Sunday, January 15, 2012

Like Us, or We'll Kill You

The American people and therefore the American government are capable of many great and wonderful things. We've been doing them throughout our existence and especially in the last sixty or seventy years. However there is a terrible flaw within us and it exhibits itself in the policies of the nation's leadership. That is because, despite tea party rants, there is not a government in the world that more closely resembles the character of its people than the one here does.

We have this disturbing expectancy for everyone else to like us. And it goes beyond that. We expect not only to be liked, but to be admired, and be extended huge testimonials of gratitude for not only what we stand for, but what we do. Everyone it seems should either want to live here, or be exactly like us.

And it is hard not to think that, especially if you live on the edge of the southwest where hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are streaming across the boarder on a yearly basis.

As with everything though, we pay attention to what we read and see and not what we don't see. Yes, while thousands do everything imaginable to get here, tens of millions of people south of the boarder are perfectly happy where they are at. They have no plans to move here, don't want to move here, can't imagine being here. In other parts of the world there are massive numbers of people and not just a few governments who don't feel they owe us a thing and simply won't kowtow to our every whim, or demand.

When that happens something sort of snaps in the American psyche. We go a little crazy in what we say and do. Sometimes, more times than anyone here wants to admit, we send in the troops. This is because the unfortunate lesson we learned from WWII was that because of American technology, American industrial might, and by sheer numbers we can kick just about anyone's ass. We have bombs. We have huge numbers of big bombs, small bombs and medium sized bombs. If you piss us off enough, don't like us enough, don't do what we want, we'll use them.

That is, by the way, one of the reasons a lot of the people who don't like us, really don't like us.

The fact is once the Soviet Union collapsed and the Chinese found out how much fun it is to make money there is not one individual power out there that can defeat us. Oh they can prick us, even stagger us with an individual blow, but since the Russians and Chinese are out of the game, there is not one single player that can bring us low. We keep acting like there are, but there aren't.

Along with this excruciating need to be liked comes a selfishness that is absolutely stunning on many parts of this blue ball. Make me stand in line for gas and by God it is back to Ice Age for you. We sometimes treat the rest of the world like a fast foot restaurant. We want every comfort, every perk and we want them now. If we can't have it all right away get us the manager so we can read he or she the riot act. After all we saved your ass when times were tough, now you owe us.

In a lot of places we actually kept in power blood thirsty, violent, and oppressive regimes in order to save people from blood thirsty, violent, and oppressive regimes. We did this because the other guys who would have been blood thirsty didn't like us, or at least liked someone else better than us.

If America really wants to lead the world we'll first have to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like us, or do what we want. We're going to have to stop trying to punish people for not liking us and stop acting as if the world is our personal Wal-Mart.

No one wins a popularity contest, or any other election unanimously. If humankind lasts another thousand years history will look back at these times rather like we look back at the Greek city states now. In the future America will be considered either the Sparta or Athens of the our age. It is for us to decide how we are regarded.

Maturity, and the decency to respect others will go a long way in that regard. So will accepting the fact not everyone is going to like us.


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