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Posts Tagged ‘Obama

The Great Irrationality of America

with 2 comments

Let me say that first and foremost I am an American citizen. I was born and bred in Cleveland, Ohio, spent part of my young adulthood in Phoenix, Arizona, played for the football team and registered for the selective service. Though I am not a patriot in the traditional sense (the irrational one), I am fond of and proud to come from such a place. I could be described as apolitical, in that I dont subscribe to any particular political doctrine or party or anything having to do with how another man thinks I should live. There’s better and there is worse, but America is where my family and I come from and that will never change.

That said, I have lived in Europe for the past 10 years and I definitely see America in a different light. To give you some insight, when I first came here in early 2000 America was still the land of opportunity and people still drank the Kool-aid for the most part. Clinton was just finishing up, folks had well-paying jobs, W. and Osama had not yet set the world on fire, and life for me was pretty good. A simple illustration. When I first walked into the immigration office, the woman upon recognizing that I could not speak German, immediately wanted to send me to the Asylum office down the hall. My girlfriend told the woman that, no, in fact he is an American and has chosen to come here. Upon hearing that the woman immediately offered a cup of coffee, began to smile and took on a pleasantness I had not seen before. I felt the power of my nationality enlighten yet another of the heathens! And so, things were good…

Of course, history happened and America and her children were no longer looked upon in such a pleasant light. Whereas before I did not bother to think why everyone ‘loved’ America, I now had some questions about how they felt about my home country. Frankly, a lot of people started blaming America when things went south, even before the wars. People would ask me all the time if I agreed with this or that, or who did I vote for, or what did I think about the geo-political issues facing a world set aflame. I must have had literally close to ten-thousand discussions about America. I was essentially forced to analyze what my country is and develop an opinion about it. So basically with every discussion, I got somebody’s opinion about the good the bad and the ugly. Of course, the whole time I am talking to my friends and family back home and I also have some experience, coming from the near east coast and growing up on the near west coast. Having been forced to analyze America at the very least for myself, something I read today makes me want to share with you some of what I have come to realize.

I read today a post from what I would imagine are liberal-minded folks who of course are defending the president. I hadn’t gotten very far into the article before I saw where the person was basically denouncing as treason some of the comments and illustrations from the conservative media and pundits regarding the president. Now, the real merits of their claims I am not really interested in here but rather the utter hypocrisy. One of the things written was that depicting the president as a maniacal fascist should be considered treasonous. The first thing I thought of was that image of then-President George W. Bush depicted as Hitler sitting in the chair! Of course, that’s not what they were talking about, but rather they were talking about President Obama being depicted as Hitler (remember that, I’m coming back to that point later).

Of course that’s not all. There was a lot of talk about ‘national rudeness’ and ‘unfairness’ being directed at the current president which I do see. Then there was another statement mentioning ‘the man being challenged unfairly, characterized with vulgarity, treated with the kind of deep disrespect’  – and here is the kicker – ‘to which no previous president was subjected’. With that one I had to laugh within myself. Is that not the same behavior that was exhibited during the Bush presidency? I mean in many circles, Bush was presented as not so much a man, but more a vassal of the Devil himself.

There was a lot that I did not agree with during the Bush presidency, especially being here in Europe and having a particularly broader perspective. However there was a point where things turned from the merely critical, to the fanatical, the extreme and the vitriolic. It turned irrational frankly, and I was disgusted by that. There was an anger and what I would term a hate that was expressed from people in the form of violent protest. The same kind of hate that I see now on the other side against Obama. Very few people on both sides bother to even think and it is apparently clear. I remember Bush being called every name in the book and being cut into pieces by a lot of people. There was no attempt at understanding, and many who read this now will ask me what there is to understand about the Bush presidency. My answer is if you seek, so shall you find.

On the other hand, there are the conservatives who call President Obama both a fascist and a socialist. So which is it? Those who know a thing or two know that fascism and socialism are not the best of friends (think Stalin and Hitler and WWII). Let alone that America is a democracy which cannot tolerate fascism (check and balances and of, for and by the people) or socialism (see capitalism). I remember reading a comment on a forum which debated a question about health care, and what’s more important than saving 40,000 lives (apparently the number of people who die per year because of having no health insurance). One of the replies was that tort reform should first be taken care of. Now of course, tort reform is a factor as are other innumerable issues. The irrational part about it is that while one person is talking about lives, another person is talking about judicial decisions, or rather the party position. While both sides are willing to engage, they are not willing to compromise for the good of the entire country. Americans aren’t really interested in solving any problems, but only in winning and argument and power and everything else that comes with it…

The current regime also has a whole lot of folly going on. That whole banks and auto bailout stuff makes me feel for those in America, just like I was during the height of Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m talking about the tax payers.  The fact of the matter is, is that there are awful schools and homeless families, and healthcare and all sorts of other things that need to be taken care of, but banker bonuses are not one of them. Why should taxpayers subsidize the rich? Yes many jobs were involved, but frankly I was laid off by Motorola in the late 90’s where they announced 50,000 layoff worldwide and I turned out ok. Though not without losing my home, sleeping in a hotel for a few months and falling on some serious hard times. If Ford and Chrysler and whatever banks do not know how to run their businesses and fail, I don’t see where regular honest working folks should bail them out. I see where we should all help with saving lives, but to ensure that people keep doing bad jobs is not what I think should happen. Frankly, I don’t really mind too much the housing bailouts, but the tone took on a ‘the banks should not have given me credit that I can’t pay for’ that I cannot stand. Adults talking about how they were taken advantage of and how they should be absolved of any responsibility. That attitude makes me sick. Haven’t we all  made mistakes and had to climb out of a hole on our own without any assistance from anyone?

Thats as far as I will go for now. There are a lot of things that I don’t agree with from both the conservatives and the liberals. The point is that neither side is really listening to the other or even talking to the other side. They are really only talking at each other. On top of that is that you see where each side does the exact same things that the other side does and doesn’t see the unabashed hypocrisy. The point is that this irrationality is so clear to see if you don’t live in America. It makes me sad. I used to ask people back home questions like ‘what are you guys thinking’ or ‘why did you guys do this or that’.

It took me a while to realize that there is no answer to the questions of ‘what or why are you doing something’. The only real interest the politically inclined in America have is in winning the argument at whatever cost…even their own sanity it seems.

Written by lionoah

November 9, 2010 at 14:06