stroke it…stroke it real good…
If you are like me, you know at least a few Americans that you call your friends.
And if you are like me, you occasionally catch them saying things like “America is the greatest country on earth”, or that “America stands for democracy, everywhere”, or other jingoistic nonsense.
Often they can’t help themselves, especially if they are young, for they have had this daily dose of pablum fed to them since kindergarten.
They will say things like America is the most advanced country in the world – but you can usually stop them in their tracks by saying that Canada has universal health care. Or, that we don’t have to register ourselves to vote. Just being a Canadian means that you get to vote.
Or, that we have, per capita, 1/10th of their poverty levels.
Or, per capita, 1/10th of their crime rates.
Now, if your friends are Republican, then they don’t care how great your country actually is, because, well, God is on their side – and that makes them even more great. End of story.
If they are Democrats, they usually shuffle their feet and apologize for their political state of affairs, that they have had at least one mass shooting per day, every day, of 2015. But America was once great, they will tell you, and it will be great again!
I think of all this, because today I read that there has been a federal ban on scientific research into gun violence in America, and the ban just had its 20th anniversary.
There has been a mass shooting every day this year, yet, no one can get federal money to research the problem.
Just when I think I know what stupid means, I read something like this, and realize I have to rewrite my dictionary once again.
I don’t know why Americans love their guns more than masturbation but they do. It’s like when I meet a Russian and they say they are proud to be a Russian, and I ask them why would someone be proud to be a Russian?
And you get that weird awkward silence.
Why do so many Americans love to settle their problems with guns? Canadians have just as many guns per capita as Americans do – but we rarely go out and shoot up the joint.
Our yearly national gun crime statistics are little more than a bad weekend in Chicago.
What I especially don’t understand is how little concern there is for the gun problem by most American politicians.
They are like frogs in a pot of water – the water is getting hotter, but they don’t seem to notice – until one day, someone walks into their local McDonalds and shoot the place up.
None of my American friends seem to know why their compatriots love their guns. They just know they do.
Perhaps its the 60 million people living in poverty. Or, the 60 million who only have part-time jobs. That the minimum wage is like $8 an hour. Maybe its the lack of mental health services. The cost of health care. The lack of maternity leave.
Maybe it’s the fact that every one of your presidents in the last 150 years has invaded a foreign country. Maybe domestic violence is the price of Empire.
Whatever the web of reasons, there has been yet another mass shooting, 31 families have been ripped apart, politicians diddle their thumbs, and doctors and scientists who wish to study the problem continue to be muzzled.
And when politicians muzzle little inconvenient truths, little inconvenient truths find a way to bubble to the surface…