Sunday, April 1, 2012

GOP Hate Causes American Problems, While Europe is So Cool


I read a diary post this morning, written by an American who lives in Germany, which purports that life across the European continent is similar for all, and certainly better than in the USA, a place from which he "survived" to become an expat. Over time, through numerous posts, this diarist seems duty bound to argue from his German perch that Europe is somehow a better place, and America is to be admonished because of its problems.

Today, we are told, Republicans cause the problems. They are a scourge and hate Progressives more than they love America, so much that they want to bring us the scenario of "The Hunger Games," a story of a post-apocalyptic world controlled by a highly advanced metropolis that holds absolute power, where children are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.

I do not support Republicans in most of what they say, but do black and white approaches that demonize generally help to resolve issues? Or do they help reinforce preconceived notions and take us farther away?

When some say the GOP hates Progressives more than they love America, I ask myself if they have considered how much Progressives hate the GOP? More than they love America? To read the prevailing Progressive narrative, one would think only the GOP engages in hate and only Progressives love America. 

Surely, America is a mess, but to me the truth is that both of the political parties have contributed, and we kid ourselves to believe it is just the other side.

I was also interested to see how easily a work of fiction, made for profit and entertainment, can be used to paint, in black and white, a complicated world, showing how subject people are to manipulation. Many who think they know better are no less immune from being indoctrinated by simple narratives that push their buttons.

As to the substance of the diary, that America is not fair and needs to improve, there are few among the readers unaware that other industrialized nations provide broader health coverage than in the USA. Or that average and especially poor Americans are under the gun economically. Yet there has been little concern for the vulnerable, in truth, and much more focus on the IPhone than on poverty, by Democrats and Republicans alike. Why pretend otherwise, as if one side has done so great and it's the fault of everyone else?

Yes, America has many problems that rise from the pull between liberty and equality. But the perception from a relatively secure, wealthy environment is perhaps skewed? So far as I know, the European economic picture is in its own shambles, particularly in places removed from the wealthier regions. Europe is not just Germany, but Belarus, Spain, Georgia, Kosovo and Greece, too. Just under the surface, across the continent are racial, ethnic, religious and political tensions that appear far more threatening than what exists in the USA. There is a growing democracy deficit occasioned by the EU, and a climate of human rights and tolerance where freedom of expression has become a criminal activity. 

Europe does some things fine. Good for Europe. But does that really have to do with American inequities? I would rather fix what is wrong here, absent demonization that makes progress virtually impossible, than be like Europe as it presently exists, or to imply that it is so much better because an expat in Germany has health care coverage. Europe has problems galore and and is in no less trouble than the USA, and perhaps much more so than many critics surmise.

(Cross-posted at oldschooltwentysix)


  1. Heh, it always amazes me when people imagine the real world can be explained by, as you say, a "simple narrative." The "America is turning fascist, " police state types amuse me. They obviously have no idea what REAL fascism is like nor what real police states are like.

    Historical reading will tell us that America (or any inserted state) has been falling apart forever. In the end the lesson is that there will ever be ustopians and dystopians whose polemics do little to solve problems but much to agitate the chicken littles among us.

  2. Part of what turned me off the American Left is the ugliness and extremism of the base.

    I have never seen such hatred in all my life.

    1. Ditto. Not healthy either.

    2. btw,

      I am basically out this week.

      I do not have a computer and am operating off of Laurie's laptop for a brief period in the evenings.

      I am happy to see Geofff finally front page material, but I am unable to really edit anything until I get my computer back.