Posted by: ithacaisdoomed | July 11, 2010

I’m Proud to Be an American, Where at Least I Know I’m Free?

Americans are looking to be cheered up. The signs are all around. How else to explain the short-lived, but vigorous World Cup Fever that overtook an American public normally apathetic about soccer, or shall I say, “le football”? Last night, as I watched our local fireworks display, on Canada Day incidentally, the action was hot and heavy with what seemed like fireworks shooting machine guns going off for 10 minutes straight during the Grand Finale. I’ve never seen anything like it. Around here, at least.
America could certainly use some cheer. A foreign company has effectively stalemated us in the War on the Environment. The UN is actively calling for the dollar to be replaced as the Global Reserve Currency. The Too Big to Fail Banks, such as Wachovia , that just received a tax payer funded bailout are laundering money for Mexican drug traffickers.  And the entertainment industry whose principal purpose is to keep us distracted from our existential anguish with summer blockbusters has only tepid remakes of bad 1980’s TV shows to offer us like some sort of lame consolation prize.

"Cheer up, fool!"

In honor of this Fourth of July, here are some reasons to be proud to be an American, or at least glad that you don’t live in some worse off country. Though, Ecuador is looking better all the time
1) Homeschooling is legal and the number of homeschooling families is growing every year.
When compulsory attendance laws were first introduced in 1647, in Massachusetts, brave citizens were ready to fight off the government at gunpoint for the right to educate their own children. Now, the same Teabaggers who are ready to fight off government-run health care at gunpoint happily send their children to be brainwashed at a State Run DayCare Facility and pay the taxes to support it. It could be worse, though. You could live in a country where homeschooling is either illegal or so difficult to do that it might as well be illegal, such as Germany, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, or Japan. In Germany, your only alternative to a state school is Waldorf education, a system invented by whacked out egghead philosopher Rudolph Steiner and originally intended for poor factory workers’ children. I don’t know about you, but anything intended for the “poor factory worker’s children” immediately makes me highly skeptical. So be happy you’re an American! You could live in Germany and your kids could be making fairies out of wool and dancing around a Maypole for their education.
2) You could live in a country where the water supply has been privatized and it is illegal or you need a permit from the State to collect rainwater. In Bolivia, a subsidiary of Bechtel Corporation pressured the government to require private landowners to get a permit in order to collect rainwater on their own land. In the developing world, multimillion dollar corporations are trying to seize public water supplies and force consumers to purchase their “product” by making it illegal to collect rainwater. Sadly, this practice is not limited to the third world: In California, multimillionaires with connections to Big Agribusiness are trying to privatize the water supply of southern California.  In many Western states, such as Utah and Washington, it remains illegal to collect rainwater. So if you’re lucky to live in a state like New York, where you can harvest rainwater to your heart’s content, be glad for your rights and do everything you can to safeguard them. Back when Ithaca’s water supply was privatized, in the good ol’ Libertarian 19th century, water-borne illnesses like Typhoid were rampant. Let’s not allow this to happen again.

3) You won your independence from England!  Be glad!  It may seem like civil liberties have eroded substantially in America over the past 10 years (well, you’re right), but at least you’re not English, where Closed Circuit Television Cameras spy on every corner of the country.  According to the Wikipedia entry on “surveillance society

“As of Feb 2010, many larger cities in the UK now have CCTV in which if an operator spots anything illegal or troubling, they are able to speak through the cameras via loudspeaker into the street, and some also have microphones to allow them to hear what the public are saying. Also many suburbs and areas that don’t have permanent CCTV are now patrolled with state-owned CCTV vehicles which have CCTV cameras attached to the roof of the vehicle

Now, that’s just creepy! America is vast, hopefully too vast to cover with CCTV cameras.

Additionally, England is starting to catch up with America in terms of rates of obesity, alcoholism, and drug addiction. One in four Britons are now considered obese.  While the USA is still number one in FAT, with 30.6% of the population considered obese, England is running neck and neck with Mexico for the number two slot.  Just give them Wal-Mart and they’ll be set. 

So this 4th of July, remember to celebrate your freedoms.  Most of the a-holes who mouth off about “freedom” would really just impose their own fundamentalist version of sharia on everyone else.  In light of this, it seems doubly important that we counter their hypocrisy with a genuine appreciation for how free we truly are…or at least a tip of the hat to the fact that it could be a lot worse…



  1. Along these lines:

    I don’t think Jay had to work very hard to find these people. There is a brief glimmer of hope with “grandpa” but, alas, he will soon be gone and we will be left with the rest.

    When people can’t recall even the simplest “facts” about our collective story, we are probably in worse shape than I thought.

    More than Ithaca is doomed…

    Probably for the best, though.

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