Shame on me.
I'm quite glad the election is done, and have no desire to focus any more current energy on politics, but after a bit of deliberation, I decided this was worth posting.
When I first read the transcript, it reminded me of a conversation I had with a student one of the first weeks I arrived in Taiwan. Though his accent was heavy, he had a surprisingly extensive vocabulary, and was quite well versed -- from what I could tell -- in Politics (foreign and domestic), current events, literature..
Jeff-the-student, Alex-his-teacher, and I (the floater, that popped in on the classroom conversation and refused to leave) were discussing the state of America and it's current fiscal fiasco. Alex was pointing out that so much of America's media and education pointed inward, rather than looking outward. It's focus was the US of A. The news was even narrower than that, focusing on California. And even narrower than that, focusing on Los Angeles.
I was reluctant to tell him that the depth of the conversation we had just finished on current events... I probably couldn't have with most University Students his age.
Jeff was hurt. Offended even. He couldn't understand. "Why? But you are my heroes. America is a place where you can be anything you want to!"
It was hard to hear that from him.
...the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens...
(Cited from below)
Maybe it's not a coincidence that such a seismic event as our election happens in the same month we as Americans stop and remind ourselves where we come from, what we have, and what we're thankful for...
"As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark. The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy a bout?''
A.. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?
B.. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?
C.. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?
D.. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?
E.. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?
F.. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?
G.. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.
H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.
I.. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.
J.. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames, thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.
K.. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss .
L.. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.
M.. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?
Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.
Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.
I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?
Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.
Make no mistake about it.
The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.
So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?
Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like OJ Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!
Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative. With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"
-Anonymous, who likes to pretend he runs a Late Night talk show.
(Hat Tip: John Wilson, for posting the note; Facebook, for it's Mini-Feed, Andrew Sullivan for showing me how to Hat Tip in a blog [though he'd be horrified at rookie quoting error I made]; Tom, for pointing out my error; and Alex, for letting me share in that conversation with Jeff.)