Thursday, 21 January 2010

Americans - what the **** is wrong with them?

My generally positive view of our cousins in the rebellious colonies - which rose sharply a year ago with the election to the highest office in the land of a man whose intelligence placed him well above the cnidarians for a change - has taken a double whammy in the past 24 hours.

I mean, I'm not, deep down, anti-American. I love many things about the United States (in America), not least among them jazz; the optimistic, can-do attitude; Neil Shubin; the Marx Brothers and much else. But there are times when you have to wonder.

Whammy No 1: A firm supplying gunsights for US and UK troops in Afghanistan is putting Bible references on their products. I mean, Shrubya calling the war on terror "a Crusade" was bad enough; handing a propaganda victory to anyone who wants to see things in black-and-white 'clash of religions' terms is just downright stupid. Furthermore, do the fundamentalists at Trijicon realise how dangerous it is to hand such an obvious feedline to people like me? New Testament sniper sights? I mean, come on guys... "I am the night-vision goggles of the world"..."'WWJD?' 'Aim off a little to the right to allow for the wind'"...

I am not a Christian as such, although I do sing in church for the music. As such, I've heard quite a lot of the Bible and seem to remember JC being quoted saying things like 'turn the other cheek', 'blessed are the peacemakers' and 'put up your swords'. I've honestly never hear the bits from the Sermon on the Mount in which His followers are reminded to conceal themselves against a light background to make muzzle-flash less obvious or told "blessed are they who aim high at long distances to allow for gravity acting on the round".

And one final thing - if the founder of Trijicon was so devout a Christian, shouldn't he have found something other than weapons to make?

Whammy No 2: And then, the people of Massachusetts managed to go one better and elect a Republican senator, almost guaranteeing that health-care reform will be mired in an insanely complex and expensive legislative gridlock. How come - and I ask this in a spirit of affectionate puzzlement - when Bush brought forward major policy initiatives like "invade Iraq", "remove all environmental protection" and "let our Wall Street cronies smeg up much of the global economy", Congress sat supine and allowed them through on the nod; yet will fight tooth-and-nail to oppose Obama's big idea of "shouldn't it be possible for the world's richest nation to provide afforable medical care for all its citizens?"


M C Ward said...

Fine words, and I'm with you on the bemusement. I'm beginning to get the feeling the devouter the follower, the less humane the human - in praising the Higher Power they seem to forget their fellow man.

Could it be that healthcare reform is unpopular because nobody will be making the megabucks from it that is generated by the arms industry / environmental sceptics?

Gadjo Dilo said...

America can indeed sometimes be scary. Misusing religious or philosophical ideas is sickening - heck, even the Nazi army had "God With Us" inscribed on their belt buckles.

No Good Boyo said...

Pull yerself tergether, man! Thinker Reynaud de Chastillon!

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

There is basic healthcare in the USA for those without insurance. It's just very, VERY, basic. I know somebody who's unable to obtain any health insurance in Belgium, despite being from another EU country. So much for the European Social Model.

Gyppo Byard said...

Sr Ward - I'm with you on both points. On the second, one is reminded of Tom Lehrer's line about a medical friend "who specialised in diseases of the rich". Cynical, but accurate.

Gadjo bor - Americans in general I like (my PhD supervisor was - and still is - a super chap, for instance); highly religious Americans scare the **** out of me.

Boyo - I may resurrect the 'Colonel of the Month' feature to do Raynald de Chatillon as an honorary precursor to the type. Anyone who holds discussions with *his own side's* religious leaders by stripping them naked, smearing with honey and nailing them to their own roof can't be all bad. I fodly imagine that his last words - just before Saladdin's swinging scimitar severed his cervical spine - were "Well I thought that all went rather well!"

Dapphers - I stand corrected; although re Europe isn't the point of the deal that he (or she) could claim the same level of healthcare in Belgium that a Belgian could in his or her own country, to deter health tourism?