Thursday, February 11, 2010

Betty White for President!

Sometimes it does get discouraging when you are bombarded with lack of progress on issues like health care reform, education, debt, LGBT equality, the economy, environment etc etc....I guess I am just discouraged by American Politics in general. Obviously Holland is not the most controversial or powerful country in the world so maybe I am living in a bubble. It seems like being here (outside of the U.S.) I am being de-programmed. When I turn on CNN American edition and hear the political news I guess the best description I can give is exasperation or disgust.....uuughhh! I try not to watch.

I can share with you that one of the interesting things that I have watched while being here in Holland are several Euro/BBC channels that often show documentaries about various reports or worldly issues. I have caught several about inner cities like in Miami, Cleveland, the Crystal Meth problem in America, the response to Katrina before and after (which apparently still is FAR from recovered), american obesity, ("The Biggest Loser" is big here), racism, immigration, medical care in America, poverty and more (all about America!). They, of course, do other reports about other issues in other countries as well, but my point is, that it is weird being outside the US and seeing and hearing a non-American view of "issues" in the U.S. They do reports about America like we do about Africa, Haiti, and war torn regions! Can you believe that? Issues that, as an American, I kind of "knew" about but thought did not compare to the other problems in the world. (We are the greatest country in the world right?) Issues that we kind of sweep under the rug or sugar coat, or our political system acknowlegdes but ignores the gravity of! Issues that other people in the world are finding shocking and horrifying. They ask me about them. Seeing it from a non-american perspective is disturbing. I want to deny that Amercia has real problems. America is still the best!

At dinners some Europeans have brought these documentaries and American "so called" problems up to me (or things they read or saw) and my instinct is to defend America. How dare they criticize America? How dare they point out problems in America? America is the greatest country on earth! (right? I was told that. We are told that! All the time! God is blessing America. We ARE great! right? we are! right?) I dare not say this too often because one time (slightly tipsy) I said it and was brought back down to the level of the rest of the earth when I was asked "why do Americans feel the need to say we are greatest all the time, especially to ourselves? How do we think that saying that makes other countries want to respect us or work with us more?" In fact, and brace yourself my fellow Americans, I was told..... "No. No not really. No. America is not the greatest country on earth. It might have been. It still maybe could be and it is beautiful, some parts, like the Grand Canyon, New York, Route 66 but, no, it isn't actually the greatest country on earth". I was DEVASTATED! Almost as devastated as I was when I realized that most Europeans do not know who Joan Rivers is. Can you believe that? To make matters worse the Europeans involved in the "conversation", were able to factually and eloquently, give a list of major problems the U.S. had and as an added stinger, they were able to eloquently do this in their native language as well as in English for me, the under-educated American. Plus I am pretty sure most of them could have done it in at least one other languauges as well. My biggest weapon of the evening was the old faithful... well we saved you in World War II! A low blow but I was desperate.

I will admit when I am alone and watch, read or hear the issues and lack of progress being made in America and the principles or top issues being debated on CNN, FOX, MSNBC and the glorification / exploitation of this slow as snail paced game called American politics by the media (and of course politicians) I get so angry at America too! The Europeans aren't insulting America they are just seeing what is really there and I am the one who needs to take the blinders off my eyes and....and....what then? Cry? Be thankful I am no longer there?....Scream WHAT THE "F" ? I love being an American! But, and I never thought I would say this, but maybe Sarah Palin is right....America is getting ready for a revolution. (I think her comment of a revolution starting was one of the things she had scribbled on her hands at her most recent tea party rally. Ugh!) Look, I don't want an American Revolution and I don't think she and I will be on the same side but.... them is fighting words Sarah!.... so ..on!

WAIT! See? I just got sucked into this stupid two party political BS cycle! I allowed Sarah Palin's performance (aka a "speech") to get me so riled up (Good Lord! A person I had never even heard of three years ago should not have that power over me)....Ugh!

What a lovely recent addition Sarah Palin has been to the american game called politics! And, who, by the way is very hard to explain / defend againist with the rest of the western world....Ugh!

I resent the fact that as an American I have to choose a side. Either the red team or the blue team. That is where we are at. Choose the lesser of two evils. When it comes down to it, I only have two choices. Why? I want more choices! How can this be changed? Well not with an Independent, that is for sure! We know that if you vote for Nader, a Republican wins. If we vote for Perot the Democrats no Independent should DARE enter the race. Is there a way to legally get rid of the Democrats and Republicans? Maybe if Oprah ran? Or how old is Shirley Temple? What are her views I wonder? Maybe she can appeal to both sides. Oh! Betty White! Everyone loves Betty White. Betty White for President! I am desperate here!

One last thing. The other day I saw an interview on CNN about the nastiness of american politics and how regular Americans at protests, as well as politicians, were being lewd, nasty, threatening, out of control and crossing the line with their protests and frustrations. Both Democrats and Republicans. CNN had their Democratic and Republican analysts, Donna Brazil and Mary Matlin, both admitting that this was all getting way out of control (yet still saying their side was less guilty than the other side..ugh!) but they both agreed it was getting bad and needed to be taken down a notch... AND then...right at the end....there was this little giggly personal moment between the two analysts and the CNN anchor where they said ..."Should we tell them?..... No let's not tell our secrets! .... (the anchor) Oh come on tell us? Well You know what we do after this, usually we go out for a nice dinner together and let all this go while we share a nice bottle of wine."..... OF COURSE THEY DO! They are making a mint off it! They should be celebrating. They are thriving off of this! .... As long as they keep promoting this see saw of a battle THEY win! It is shameful!

Where is the Dalai Lama? He can help! I need to spend some spiritual time with him! Oh... WAIT.... poor guy is caught up in negotiations with the White House who is negotiating with China over whether he can visit Obama because the Chinese don't like him and will take it out on the U.S. and Republicans don't like the Chinese and need Obama to look bad so they can win the next election so they want him to ...oh ...ugh ...never mind! Will someone please call me if there is a revolution about to start? I am going out for some dutch chocolate sprinkles.


  1. I had the benefit of growing up with a mother from another country, so I never had the same concept of America being the greatest and best. I think it's gone a long way in letting me adjust fairly well here. It's all such a balancing act these days. One country might be better in some areas, while another tops the charts in another. America's a great country; it's just not the end all and be all. ;)

    Oh, and politics in general, don't get me started! It's taking me a while to wrap my head around some of the diferences here, but in general I like the idea of having lots of different parties. They have to then create coalitions among themselves in order to get things done. If I could vote here, my idea has leaned toward voting for a party a bit further on the left than I would usually vote for, just to try to balance out any extreme right-wing party votes. I like that that's an option here that doesn't exist in our predominantly two-party system in the US.

    Oh, did you see the bit that Stephen Colbert did recently about Palin's "hand-written" speech? Hilarious!

  2. Oh yeah- seeing 'us' from another perspective was an eye opener for me the first few years. I also grew up with an immigrant parent so we didn't really have the whole America is the Greatest, either. But we are bombarded with that sentiment, huh?

    After being here almost 10 years I have finally come to somewhat of a happy balance. There is no perfect place and for as many issues as the US has, so does the EU. The US could learn *a lot* about how to have a happy society (health care, child care and work/life balance)and Holland could learn a bit about not taking things for granted and being passive. Europe has it's share of close minded peeps stuffing themselves with fast food and staring at the television ;)

    I've had some fantastic/heated conversations with Dutch folks about the differences between our countries(usually these are people who have been there or read beyond crap news sites) and some with folks who only base their knowledge on stereotypes and soundbites. Same-same in a lot of ways. I do cringe whenever I see the best of the worst the US has to offer though!

  3. I guess being from Texas maybe but just sort of in general as an American I am kind of expected to say that America is the greatest country. We are sort of bombarded with that. We are part of a few that have (for what ever reason) had to leave America which gives us a different insight. I posted this on facebook and kind of got a lot of defensive comments about me criticizing America. I hope I can still be allowed to comeback!?!

  4. Just read your blog, All I can say is America is America and it can not make everyone happy.
    We just make the most of it, I agree to some of what you say. Remember Texas is its own County