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?"