Friday, August 15, 2008
Are You Happy With the Way This Country is Going?
That was the question posed to me by a friend of a friend two nights ago over cocktails. Swishing a dirty martini in my hand, I didn't have to stop and think. "Yes," I said.
"It might be going fine for you," sassed another friend, "but what about the country in general?"
Still, my answer is yes.
Don't get me wrong. There are a few things I'm not pleased about with this American life, but it has more to do with individual Americans than with anything any one leader can fix. That's why I can't stand up and cheer for anyone who thinks they can save us from ourselves.
How Barack Obama or John McCain are going to fix anything is beyond me, when the America's biggest problem is stupid Americans. We've lost that post-World War II umph and spirit of collaboration and now think that greatness is owed to us. Well, some of us. I still work to get paid, keep my stomach flat and what's left of my hair on my head (can Barack make Propecia a part of my health insurance plan?)But when it comes to entitlement, a disease that's killing America, there's no greater example of "I deserve it because I want it" than Barack Obama, who seems to think he is descended from heaven and owed a crown and sceptor.
I can't blame George Bush for the things that irk me about Americans. That many of us are lazy and can't locate our own country on a map isn't his fault, it's the fault of ignorant people who have TV's-a-plenty in their homes for their over-caffeinated children but nary a book or map in sight, even for decoration. It isn't the President's fault that stupid Americans can't make a connection between the high price of oil and our love of Hummers and other monstrous vehicles, and it isn't his fault that people are losing their homes after some very ill-advised financial decisions. Bush and his cronies may be cashing in on it, but that's the price of a capitalist society. People are encouraged to create and seize opportunities for profit.
How are Barack and McCain going to stop the Chinese from beating us into submission? How are we going to stick it to Iran and Venezuela? Is Barack going to make one of his rock-star appearances in Caracas and charm Chavez into giving us oil for free? Is McCain going to let people like T. Boone Pickens switch us over to wind power?
I think it's going to take a very long time for us to shake the stupor of the Bush-Cheney years. We might be another four years away from that, but right now we're still in the haze of the nuke-ular era and we're going to see John McCain win the election in November. And it's not going to make any difference -- Americans don't want change, they (me, for the most part) love how this country is working, so if it ain't entirely broke why fix it?