Thursday, September 01, 2005

Welcome to the Third World

You and I, we’ve grown up watching the images on television – earthquakes in China, floods in India, recently the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the genocide in the Sudan. We watch, glazed, as smartly dressed beautiful people cheerily replay the footage, before they segue into the next Runaway Bride story. We congratulate ourselves that we’re not like Them. We sit there with the smug, self-satisfied knowledge that we’re better than Them.

Better than the Mexicans, whose elections are rigged, whose administration is so corrupt, whose standard of living is so low and people are so poor that they can’t keep their people in their own borders.

Better than the Africans, who superstitions keep them from combating AIDS, whose leaders live in wealth while their people slip further and further into poverty, whose children go hungry and die young.

Better than Europe, because we had to rescue them – twice – during world wars, whose people worship royalty, who gave birth to Nazism, who don’t know how to work.

Better than the Orient, a hotbed of communism and cheap goods

Better than the Russians, with their robber barons and fixed elections.

Better than the Muslims, with their society based on theocracy, suppression of women, and torture.

Except.

Except that these days, our elections are more rigged than Mexico’s, the corrupt don’t even bother to hide their corruption any more, the wealthy few get wealthier, and the middle class is shrinking while the poor get poorer still, while those few that can, contemplate immigrating to Canada or Australia or Europe.

Except that we now teach superstition in place of science, which has contributed to the Africans’ misery, the wealthy send their children to private schools for a real education, and the poverty rate and infant death rate climb.

Except that the Europeans have finally Gotten Over It, and have gone back to appreciating their own culture, whose royalty are mere figureheads unlike the American royalty of corporate plutocrats, have decent health care, and have enough sense to take time off – and leave the Nazism to this country.

Except that the Communists are wheeling and dealing in the world of big business with American industrialists all too willing to ignore slave labor in order for bigger profits, and the “cheap goods” have long since been better quality than this country can produce with our second rate educated work force.

Except that the Russians have learned all they need to know from the “Greed is Good” philosophy of the West, not to mention the chutzpa to dare point out our own suspect elections.

Except that our American mullahs are bringing about their version of Eden, where murder in the name of God is okay, where self-appointed religious leaders decide who lives and dies, and who finally, by God, will put women, jews, and atheists back in their place.

We have a government run by sociopaths and buffoons, with an unelected President who’s inept, corrupt, and with all the charisma and sleaze of a “manager” on a television wrestling show. Our once proud and independent media now aids and comforts the corruption, throwing away the respect and credibility it took decades to build. The spineless opposition – the side that we’re supposed to be on – lets this farce continue, either by their silence or their quisling acquisition to their corporate masters. We The People have no say in our government any longer – our deaths on the flooded streets of New Orleans, either by drowning, disease, or a Wal-Mart bullet – mean nothing, nothing to them.

Whether these are the first days of the twilight of the United States of America remains to be seen. It depends on how long the rest of the world will let us continue to make war on whomever we please. It depends on whether the worlds industries decide if they really need the money of American consumers to survive. It depends on whether we choose to drive our SUVs over our own survival. It depends on whether you and I will watch the news, roll over, and go back to sleep. It depends on if we will demand justice, finally.

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