Oh Say, Can You See?

Copyright © Paramount Studios

Copyright © Paramount Studios

Today’s Daily Post prompt asks us if we’d consider ourselves patriotic or not. I’ve never cared for this question, mostly because I’d rather just skip ahead to a time when our world isn’t defined by borders, but rather the lack of them. I’m one of those people who loves Star Trek not (just) because of the cool costumes, but because in it, Earth stands as a united front, a small part of a much larger federation of planets that coexist in peace. Now that is a flag I’d gladly fly! Sadly, peace and patriotism often seem mutually exclusive these days. Will the world survive long enough to get along?

I love lots of things about living in the USA. In comparison to most of my friends, I grew up poor. Still, I had a roof over my head, plenty to eat, and got to go to junior high and high school for free. I didn’t have to walk to school every day, or worry about invading armies raping and pillaging. I didn’t have to worry that saying one thing wrong or being in the wrong place at the wrong time might end with me being burned at the stake as a witch. I wasn’t sold into slavery or given away for marriage, and now that I’m grown up, I’m allowed to do whatever the hell I want to. Sure, I grew up among bible beaters, racists and homophobes, but (sadly) none of those problems are confined to American soil. Now here I am at 31, having been given a leg up and the opportunity to study, travel, and grow to understand the shortcomings of my environment. So it’s definitely not all bad. It’s not even half bad if we consider some of the atrocities that are considered part of the every day in other parts of the world.

But the thing is, no matter how good Americans have it, these so-called freedoms come at the expense of a great many people, animals, and natural resources. And waving a flag and proclaiming my love of this land isn’t going to get me (or anyone else for that matter) anywhere. We are killing the world with our insane love of oil. We could be running on solar power, like Germany, or garbage, like Sweden. We could be avoiding these constant engagements in the Middle East, or at least abstaining from bankrolling half of the political machinations that go on there. We could be preserving our landscape, animals, and climate. But instead we’re jumping head-on into all of this bullshit, just so the corporations that pay to keep our politicians fat and happy can get what they want. Oil. Plastics. Weapons & Building Contracts. Not saying that we shouldn’t be doing our part to encourage world peace, but our interest should be solely that of the peacekeeper, not of the profiteer.

So no. I’m not patriotic. I’m ashamed that my country is defined by greedy politicians, corrupt corporations, and media outlets that care more about one spoiled pop star than genocide in the Middle East. I’m ashamed that we as a people can’t seem to stop fighting about the small stuff long enough to grasp the big picture.

But I refuse to give up on the world, or my fellow creatures, human and non. I want to be a world citizen, and I will. If my difference is only getting to understand and empathize with the world I meet through my travels and on this blog, so be it.

Hopefully, I’ll get to do more.

The Things We Just Don’t Say

The following is a response to today’s Daily Post writing prompt, “Never.” 

Today’s post presents a bit of a predicament for me, in that in the process of talking about the subjects I consider verboten, I will actually be talking about those subjects, anyway. It’s like saying, “This sentence is false.” You end up falling on both sides of the coin, simultaneously. It’s a dangerous business, my friends.

There are two things that I tend not to talk about, just in general, under any circumstance: politics and abortion.

It’s not that I never think about these things (I do) or that I don’t care (the opposite, in fact). I read a fair amount of political news. I stay up to date with who’s saying what about whom. But the facts are that I hold a certain set of beliefs, other people hold another set of beliefs, and though I’m willing to listen to both sides, its rare that I run into other people who are willing to do the same. Every now and then, though, I read a well-thought-out comment from the other side of things that makes me retool my position. It’s not the norm, but it’s the only thing that has me thinking that there’s still hope for the world, yet. Since it’s otherwise few and far between that I meet someone from the other side of the political line who is willing and able to carry out an intelligent and courteous conversation about politics, I typically stay away from political discussions. Life is short, and I refuse to get stressed over dealing with idiots.

It’s also (sadly) rare that someone with completely opposite beliefs is able to show me a logical reason for their stance. Nine times out of ten, the other person tries to turn the conversation into something with religion at the core. Since the separation of church and state is central to the foundation of our government, any attempt to prove correctness based on religious ideals is fundamentally incorrect. So no political conversations will be had on this blog. I don’t even do them in my normal social media; I read through all of the comments on other peoples’ posts, but seldom add a comment.

The other thing that is never going to see the light of day on this blog is a conversation about abortion. I have very strong views on abortion, and they begin and end with the fact that everyone’s body is their own and the government should stay the hell out of my uterus. I live in the Deep South, and it’s pretty often that I’m confronted with some billboard or bumper sticker about saving babies. The same people who put up those billboards are proud to be calling for cutting off welfare, and think nothing of stripping more money from the educational system every year. So they’re basically saying that because their religion dictates it, it’s fine to force women through unwanted pregnancies, only to destroy any hope the baby or mother might have of rising from poverty. Yeah, that’s an astounding amount of kindness and compassion, right there. What about you take all of that energy you’re wasting sticking your nose into other people’s reproductive rights, and put it to better use on bigger problems, like student loan debt, education, homelessness, global warming, or the safety of our food and water supplies?

I see nothing wrong with holding a specific belief on either side of either coin. Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, or anything in the middle, I have nothing against you or your beliefs. My beliefs are mine, yours are yours, and that’s that. What I do have a problem with is if you’re rude or uninterested in finding out more about the world. I have enough stress in my life without having to deal with trolls. That’s why I don’t discuss these issues here or anywhere…and why I’ll definitely be cutting off comments on this blog post. 🙂

I Can’t Watch…

This whole election thing is just too much. I’m retiring to a land of Redbox movie (The Raven) and bottle of wine (Apothic Red) to wait out the decision. Oy vey. Also, here’s a comic from Cyanide & Happiness that had me rolling laughing earlier today, and still makes me chuckle heartily.