This is a belated Fourth of July musing. I don’t live there any more, but it’s hard not to look back at an accident that you were lucky enough to pass safely by on the interstate.
I didn’t write a July 1st article, even though I’m a long-time Canadian citizen and feel very lucky to live here. It’s just that most Canada Day celebrations have become too much like what I left–marching bands, swaying flags, troops with big guns and uniforms. Enough nationalism and glorification of the military already, if you ask me, which you didn’t, but that has never stopped me before, so why should it now?
Some of my Canadian friends and acquaintances look a little bit askance (politely askance, of course; after all, they’re Canadians) when I tell them that I don’t celebrate Canada Day because it’s too much like the Fourth. They are keenly aware of all of the differences between our three cultures (Canada has at least two), so they can’t see the creeping similarities. (Thanks for that, Mr. Prime Minister!)
But I digress. Here’s the point that sparked this little diatribe: How much harm is being done to the public weal by the current venom of American politics?
Specifically, just how bad are the consequences of the right-wing media’s ceaseless demonization of the current president? You know, that Kenyan communist Muslim who is ruining the country that real Americans remember, the true red-WHITE-and-blue that all patriots mourn? There are lots of larger examples, and you already know most of them.
But here’s a new one on me, as reported this week by Business Insider, among others.
It seems that a certain, particularly-thoughtless cadre of Neander-conservatives are fitting out their oversized pickups and SUV’s with special smokestacks the sole purpose of which is to concentrate their polluting exhaust into clouds of acrid black smoke. This retrofit lets these “Coal Rollers” choke out the drivers of Priuses and other anti-American cars that are popular with those evil liberals who, heaven forbid, want to save the world from airborne waste before it’s too late.
Any small car, or any foreign vehicle, is a welcome target. After all, if you buy an efficient car, especially one from Japan or Korea, you’re certain to be a weak-ass traitor whose vote for the K-c-M president has so threatened the way of life of real Americans.
(You know, the ones, according to Ann Coulter, whose great-grandparents were born in the USA and who, therefore, haven’t watched even a minute of the 2014 World Cup, because soccer, too, is a commie plot).
How did freedom from religious and political persecution–the dominant motivation behind the colonization of the U.S. in the first place–turn into “freedom to be as stupid and aggressive as I damn well want ‘cuz I’m an American and you can’t tell me to save the world if’n I don’t want to”?
I don’t know what Jefferson and the other Framers would say, but I’m pretty sure that this glorification of stupidity and crassness wasn’t what they had in mind.
But it was a lot on my mind when, all those 45 years ago, I made the decision to leave the U.S. for good and head somewhere less primitive, less violent, less irrational and–above all–less disheartening.