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Politics

FOR AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN…

Ah, America. What a place, what a place. No other like it. Invented by geniuses, populated by people from everywhere. Anyone can come here and become an American. Try that in France or Italy or Germany or England or China or just about every other place with the possible exceptions of Canada and Australia, two other nations peopled by immigrants, but still nowhere near as ethnically diverse as America. After several generations living in Germany, the descendants of Turkish immigrants will still be considered Turks, never Germans. You could never be Japanese if you lived there for a hundred generations. Yet in America any of these people could emigrate here and become Americans pretty quick.

Not that America's perfect, far from it, but to me it seems a lot less imperfect than other nations. Oh, I do my fair share of complaining about my country, mostly because I can. I also feel it is my duty as an American to point out when we fail to live up to our stated aims and goals. Our Founding Fathers set the bar pretty high, fairness and morality-wise, and I like to point that out from time to time. Thanks to them, I'm allowed to say what I think here, and nobody knocks on my door in the middle of the night to lock me up. That's not a universal condition in this world. Some governments are very touchy about what you can say in public and if they had their way they'd try to control your thoughts as well. The communists sure tried mightily to do just that with their various re-education camps and unceasing indoctrination of their hapless citizenry.

A lot of good it did them. The poster boy for Communism, The USSR, collapsed under its own ponderous weight. No one conquered them, no revolution toppled them. They just fell. The other Communist poster boy, The People's Republic of China, hasn't practiced actual Communism since the idiotic butcher Chairman Mao dropped dead. For a nation that spent untold energy in their early history condemning capitalism and ruthlessly indoctrinating their people into being good Communists they sure are world-class capitalist nowadays. The words and ideas they feared more than invading armies are now their operating credo.

But they still don’t quite get it. The Chinese government is still a bunch of murderous goons who repress their people and brutally punish any hint of opposition to their rule. While they still label themselves ardent communists dedicated to world-wide Marxism everybody knows it's only cynical lip service. Nowadays they know enough to let the incredibly energetic and industrious Chinese people engage in private enterprise and market competition, pretty much staying out of their way as they enrich a nation once impoverished by their policies. When they reclaimed Hong Kong, the Wall Street of the Orient, they didn't change a damned thing about it after yammering for years and how when the time came they would dismantle that decadent Western-influenced den of corruption and political incorrectness. The new

Chinese leaders didn't want to kill the cash cow.
They don’t rattle sabers their sabers at anyone now because if you go to war with someone, who will buy all the stuff you‘re manufacturing? So I suppose the decadent West comes in handy these days as valued customers instead of bogey men to scare your people, apparently none of whom were fooled by the gibberish the “Communist” overlords fed them. So today, I call them what they are, a repressive Capitalist regime of elderly cynical thugs whistling in the dark as far as the longevity of their regime. I have a feeling the People’s Republic (a misnomer of there ever was one) will go the way of the USSR if they get in the way of their billion and change citizens once too often.

There’s a ton of nations sharing this spinning stone we call Earth, 192 at the last United Nations roll call, probably more to come very shortly judging by the various wars and ethnic-cleansing campaigns that seem to never cease. There are governments in this world that seem to exist for no other reason than to exterminate a goodly portion of their own populations for no good reason at all. Not that there could ever be a good reason go do so, but these savages tell you with a straight face how it is their solemn duty to rid the world of (a.) people of a different tribe but who look just like their tormentors, (b.) people of a different religion or a slight variation of their own religion, (c.) people who actually have the unmitigated gall to have a different skin color, (d.) people with different political views than the powers that be or (e.) all of the above. Other nations, a whole lot of them, enslave and marginalize their women! How barbaric is that? How much of a weasel do you have to be to fear your women? What sort if issues do those guys have? I don’t really want to know.

Governments like the ones described above pretty much explain why people from all over the planet come here to live. It’s been like that since Day One here In the United States. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty even codifies our policy: “Give me your poor, your hungry, your wretched refuse, your yearning masses longing to breathe free…” Wretched refuse? We take wretched refuse here? Yeah, we do. Says so right there on the plaque, wretched refuse, come on in. Next! Doesn’t sound like too stringent of an admission policy, does it?

Don’t forget, a good many of our own foreign-born forebears were considered just that by people already in residence here. You could look it up. And guess what? They built this nation and produced presidents, statesmen, scientists, artists, generals, captains of industry, labor leaders, entertainers, inventors, engineers, authors, reformers, philosophers and the countless ordinary Joes and Janes who continue to build this place and keep it running. Wretched refuse, my butt!

Yet another reason to love America. This country is the most successful nation ever and its citizens enjoy an unprecedented portion of freedom and opportunity. This is the country that gave the world Rock & Roll, Jazz, Blues, aviation, microchips and George Foreman Grills. Okay, the George Foreman Grills are not exactly earth-changing concepts like Henry Ford’s assembly lines to provide the average man with an automobile, but they’re pretty neat. The ideas we have can’t all be winners. Lemon scented toilet paper and reality TV shows come to mind.

But I digress, as often I do. What I want to say is that the American people are an incredibly good bunch of people, as friendly and generous and caring as you could hope to find. While this country may have its flaws and problems and make some blunders along the way, we’re at least going somewhere. The journey and the goal is to attain the ideals outlined in our Constitution; liberty and justice for all. Historically we’ve not shied away from discussing our flaws and correcting them. No reason not to continue that habit.

The country that invented itself is always in the process of re-invention and discovery, the one sure way to avoid the social stagnation and spiritual inertia that plagues much of the planet. So call me a numbskull if you disagree with me, I often deserve it. It is also your sacred right as an American to do so, a right many people have laid down their lives to preserve. And let’s keep arguing amongst ourselves, tweaking the mechanisms of freedom and opportunity and enjoying the spicy gumbo of individuals that makes this country the true People’s Republic.

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