I just read an article on today’s MSN homepage called Are We America the Ignorant? and the accompanying gallery entitled America the Ignorant—Dumb Things Americans Believe. Sheesh. I’m so sick of being made to feel embarrassed to be American! It’s not helping anything, because it pits people against one another, as readily evidenced in the comments. Because the issues we’re divided on are so emotional, we can’t have a conversation about them and that is indeed pathetic…and of course the issues are related to either politics or religion.
Articles like these are on the rise as it becomes more fashionable to hate America. We are stupid, ignorant, decadent, racist western filth. The media as an industry has the power to create its own spin on our culture and shape how others see us and how we feel about ourselves. In this article they’ve taken things a minority of people believe and given it an America-Land-of-the-Idiots twist.
However, I dislike both the far right and the far left and refuse to take sides. One of the featured Dumb Things We Believe says that four in ten Americans believe that Obama would institute a “death panel” as part of health-care reform, apparently fueled by a comment made by Sarah Palin. I wouldn’t have believed this ratio before last summer, when I had to spend a night in the hospital due to an animal-rescue epic fail. I hated being there and the next day I got up and got dressed and impatiently paced around the room waiting to be released. A slovenly woman trundled down the hall past my room and into the room across the hall, which housed an old lady, her mother it turned out. The daughter started bible-blabbing to the mother. I couldn’t hear what the old lady said but I clearly heard the daughter squawking good and loud so everybody on the whole floor could hear “well everybody knows that’s the first thing he’s gonna do Mama, kill all the babies and the old people!”
I kind of lost it. I stood there listening to this bullshit getting more and more annoyed. The nurse came in to do a final blood-pressure check on me, and it was off the charts—so they wouldn’t let me go! Grrrr!
But in spite of this I believe our generosity spans the limits of our beliefs—and beyond. We as both a nation and a people give aid freely to countries who need it, regardless of the abuses that especially women in those countries suffer daily as a way of life. We are taunted with images that make us crazy. Stonings, female genital mutilation, being a prisoner inside a one-room mud shack dumping out babies your whole life then you die—2000 years of civilization has brought us lucky ones from the stone-age to a place where people really do have some rights, but you’d never know that from reading the news. We are constantly being asked to accept ways of life that repulse us as lovers of freedom.
A lot of Americans are hurting. We’re broke, have no health insurance, can’t find jobs. But I’ll bet even this awful lady with the big mouth in the hospital opened up her purse and donated—to Katrina, Haiti, Pakistan or whatever we are asked to—because that’s what Americans do.
I’m sorry but I rather love the godless shitbeast to death. Your thoughts?