Tuesday, November 09, 2004

An Appropriate but Impolite Salute to The World

Bear with me while I meander a bit. I will get to the point eventually, I promise.

It is no secret that I think Canada and the United States are in decline and that the increasing intrusion of governments of all levels, into all facets of our lives, will hasten the inevitable decay of our once-free nations. I'm not saying that the trend can't be turned. What I am saying is that unless steps are taken soon to restore fiscal sanity to governments and individual responsibility to its citizens, our nations are doomed to irrelevance. They will be reduced to curiosities in history books, like empires of the past and like many European nations of today.

What gives me hope is that, at least in some isolated ways, Americans occasionally flip the bird to the rest of the world, sometimes on purpose, sometimes without realizing it. For example, by electing Bush, American voters sent a clear message to the rest of the world -- essentially: we don't need you, we don't need your meddling in our affairs, take your self-rightious prattling and go sulk in a corner somewhere. But there are other ways in which the same message is getting out there, not by design, but as a by-product of the independent spirit that is still alive, if not altogether well, in America.

I knew you were going to ask for examples, so I would like to submit as evidence, shows like ABC's Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. This show, and Fox's Renovate My Family, have a simple premise: Pick a needy family and give them a new life, via a major home renovation and lots of expensive gadgets. Then, accompany the largesse with massive hoopla. The Americans are very good at this: beating the drum and tugging at our heartstrings, all the while selling lots of product for sponsors and advertisers.

Could there possibly be a better way to express to the world how different the Americans are from the snotty and pretentious, dissembling hypocrites in Europe and elsewhere?

Yes, the shows are tacky. Yes, they are a bit cynical, using the drama of a family's misfortunes to sell goods and services. But look at the positives: The family is helped in the process. Millions of viewers get vicarious pleasure and satisfaction from that. The sponsors make more money, the TV networks get more viewers and everyone is happy.

To me, the shows have this simple message as subtext: We do what we want to do and we do so because we can.

It takes a socio-economic system that is relatively free for prosperity to flourish and for this sort of show to be possible. For the moment, that still applies to the United States of America.

Let's hope that George W. Bush and cohorts understand that more freedom is what will continue to keep America great, not less.

I'm one fan of America who wants her to be great and to fulfil the promise seen by the founders and the framers of the Constitution. There are millions more like me, both within and without the United States.

So, dear American friends: Don't let that middle finger get tired.

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