My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Nobody Likes America Anymore

Is there any other country where everybody who lives there seems to hate it, or is it just the USA? Here's what I'm talking about. Apparently this week's Presidential election was won on "values" - meaning a whole bunch of people feel like this country's become a sinkhole of immorality, what with all the gay sex, abortion and Janet Jackson going around. These Family Values types are already on to their next campaign: getting advertisers to stop supporting Desperate Housewives because it portrays housewifery and unfulfilling and amoral. How offensive to suggest that spending your day sweeping floors and polishing furniture while waiting for your screaming kids to come home and mess everything up again could start to seem like a life of Sisyphean bleakness? It's indefensible, of course, but I feel honor bound to try to defend it anyway, so here goes:

Teri Hatcher is really hot.

Moving on, these people don't just hate Hollywood (our biggest export these days) but privacy rights, religious freedom, debate and dissent, just about every principal on which this country was founded. Questioning this agenda is an "attack" and shows a "contempt" for their "moral values." In other words, they hate America.

Meanwhile, in the America I live in, obscenity-laden denunciations of slack-jawed yokels and paranoid warnings about the coming Dominionist theocracy have become the norm, and the talk of the day is about moving to Canada. They just can't stand the thought of living in a country that would vote this way. In other words, they hate America.

Well I like this dumbass fucking country. I like the New York Subway and pizza and the Delta Blues. I like stupid big screen movies about zombies and aliens and giant robots. I like hot dogs and the Chicago Cubs. I like microbrew beer. I like New Orleans and Hawaii and Highway 1. I like the ridiculous rest stops in Wisconsin where they sell nothing but cheese and porn and have giant day glo colored plastic animals by the highway. I like Ohio hillbilly punk rock bands. I like paranoid hippies who only eat raw food, although I wish they would explore the wonders of personal hygiene. I like Harley Davidson motorcycles. I like living in a neighborhood where I wonder what the hell language old guys are speaking as they drink beer on the front stoop. I like working with old black ladies who tell me about Jesus. I like living in a nation of immigrants. I like the vernacular Victorian architecture that still defines the living spaces of small towns and city neighborhoods throughout the midwest.

I love this country. I even love my corrupt infernal Chicago. But I wish more people would spend their time trying to make it better rather than bitching about it. Maybe it's good we lost. I mean, everyone seems to want a savior, a big daddy to make everything better so they can go back to their lives. The thing is, you can't go back to your private life, not ever. Privatization is the problem with this country, not just economically but socially, morally, spiritually. Gated communities of the heart. It's not going to be a great country unless you make it one. Yeah, you, buddy. Do something.

2 comments:

Agnes said...

Have you read anything by George Lakhoff? I've started reading Don't Think of an Elephant by Lakhoff, and it's helping me put these conservative vs. liberal values into perspective. He outlines defining worldviews for each--the "strict father model" (conservatives) and the "nurturing family model" (liberals)--and explains how it is that Republicans are portraying their messages so effectively that poor conservatives (and liberals) vote against their self-interest. Democrats have a lot to learn in the messaging/issue-framing business. This might actually help me talk to my Republican dad when I'm home for Christmas...

Tony said...

I'd be more depressed, but I read Obama's convention speech on the day after and that helped me get through. Like you, I love this country. I love the fact that we are online with millions others attacking our leadership and going to bed tonight knowing (for the most part... better chances now with Ashcroft gone) that we will not be arrested. I love the fact that whole nations worth of peoples renounced their birthland for ours. I love watching the sorry ass Bengals and drinking Guinness in the third and fourth quarters for luck. I love that women don't have to wear bhurkas and that knee high boots don't seem to go out of style. And while it drains my very being, I love Vegas. My view of America, while certainly reproachable, is as valid as that of a NASCAR fan, redneck, who just walked off a Springer Show. People who love this country would die for it. If I were convinced that it was truly in danger, I'd go in a second. The bridge is wide, but it is not long.