It’s a shame that so many Americans are not aware of how the world sees them. They have such a high opinion of themselves and think that Parisians still piss in holes in the floor. They don’t see the sleek TGV’s racing across the French countryside, the modern architecture of European cities interspersed with communal gathering places of plazas and outdoor cafes.
They have no idea how embarrassing it is to know that the rest of the world is laughing behind their hands at American’s poor grasp of math and science, our denial of evolution and climate change, our total ignorance of who they think is the growing power in the world (they think it’s China).
Jane Caro, the social commentator from Australia says the world watches in horror as Americans roll back rights for women. That was a revelation to me. What Republicans are doing to women’s rights in this country is making the rest of the developed world’s women grateful that they don’t live here. We can’t blame that all on the GOP though. It was the way Democrats used sexism as a tool in the primary and general election campaigns, and fear of losing abortion as a cheap trick, that has accelerated the setback for women.
In general, we are looked on as stupid and greedy. But mostly stupid.
Our most conservative fundamentalists and “fools for Jesus” don’t particularly care. We can turn the rest of the world into a glass parking lot if anyone challenges us. Well, that ought to warm the cockles of everyone’s hearts. What makes us different from the Taliban at that point?
I’m only mentioning this because I’m sure there are people out there wondering why I spend so much time on fundamentalism and religious narcissism. I’m not anti-religious. There is no way I can peer into another person’s mind to discover what they believe or don’t believe. It’s none of my business as long as I’m left alone to follow my own conscience. I don’t have a problem with most practicing people. Most of them are good, charitable, kind and generous. But I do take issue with fundamentalists from any religious tradition.
When Obama pointed out that violent extremism is not limited to Muslims, I almost had a warm thought for him. Then it passed. But he’s got a point. What I really worry about is the fact that so many fundamentalist Christians have been conscripted into politics. They’ve been flattered and cajoled and have undermined what keeps us together as a nation. The Sovereign Citizen movement is one case in point. They’ve gone beyond states rights. They hold their children hostage, depriving them of citizenship. How is that different from owning slaves? What about taxes, their responsibility to vaccinate their children or any other obligation they have to the rest of us when times get tough? When they have so much power to drag the rest of us kicking and screaming back to the 19th century, they also have the power to reawaken the worst abuses of that era to the rest of us economically.
Going into the 2016 election, I worry that there won’t be a powerful antidote to fundamentalism or that the candidates will be too timid to take it on. Someone better think of something fast. The rest of us need to reassert our right to live in the modern world otherwise we could become the next threat to it.