they would ultimately have nothing at all because their wishes would cancel one another out. Here's an example: the Honda motor company recently announced its plan to construct an auto plant near the small Indiana town of Greensburg and while many people were pleased by this development, there was also a fair amount of griping heard over the fact a foreign company was moving into the area.

The refrain: "We need better jobs."
Give the people what they want.
The reaction: "No, not a foreign company!"

The refrain: "We don't want all these Mexicans here."
Give the people what they want.
The reaction: "I'm not picking tomatoes and mopping floors!"

The refrain: "Pay us better and we'll take those jobs immigrants take now."
Give the people what they want.
The reaction: "15 dollars a pound for tomatoes? These companies are gouging us!"

Are you getting the picture now?

Want to know what I'm tired of? Stop reading here if you don't. I'm tired of these people who claim to be Americans, but display a different flag in their windows and on their cars and speak an incomprehensible language. That's right, I'm talking about Confederates!

The things we allow ourselves to get upset about are sometimes mystifying as well. The President of the United States overheard swearing in a discussion with Tony Blair is a matter so inconsequential, I refuse to give it anymore than one sentence. His impromptu massage of the Chancellor of Germany is nearly as irrelevant, unless it comes out that Ms. Merkel was offended by it. It may strike some people as behavior unfit for a world leader, but Bush is famous for that sort of thing. And I'm not citing that merely as a criticism; his informal manner can sometimes be a strength. It was probably not the right decision in retrospect, but no commentary that Ms. Merkel felt violated or offended has appeared and unless it does, it's not the end of the world. If she sues him for sexual harrassment, that'll make two Presidents in a row who have fallen victim to the charge. We're on a roll!

Something worth being upset about is Bush's recent veto of the stem-cell research bill. That is, if you disagree with him, which I do in this case. Save your criticism for the important stuff. Wait, what am I saying...? Sweat the small stuff or I'll have nothing to write about.

Now for my tambourine lesson:

Step One: Place tambourine in one hand with flat side facing outward

Step Two: Strike flat side of tambourine against other hand

Step Three: Repeat

If this goes well, I'll add maracas.


Anonymous cinnamon said...

i need a tamborine!

23 July, 2006 22:50  

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