Over the weekend I found another Facebook Group that I probably should leave. It’s called “f*cking funny,” but I think some of the people in the group choose to view the first word as a verb rather than an adjective, and they leave off the second entirely.
I’m in some Flying Spaghetti Monster groups, and a few Liberal Atheist groups, even though I’m more Agnostic than Atheist, because I go to those groups and I feel a sense of “These are my people.” People who see the world the way I do, people who make jokes I find funny. And then, every now and then, I have to go to some group that has a few of those people, but also has a larger world. I have to emerge from my safe little microcosm and explore the frustrating world of people who would vote for Donald Trump, or who believe races shouldn’t mix, or that “Anyone could do a better job than the ape we have in office now.” And I feel my blood start to boil, and I think, “The subject of the photograph below is a better human being than some of these people.”
So, one of the comments from the Trump Fanatic Gallery is that “He will put us back on top.” Because we wanna be on top! Which had me thinking “on top of what, exactly?”
Here in the United States, it’s all a competition. We must be bigger, better, brighter than the rest of the world. We must run faster. We must be shinier. If we don’t have the mightiest military, we are a failure. We will be invaded, and the next thing you know, those darned foreigners will be running the show, taking away our freedom! And our guns! And our opportunity to remain the fattest country on earth!
I want to take a moment to think about some of those foreign countries, particularly the foreign countries that offer their residents (and even in some cases, foreigners!) a free college education.
When I ran a Google search, these were the countries that came up:
Now, none of these countries are known for their military prowess these days, are they? But they are rarely invaded. Yes, France has had a few terrorist attacks in recent years. Brazil has certainly had its problems. They provide a second-rate education based on theology. I don’t want to go there!
Germany fights racism, but then, we can’t exactly throw stones here, can we? My daughter wants to go to Germany for its free tuition and for the life experience. We’re looking into it, though I’m not really sure it would be safe. Too much Neo-Nazism.
What about Slovenia? To be fair, Slovenia is drowning in Debt, Greek style. So we don’t want to emulate them, now do we?
But Norway, Sweden and Finland… It’s difficult to find many problems in Norway, even when you ask the natives. Sweden’s biggest problem seems to be that everyone flees from horrific conditions in other countries to the asylum that Sweden provides, and maybe crime is a teensy bit higher as they take in so many. But stop and think about that for a moment – everyone wants to live in Sweden, despite cold temperatures. Finland is experiencing some financial issues, too. But they are minor, nothing like our recent recession.
So, perhaps we can’t emulate any of these countries, perhaps we shouldn’t be copying any of them.
But why do we have to be “back on top?” What exactly does that mean? That we can waltz in where ever, whenever, and bully our way into acceptance? Do we really want to be the bully of the world?
Or would we rather be the good neighbor? Would we rather just be the best America we can be? Would we rather work on educating and encouraging our people to create and invent? Because the thing about holding on to the past is that it prevents people from looking into the future. When you read the same book over and over, you are missing out on so many other lovely, thought-provoking books.
Do we really believe that returning to 1955 will make us “the King of the World”? Do we want to be?
Uneasy lies the Head that Wears the Crown.
-William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part II