Scott G has a few questions about idiocy, lunacy, stupidity, chicanery, avarice, greed, pigheadedness, hatred, loathing, insanity and dangerous superstitions. In other words, he’s been reading the news lately.

Crazed. That’s how the world appears to me. Everything seems backwards. Bizarro World has come to life, sprouted tentacles and taken over almost everything in the United States. (Perhaps this is also true of the rest of the world but I am based in the USA, so my somewhat jaundiced view begins here.)

When I was raised, my generation was taught many things about America. Among them, that this land was a beacon of freedom, a home to heroes, a place of equality, a nation of justice, and a country full of people of courage.

Yet one glance at the stories of any large newsgathering organization reveals a nation that often has retreated from every one of those positions.

Freedom Differs From License
We continually confuse the concepts of “freedom” and “license.” You have the freedom to practice the violin but you don’t have the license to do so at 3 in the morning. While no one disputes that fact, the problem comes about when our elected officials decide how much freedom we’re willing to give up to make our society a better and safer place. Unwarranted wiretapping, for example, oversteps these boundaries. If law enforcement officials feel they have just cause for listening in on or recording conversations, let them take it to a court to decide. Condoning torture oversteps these boundaries. If a technique is not something you’d want inflicted on your son if he was captured in war, then you shouldn’t be voting for it.

Heroes Are Not in TV Shows
A hero is someone who does the right thing even at the risk of his own life. By that standard, we undoubtedly have heroes in our military and in our police and fire departments. Extending the definition to read “even at great personal risk” enables us to laud others as heroes, including doctors, nurses and paramedics. Extending the definition further, to read “even at great personal sacrifice,” enables us to include teachers. In no way do sports figures, actors or celebrities figure in this equation, yet who receives the heroes’ share of media attention? And what are the salaries of all these people?

Unequal to the Task
Equality? When I was ten, I wrote a school essay predicting that racial prejudice would end during my lifetime. It seemed simple to me: since my friends and family looked at people as people instead of racial or ethnic stereotypes, the upcoming generation must feel that way, too. Apparently I was incorrect.

Truth, Justice & the Bizarro World Way
As for justice, I believe we have all noticed that each of us is entitled to as much as we can afford to purchase.

A Lamb’s Worth of Courage
We now come to courage. Let me ask you something. Is it courage to leave taxes alone for most of the nation but cut taxes on those earning more than a quarter of a million dollars a year? Is it courage to provide superb healthcare to elected officials while enabling them to avoid extending coverage to lower income citizens? Is it courage to allow some public schools to operate without books and supplies? Is it courage to denigrate science in favor of religious ravings? Is it courage to continually attack social security and Medicare, two government programs that actually work? Is it courage to laud mediocre or inept job performance that has harmed thousands of innocent people? Is it courage to treat the Constitution as if it was printed on tissue paper in a rainstorm? Is it courage to engage in war in order to boost the coffers of corporations like Halliburton?

The Way We Were
There once was an America I loved but politicians are ruining it. This is primarily due to those who let religiosity rule their decisions, although the sane ones are apparently too cowardly to speak up about it. But I think we can return to those bygone days if we work at it. That would be exciting. America, because of its people, can be an amazing place. Americans stand taller, stride longer, fight tougher, care deeper, piss farther, and fuck harder than any other creatures on the face of the planet. Or they used to. I don’t know about you, but I want that country back. I am not comfortable residing here in Bizarro World.

[tags]America, values, constitution, morals, courage, politics[/tags]