Monday, April 26, 2010

Dada Redux

I've come to view the United States as a kind of nation-sized lunatic bin. Oh, it's staff is lenient enough about allowing patients to leave the asylum, but getting back in isn't so easy. You see, you must be delusional at minimum, totally nuts is best, to actually be allowed residency herein. ~Dada

NOTE: The following blog was originally posted here last July. I'm reprinting it in celebration of Arizona's new immigrant crackdown bill signed into law by its governor, Jan Brewer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you see a barber shop sporting a sign like this in its front window, and ....

...... if you choose to actually go inside and get a haircut in this shop pro-
fessing it's mock patriotism in this way, you might want to avoid any dis-
cussion of politics with your barber until
he's finished cutting your hair.

Sadly this lite, one-third-the-calories, less filling platitude is what has become of the intention of the original, full-bodied wisdom, to wit, "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right," as expounded by Senator Carl Shurz in October 1899 (and my instructor, Peter C. Hinde in his class last Monday, The Ongoing Revolution: Latin America vs. U.S. Imperial Foreign Policy).

Country, right or wrong, is the inbred cousin of "America, Love It Or Leave It" as espoused by simplistic self-professed patriotic blowhards, many who can be heard daily, M-F, on radio airwaves nationwide inducing millions of their listeners into somnambulistic trance-like states. If very lucky (or unlucky?) you can sometimes spot such proclamations proudly displayed on the ass-ends of their vehicles. It's curt, somewhat threatening, and totally vacuous.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, another of those studies that reveal such things as the healthiest, the happiest, the greenest -- whatever -- place to live on Earth has come out.

This one comes from the "nef -- economics as if people and the planet mattered" website (which is kind of a misnomer as they hint, because people really don't matter). Entitled The Happy Planet Index 2.0, it declares Costa Rica and its citizens as having "the highest life satisfaction in the world, have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas (second only to Canada) and have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of ‘one-planet living’: consuming its fair share of the Earth’s natural resources."

Sadly, the United States which was 37th in the World Health Organization's ranking of national health systems (France was #1 on that one), didn't do nearly as well in the Happy Planet Index. The U.S. came in a dismal 114th!

That makes it all the more important to remember that barbershop sign, "Our country right or wrong!" which, using that blind patriotism, makes it easier to accept such disappointing U.S. rankings I suppose. "Don't question it, just accept it," right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A recent article entitled The El Paso miracle, "How can a comparatively poor, high-immigration town that sits across the border from super-violent Ciudad Juarez be one of the safest big cities in America?" Originally printed at Reason.com, I found this one of particular interest, residing as I do, in El Paso. And it makes some points worth pondering.
  • El Paso is ranked as the third safest big city in the U.S. Sharing the border with its sister city Juarez, Mexico, one of the most violent cities on Earth (ongoing drug war), makes this even more remarkable.
  • And, if you can take one more study, "Men's Health magazine recently ranked El Paso the second 'happiest' city in America, right after Laredo, Texas --another border town, where the Hispanic population is approaching 95 percent."
The article ponders of El Paso, "So how has this city of poor immigrants become such an anomaly?" and concludes by saying, "Actually, it may not be an anomaly at all. Many criminologists say El Paso isn't safe despite its high proportion of immigrants, it's safe because of them"! Good stuff to think about, which I did.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So harkening back to the barbershop platitude, "Our country right or wrong!" and that other, "America, love it or leave it," it seems obvious such blind patriotism has arisen from mostly native born Americans who have become complacent and lazy in their thinking.

As Senator Carl Shurz assured us back in 1899, “I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country—when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”

But he was wrong. Hiding behind cheap and empty jingles, it appears we no longer recognize or appreciate true patriotism.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"America, Love it or Leave It!" No, instead, Dada has a suggestion: "America, Everyone Get the Hell Out!" Yes, I'm thinking all of us, save for its original inhabitants, Native Americans, should be deported. No exceptions. And our present overseers from Washington, D.C. should be in the vanguard of all of us leaving.

Perhaps then, those who really love it will try to make it back (unless they end up deported to someplace like France, Costa Rica, or Denmark -- the world's "happiest nation") and decide to stay. But be warned! It won't be an easy return for many.

There are a lot of unscrupulous people just waiting to take advantage of you in your desperation to cross back into the U.S. of A. And remember, if entering via our southern border, it can be particularly deadly since our "old government," before being deported, decided the placing of water jugs in the 100+ degree deserts to aid you in your survival are now illegal, considered littering instead of humanitarian aid. (Whether Native Americans will continue that policy or not is unknown. They may decide to make it as difficult as possible for us to return.)

But I trust those who do choose to return and who do manage to survive the hazards and make it back just might gain a new lucidity and renewed appreciation for the United States. Maybe they won't content themselves with being in 37th place in health, 23rd in happiness, or a 114th in satisfaction. Maybe with their renewal of forgotten appreciations will come a new love for the nation they have rediscovered -- at the expense of empty cliches of 'right or wrong' or 'love it or leave it.'



No comments: