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November 28, 2002

We Ought to be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. It's great that we have a national holiday centered on the idea that we express thanks for the good things in our lives. My friends and loved ones know I haven't sounded really thankful for much these days, what with all that's going on in our wonderful world. But today I'm going to try to get with the program, to climb aboard the USA happy train and express my thanks for all the great benefits I enjoy as a U.S. citizen. With no further ado, a very partial list of things I'm thankful for:

  • I'm thankful that so many stores are open today and that so many of them are running great sales and specials. Thanksgiving sucked when all the stores used to be closed and commerce basically stopped for a day. I mean, we actually had to spend time at home with our families and stuff, which was really a horrible way to spend a holiday compared to the joys of spending money and fighting through crowds at the mall. In fact, let me expand this to all holidays: I'm thankful that in the U.S. of A. I can basically shop 24-7-365. Just knowing that warms the cockles of my soul.
  • I'm thankful that turkeys can't breed on their own anymore and have to be artificially inseminated. This is just one example of our technical and business prowess for which I'm just inexpressibly thankful, really.
  • I'm thankful that Henry Kissinger will lead an investigation into 9-11-01 intelligence failures and whatnot. I'm sure he'll find the truth and tell us all about it.
  • I'm thankful that the American People can dislike the Republican agenda, but still like their Republican president who leads the agenda they dislike. Such baffling contradictions are among the things that make America great!
  • I'm thankful that satirists need permission to mock President Bush, and that the Candian official who called Bush a moron was fired. I'm thankful to live in the world that marches to the same drummer—unity is strength, I'm told.
  • I'm thankful that my elected representatives pass legislation they don't read and which protects giant corporations from lawsuits (and which, incidentally, also makes it easier than ever for my government to spy on me). Better yet, I'm thankful that no one seems to know where this legislation comes from. I mean, who cares who writes it; it must be good if the president says it is. Anyway, what kind of awful world would we be living in if we did not assiduously protect the rights and freedoms of corporations!?
  • I'm thankful that I'm free to go without health care if I can't find a good enough job that either pays for my care or pays me enough to pay for it myself. In other words, I'm thankful that my country allows me the freedom to suffer and die if I choose, since we all know that if I can't find and keep a good job in this "sagging" economy, or if for some reason I'm not healthy enough to work, that's my choice and my problem.
  • Related to the above, I'm thankful that we have a for-profit health care system that allows insurance, pharmaceutical, and other health-related corporations to profit from human sickness and misery. It's good to know that someone might get rich from my death—kind of a silver lining in that whole death cloud thing.
  • I'm thankful that my government is so vigilant about protecting U.S. access to global oil and ensuring that the price of a gallon of gas remains within my reach. On a related note, I'm glad those low gas prices allow my fellow Americans to drive extremely wasteful and inefficient vehicles which destroy the environment. I'm also glad that cheap gas gives federal, state, and local governments a good excuse not to develop quality mass transit options for people who might not want (or be able to afford) to drive everywhere. In other words: Thank God for cheap gas, amen!
  • I'm thankful that my country leads the world in the manufacture and sale of guns and other weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, aka weapons of mass distraction. So long as we continue to stoke the global fires of violence and war in this way, we can also continue to be thankful that our military and security industrial complexes are among America's strongest economic sectors. Making and selling the weapons that are used against us, then making and selling the weapons we'll use against the weapons we've already made and sold—it's a brilliant and self-perpetuating business cycle. So there's something else to be thankful for: American business ingenuity.
  • I'm thankful that my country's "defense" budget is practically larger than the military budgets of all other nations in the world combined. I'm thankful that this enormous budget for "defense" makes it impossible for my taxes to be spent on trying to prevent 15 million people from dying of starvation. I mean, who cares about mass famine and cycles of poverty when there are madmen like Saddam Hussein on the loose? I'm also thankful that my country's massive military budget means my taxes can't be spent here at home on improving education or health care in my own country, or on providing public funding for political campaigns, or on improving quality of life for our nation's homeless and indigent citizens. In other words, I'm glad that my government is so focused on the realthreats our country faces, and that no one in the U.S. is stupid enough to believe that ignorance, sickness, corrupt politics, or poverty are threats to our nation's "security."
  • And speaking of political campaigns, I'm thankful that you either have to be rich or deeply indebted to special interests in order to win a contest for public office in our country. Sure, public funding for political campaigns might allow candidates with good ideas rather than deep pockets to win elections, but I'm thankful that money wins every time. That's just the American way, and thank God for that!
  • I'm thankful that the media have been so quick to pick up on calling the U.S. "the homeland." Sure the term has Orwellian and even vaguely fascist overtones, but I'm glad no one seems worried about little things like that—we're at war, you know, so I'm thankful that we're able to stay focused.
  • Probably above all, since it sort of encompasses everything else here, I'm thankful that the politics of fear are so damned effective so I and my fellow Americans don't have to think about all the complicated nuances of what's happening in the world. I'm thankful that my nation's leaders treat us like idiots and children, reducing everything to simple good vs. evil rhetoric so we can just focus on that—we're good, they're evil—leaving us free to shop and consume and drive our SUVs without real concern about world events.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And God (or something/somebody) Bless America! (please?)

Posted November 28, 2002 01:14 PM | general politics

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