I have a question for my colleagues in Canada, “Why do you care about the United States?” I understand that it is kind of hard to avoid the United States. For one thing, as a country, we are kind of like evangelical Christians: we get into everyone else’s business. But still, if I lived in Canada, I would be gleeful to not have to think about my southern neighbor. That is assuming that the United States didn’t go all Canadian Bacon on me.
My great fear is that my Canadian friends find the US interesting in the same way that some members of my extended family enjoy The Jerry Springer Show. I fear this because I’m afraid that this is how the rest of the world looks at us. Whenever I travel, I get that idea. When I went to China last year, my host seemed to be making assumptions about me that I didn’t like. He was very nice—they always are! But I really wasn’t one of these guys who thinks that America is this vast bastion of freedom and China is the ultimate in repression. So rather than pregnant girls who don’t know which of 50 guys knocked her up, the United States offers pretentious twats who think we are superior to the rest of the world when we don’t have a clue what’s really going on in our own country.
But mostly, I’m incredibly bored with this country. Remember the article I wrote this morning about the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans think the the federal deficit is increasing? It’s really boring because it is exactly the way things have always been here. I freely admit that we don’t have much of a democracy here. And part of that is due to our political institutions. For example, we make it hard to vote. But mostly, our lack of democracy is the direct result of the people not demanding it. Now, if the people did demand it, maybe the power elite would then push back. That would be interesting. But as it is, it is just as The Class told us back in 1977:
I’m stuck with this country and very probably this government. And it isn’t like I’d be any less of a malcontent if I lived in Canada. But I’d like to think that I would give up on American politics. Unless it is like a drug. Maybe I only think that I’m interested in American politics because it directly affects me. Maybe it is just like I said above: I like the Jerry Springer aspect of it. I really don’t know. And maybe I’m being unfair because I clearly expect better of my Canadian colleagues than I do of myself.
Look: I know you have your Rick Santorums and Sarah Palins. You have your crack smoking mayors. You have your evil oil companies. But are we really the Greatest Freak Show on Earth? Let me check the Magic 8-Ball. Ah yes, “Signs point to yes.”