June 02, 2004
Requisite Monthly Rant II: the State of the Nation

Sometimes I absolutely, unequivocally detest Americans. And I "are" one. I'm not quite able to put my finger on what it is that upsets me so. I think it is our arrogance and self-righteous attitude that grates on every one of my nerves. Stay with me as I might ramble here, but that is the very nature of a rant. I work in the city and a simple walk through downtown Seattle is very revealing of the culture in which we live. On a ten minute stroll, a person may see a number of things: panhandlers talking on their cell phones; abrasive Christians proselytizing on street corners; Greenpeace lackeys handing out "save the whales" literature; a non-profit organization staging a peaceful protest/demonstration against war; a group of wannabe gangsters skipping school; a skateboarder coming down a steep hill against traffic with no helmet on. Every single one of these things are the result of a society that allows you to do whatever the heck you want with hardly to no consequences. This is America folks--the land of opportunity; flowing with milk and honey I suppose. Albeit far from the Babylonianesque Amsterdam, America carries with it liberties like none other. These are liberties I myself enjoy on a daily basis, however many of these same liberties have produced in us every kind of bad thing possible.

I struggle with the idea of democracy because I don't think it's the best way to run the country. (She cries heresy!) However, being that I live in a democracy, I am going to milk it for all it's worth. If there's an election, I'm voting. People who don't vote in this country should not be complaining about much of anything as it relates to politics. Things do not change via osmosis. Get your lazy butt up and do something. Stop blaming the president for your lack of personal discipline. We have far too many choices in this country. Have you tried buying cereal lately? There are like 162 different kinds of name brand cereal alone. While we're on excess, last year, while entertaining my uncle from Zimbabwe, we stopped to visit Barnes & Noble bookstore at his request. He was dumbfounded at the number of books in that store. Anybody can publish a book in the United States. You don't even have to be half-way intelligent or integrous. Have you heard of Karyn Bosnack? A couple of years ago she ran herself into deep credit card debt via high shopping sprees and a severe addiction to Prada bags. Desperate to pay her bills, she started a website called SaveKaryn.com where she pleaded with complete strangers to send her money to get her out of debt. Sickening I know, but it gets worse. People actually sent money! Her story made it onto the Today show and other network news shows. She is now debt-free and got a book deal out of this whole ordeal. Her book Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back, was released last year. Only in the USA folks, only in the red white and blue. It doesn't take much to get a book deal it seems. I am reminded of a quote from the movie Good Will Hunting, where the title character remarked, "You people spend all this money on these fancy books, and you surround yourself with the wrong books." Ditto. Having too many options has plagued this country. First it's cereal, then it's gender. How did we jump from two options (Male or Female) to six? Too much choice. This is the era of "choose-your-own-adventure!" I nearly vomited when I saw a preview for an episode of Oprah where they were actually endorsing a 6-year old boy's right to want to be a girl. Once again moral relativism rears its ugly head.

Choice is a wonderful thing, but man was never created to be his own God. I fear we've done that in more ways than one. We actually think we call the shots in this whole deal. Want an abortion? Sure! After all, it is your choice. And I might add, it's a choice of which no one ever tells the lifelong consequences of regret, shame and guilt. I think what bothers me the most about Americans is that we think we're entitled to something huge and yet we're such a small part of the total work being done on this Earth. Sometimes I just think we need to pause and realize that the sun doesn't rise and set on our very existence. We thought the 9-11 attack was the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of civilization simply because it happened to us. Let's grow up here. I do not diminish the vulgarity and wickedness of what took place, but we have perpetuated this idea of "false liberties" and let's set the record straight folks: "tomorrow ain't promised to no one baby".

The general population of the United States actually thinks they're "free". I can't think of a more warped view of freedom than that held by Americans, some of the most bound and mentally oppressed people you will ever meet. Here we talk about "depression" as though it were a normal occurrence and people chat about their anti-depressant cocktails like girlfriends chat about clothes and shoes. Here in America, we push fashion retailers to start carrying "plus-size" children's clothing because our kids are just getting too fat. Forget the fact that Flammin' Hot Cheetos and Sprite Remix are carried strategically in specific corner stores near public elementary schools in urban communities. We just need bigger clothing right? Here we dismiss college, teenage, (and now middle school) binge-drinking as part of a growing trend or popular culture instead of recognizing the emptiness of an entire generation.

The blame game gets old and so do the excuses. We have created a monster out of ourselves. A monster of privilege, choice, free-will, moral relativism, and self-idolatry. Yet, Americans are the same people who will sit around the pity table, shaking collective heads, wondering what's happening to our community. Well I'm getting out my violin to play for you because I don't want to hear another sad story. Before we try to put our mouths on every other country in the world, we need to deal with what's going on at home first because we are far from having it all together. This has nothing to do with George W. Bush, a person who has far less authority and power than the average ultra-liberal would confess. Call your local congressman for goodness sake.

And lastly, to you people over there laying down on 6th avenue with white sheets and fake blood, I say how lovely must it be to frolic around the streets carelessly protesting war and whatnot. I am certain that it is nice to be a college graduate doing absolutely nothing, living from your daddy's trust fund. But you're blocking the street. Please move out of my way, so we can cross it to go to work. There are people with better things to do with their time. People with jobs.

Posted by Ambra at June 2, 2004 01:09 PM

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