Look at our media and entertainment industries. Yes, wonderful films, music and books are still being created, but look at the mainstream, look at what sells, look at what influences! Flip through the channels on your TV for a few minutes, look at the people, the real and the created. Do you want to be like them? Do you respect them? More importantly, would you as an American, feel comfortable with someone from another country thinking that you might be even remotely like them? Of course there are exceptions, but the vast majority of our popular drama, talk shows and news programs (and that’s a whole other rant) are populated by buffoons and morons and they are glorified for being such. The adage of “if it bleeds it leads” is true in the news media more than ever. Even 19 years ago when I was living in The Netherlands for the summer I was embarrassed to be American at times and very happy that I was often mistaken for being British (partially because unlike most American tourists I could speak properly). Our entire popular culture is obsessed with violence, crime and the horrors that we do to each other. There are people that feel the same way that I do, but we are in a clear minority. I sense a growing divide in our culture, one that will inevitably come to some sort of a head in the not too distant future. The problem with that is that we will lose. We are outnumbered, we have no power to change things and we will be either social outcasts or worse. Dystopian fiction has dealt with this subject for decades and I’m not treading any new ground here, I know. However writing about it, to the select audience that is interested in it will accomplish nothing.
For the first time, I’m thinking about giving up my American citizenship. When I was younger I was so proud to be American, I am no longer. I’m angry about it, I’m embarrassed and I’m sad that this country is going further and further in the direction it is. The most logical destination for me is Canada of course. I have family there, I have friends there and I truly enjoy being there. Canadians seem to be far less obsessed with the same sorts of things that are consuming the American popular idiom. The standard of living is identical, the government (although I’m not as familiar with it as I should and might need to be) is far less interventionalist and open minded. Racism and homophobia are not quite so prevalent, and crime is a tiny percentage of what we Americans have become accustomed to. The land is more unspoiled and there is plenty of it. The government supports the arts and sciences to a far greater degree and these things are more greatly valued by the people. Certainly I’m going to have to give this a lot more thought, but I’m thinking more and more that this is a very good idea. Another old adage is if you can’t beat them, join them. I simply can’t do that. I can’t beat them, so I think I might have to leave.
and yeah, this is a rare public post for me for a couple of reasons. First, if anyone surfs it randomly I’d be amused to hear the dissent. Secondly, I know some people do still read my LJ even though they took me off their lists ages ago and I think this is important and I’m just vain enough to believe that.