Friday, May 14, 2010

Things I Don't Understand About America (part one)

This may need to be a multi-part series of posts, now that I think about it. Just as I was ruminating yesterday on some things I wanted to say here, this craziness with Arizona has been brought (more fully) to my attention, and I will have something to say about it yet. But for now, I need to get something off my chest that has been sitting there since I drove all the way down 185th behind a car with some interesting bumper stickers.

Among these bumper stickers, this one stood out:

"I'll treat YOUR President with the same respect you gave MINE"

Where to start with this one? Ok, well how about with the very basic concept of "your" President and "my" President. Now, correct me if I am wrong, because I am Canadian and there are still a lot of things about American politics I don't get (the electoral college - wait, the people voted him in but he didn't win? Head spinning) but even if you didn't vote for him, he's still your President. He won, and unlike in some situations I can think of, there was no question that he won.

The incredible sense of division in this country along political lines sometimes shocks me. Not that it doesn't exist in Canada, but the pure venom that I see aimed from one side to the other is just something I have never really encountered before.

I am at a loss as to how Americans can proclaim this the best country in the world and yet they can't even treat each other with respect, much less other nations. To stand up to the world as a supposed perfect example of democracy at work, while the country is so divided and can't even come together to support the man who is their democratically elected leader is laughable. Either you believe in democracy or you don't - and if you don't believe the system works and the man who won is therefore rightfully the President of the entire nation, you don't believe in democracy.

Yeah, I get that Bush supporters were probably a little tired of hearing about what a crappy President he was. But in a nation struggling with its worldwide reputation and major financial crisis, more political division is the last thing we need.

I am not even allowed to vote (although I can pay taxes, don't get me started) but I still acknowledge that while I live in this country as a legal resident, Obama is my President. "I didn't vote for him, so he's not my President" is childish, counter-productive, and downright idiotic. And it's sad. And it gets worse than that bumper sticker. I have seen Facebook groups indicating they hope and pray that President Obama dies. DIES. Where does this anger come from? To wish a man dead because you don't like his politics? Is that what this nation stands for? Because I thought killing for political beliefs was part of what America is trying to eradicate in other nations. Or, claims to be trying to eradicate - that's another post.

Now, I get freedom of speech and the right to political dissent. I am not denying anyone that right. I'm not naive and I don't expect everyone to get along. I guess I just wish it didn't have to be so painfully divided. I would like to think better could be expected from such a privileged, wealthy nation that has so much potential.

You really don't like Obama that much? May I suggest you go give North Korea a try? I suspect you'd be kissing Obama's feet in a week or so. I'm just saying is all.

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