Thursday, July 05, 2007

Musings on America

Well, it's been a wonderful few days with Mr. Zips. After all my emotional BS last night, we wound up going to see Ocean's 13 and had a great time. How could you not - Eddie is in it!

After, we came back home, had a late dinner and turned on the fireworks. It looked like it was a great show and I'm partially sad that we didn't suck it up and get out there. But only partially.

After the fireworks, the TV was left on while we were ... otherwise engaged. I caught part of one of those annoying local TV news "OpEd" pieces and was literally so turned off I had to switch the TV off before, well, before I gagged.

Jon Keller, on WBZ Channel 4 waxes philosophic on four things Americans should be thankful for on the Fourth. And I quote:

3. The Good Life. A third thing to be thankful for: the incredibly good life that most Americans enjoy, by material measures, at least. From eye-popping supermarkets to high-tech superstores, we're a land of plenty, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

So, here, I wonder, who, exactly, does he mean by "most Americans." The middle class, who is increasingly getting further and further away from the "American dream" as the government favors the increasingly rich and the earnings gap widens? Maybe he means the people who can't find work as we increasingly lose jobs to overseas outsourcing and corporations remain immune to regulation or penalization for employing illegal labor. Or does he mean the majority of people who are anti-Iraq war right now, even as we lose another local serviceman?

And then, despite the initial gut reaction that, yea, material things are good, I wonder if he really knows what he's saying. Are we really celebrating the fact that: Though accounting for only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world's energy. Are we celebrating how we have packed supermarkets but farmers that are folding and losing the farm by the dozens? Or how about the fact that we have all these high tech toys like iPhones and Smackberries, but we're losing our bees?

I just think that, instead of trotting out all these feel-good, sentimental, heartstringpulling platitudes every July 4, we should take a good, hard, look at the country we live in. It was founded on a fabulous, revolutionary set of ideals. But those founding principles were developed by people who weren't afraid to look at what was wrong with what was going on and, more importantly, what they could do to change it.