The first rule of the Internet is: Do not read the comments. The second rule is: DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS. (The third rule is: if this is your first day on the Internet, you have to Internet.) That said, I still do read comments on MetaFilter (and post some) because the discussion there is usually better than in most places (it helps that there’s a nominal fee for membership.)
The other day there was a thread there about the ongoing tragedy of Guantánamo Bay, where we continue to hold people in indefinite detention without trial. The whole place is festering open wound on America, and our resistance, as a country, to address it signifies, in my opinion, the definitive end of the ability for the US to claim any kind of moral high ground. (I’m not saying this is what finally did it, I’m saying this is the indicator that just can’t be ignored.)
A lot of folks in the thread blame Obama for reneging on his promise to close Gitmo, but others loudly disagree. It’s not his fault, goes the argument, because he tried but the Republicans in Congress stonewalled him. He’s only President, and can’t just change the country by fiat. The defenders then go on to say how we still have to support Obama and the Democratic Party because if we don’t, we’ll get a Republican President and things will be so much worse. So although Obama is powerless to effect any suitable change, apparently Michelle Bachmann could have us hauled off to Christianization Camps in no time if she were President.
It’s a myth that denies the reality of the situation, that we’re torn between one side that is terrified of anything but the tiniest baby steps towards progress and another which, at best, demands we stand completely still. Our governmental system is retarded, and I mean that in the literal, dictionary definition sense of the word: its development has been slowed, stopped, or reversed and it’s well behind where it should be. This, of course, doesn’t prevent us from continuing to crow about how our government is the best and everyone else on the planet should be eager to embrace it as well. What country wouldn’t want to be able to respond to a massacre of school children with an impotent “debate” on how many bullets you should be able to shoot at a kid before you have to stop and reload?
Anyhow, one of these, “We have to eat a pound of shit because the alternative is having to eat a gallon” folks made a comment to that effect and I responded (the bold bit is me quoting him):
And that [a Republican president], as we have seen, can have disastrous consequences for the U.S.
We don’t have a sane health care policy, we won’t fix our roads and bridges, we’re closing schools because we can’t pay for them, our economy is based on spinning gold from straw and outright theft instead of actually producing anything, no one can afford to go to college and if they can there are no jobs to be had for them, labor has been devalued, we torture and kill our enemies, we’re spying on our own citizens, nothing can happen in Congress unless one side gets a supermajority because compromise is unthinkable (unless it’s a bill that helps banks), the criminals who tanked the US and world economy got off scot free, children get murdered with assault rifles and we can’t even do a dumb useless thing like limit magazine size, we’re destroying communities in search of cheap natural gas and pumping tar sands oil across the country but wind power is too controversial and inconvenient, one of our country’s biggest employers shows its workers how to apply for food stamps since it doesn’t pay them enough to eat, we’re shutting down newspapers and prosecuting whistleblowers, racism and sexism get a free pass while we make sure the “job creators” are made to feel special, the politicians who either lied or were ignorant enough to get us into a worthless war in Iraq are now asked for their valuable opinions on foreign policy, the only things that motivate this country at all are money and fear…
…but if the Republicans get in office it will have “disastrous consequences”.
One of the responses I got was this:
*checks profile* Yep, not a woman!
Which, I get the sentiment but I just don’t know how to respond to it. I guess NSA spying and Gitmo are the prices we have to pay for legal abortion?
Anyhow, that’s not the response I want to talk about. That response was this, in MeFi mail:
Look at that! An honest-to-gosh, genuine, “America: Love it or leave it!” response in twenty-ought-thirteen! Isn’t it adorable?
My reply? “I’d like to.” Seriously, Uncle Grumpy, it’s not as easy as you think. Most countries don’t want Americans coming in and sponging off their universal health care and other social programs.
Is it any wonder I’m worn out from all this? I’m told I have to choose between “this is the best we can do” and “this is the best that can be done” while all this nonsense goes on around me. And in a couple weeks we’ll have a big old celebration of how awesome America is even though we won’t feed our own goddamn children. America, for me, is like an obnoxious co-worker. It annoys me, I wish I could do something about it, but I don’t have that power and I can’t really go anywhere else, so I just have to get through the day with him.