Sunday, April 24, 2005

Unsinkable? Unthinkable!

Friday, while having a horrible day, I saw a sign in brecksville Square. "God Bless America."

So much for freedom of religion.

That's one of the many things that irritates me about the United States of America. Bigotry. Ignorance. Puritanical beliefs. Everything either has an owner or a price tag. There is no untamed and free space left. One thing after another. A series of chains and bindings slowly suffocating us.. or those with enough thought to see it.

We claim to be a nation of the free, free to be whoever you are and believe in what you must. But there's a subtle undertone: Be yourself, as long as it's what the rest of us are.

Inexplicable hatred still plagues this country. being gay can still land you in a hospital or grave. Not being Christian can lead to shunning and hate speech. Being an independent thinker can land you in jail. Not trusting or believing in the President can label you a traitor or a Communist.

We've already come too close to another Red Scare. After 9/11, we gave up so many rights in our fear and anger. Retaliation was all that mattered, no matter what we gave up in the process. Now, we might need a passport to get into Canada. You can be thrown in jail if a police officer asks you who you are and you refuse to answer. I guess that means we need to carry our "papers" with us at all times, mein heir. What next? World domination and the "undesirables" being shuffled into concentration camps? Some of you may think this is a bit of a stretch, but to me, it's an uncomfortable thought. To add to things, our economy isn't booming like the rich people believe. There is high unemployment and a staggering number of people in debt beyond all comprehension.

People tell me I should be proud to be an American and live in this country. As an enlightened thinker, I don't see it. Most of the world dislikes us for the actions of our "fearless leader" who cares more about the life of a terminally ill woman in Florida than thousands who died in NYC. We're one of the only "civilized countries" in the world without national health care. The Christian Right has precedence over anything logical and just. Proud, you say? of what? Puritanical beliefs? No health care? Greed? Poverty? The illusion of freedom?

We're on the Titanic, an unsinkable beast of a ship, sailing away. The iceberg hasn't frightened anyone at all... they're even playing in the ice on the deck. The crew is cutting away the lifeboats slowly. Our captain seems hellbent on us all going down with his ship.

As for me, I refuse to. Call me unpatriotic. Call me a traitor. Hell, call me whatever you please. i will find some form of flotation device one day and escape the suction of the sinking vessel.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't know if things are as bad as all that, old thing. I agree with you that there is something slightly tacky about putting up a sign saying 'God Bless America', but He has to bless someone I suppose. Over here we sing 'God Save the Queen' before rugger matches, which seems much seemlier somehow, and altogether more modest than a request to bless a whole country. As for me, I am all in favour of patriotism, until I meet patriots.
To one who has lived under the Blair Terror for the last 8 years, your description of Dubya's police state made quaint reading. A passport to visit Canada? Compulsory ID? Why, next they will be telling you to wear seatbelts in cars, I shouldn't wonder. Actually I think we're the only country in Europe which doesn't have ID cards, but even that is under threat now. Oddly enough, the people most opposed to it are crusty old tories like myself, who hate the idea of being told to carry bits of paper with us because some bossyboots in parliament tells us to. Until recently, the ancient principle of 'habeas corpus' was the rule in this land - the idea that you shouldn't go to gaol without a fair trial - but that was far too old-fashioned for Mr Blair, who can now incarcerate anyone he wants on the say-so of the security services, or mental health experts (shades of Solzhenitsyn here, I fancy). I don't suppose there is a single judge in america who would stand for that sort of thing.
On the other hand, things are still better here and in your country than in many other places I could name. In Afghanistan, women are stoned for adultery; in Iraq, football players are tortured if they lose matches. Sorry, wrong tense. Perhaps the real difference between your country and places like China lies in the fact that this website exists at all; and I would like to think that your patriotic neighbour, however much he may deplore your sentiments, would defend to the death your right to voice them.

Anyway, that's quite enough politics for one evening. Congrats on the website by the way; it is eloquent and stimulating, as you have given us every cause to expect :)

Moonspenders said...

Yes, yes, dear Daniel. it could always be worse. I hear that said all too often. My point is this: couldn't it be BETTER?