In response to Old New Lefty’s Open Call, I thought I would provide some of my own perception of America and the world.
DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind; I am a seasoned world traveler who, before leaving the farmlands of Oklahoma at 19, had never seen a body of water larger than the ponds the cattle drank from and the cotton mouths swam in, therefore was utterly stupefied for days by the sight of the BLUE, not mud red, Pacific Ocean for the first time; “hot daumm! That there’s a shitload of water; ain’t it?”
Having been to Tijuana and Victoria on Vancouver Island, both one time each (a brush with an insane merchant in Tijuana scared the hell out of me and my wife and leaving Victoria to return southward was simply too traumatizing for me to repeat) I am uniquely qualified to levy my opinion upon you less fortunate soles who cannot rely on such vast experience.
So! With this knowledge in mind, you may want to view my perspective of the world with ample volumes of envy, respect and perhaps even embarrassment in your incredibly sheltered worlds.
My view of America’s piece of pie: by Bob Conner, the Worldly Okie
First of all, one must remember that America is still an extremely young nation. To put our existence into perspective; I was born on April 8, 1952, a brief 91 years after the events that culminated in the now seemingly ancient American Civil War and almost precisely 87 years after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the end of that conflict. That’s a mere three generations (using genealogical and historical generational time-spans of approximately30 years) before the baby boomers appeared on the scene. Three more generations into history and you have the American Revolution and the birth of the United States; that’s approximately 6 incredibly short generations prior to the appearance of this baby-boomer and my worldly travels.
Compared to most of the world, we are still the obnoxious kids running around bullying the other kids in the neighborhood and on the playgrounds; the screaming and kicking adolescent brats that everyone winces at in the grocery stores and the selfish, toy-grabbing hoarders fearing that someone else is going to get more of the pie than we are.
Combine this youthfulness with the Puritanistic background of the ultra-religious early immigrants and we have a uniquely hegemonic view of virtually everything around us.
We are taught (or in truth, indoctrinated) from birth to death that our Founding Fathers were virtuous saints that would shame Mother Teresa, that our form of democracy is sanctified by the Judea-Christian god and therefore the object of worldwide envy and even extreme jealousy. In short order, we became like so many of the ultra-religious in that, like they, we can do no wrong, even while perpetrating horrific wrongs.
And we’re not just any old schoolyard bully, we WERE an extraordinarily rich bully with the means to shield ourselves with some pretty damned scary devices that transcended the sticks and rocks of the neighbors. We are the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Romans the Byzantines of the 20th century and unfortunately, just as the unhindered and untempered child, we’ve become the ill-tempered beast of the grocery store aisles, the Attila the Hun of the modern world.
Due to my lack of travel experience, I long ago began seeking an understanding of the world in any way that I could after learning there was far more to the world than muddy ponds, chiggers, poison ivy, backseat drive-in “movie-watching” and cattle.
My Bible and BofM were traded in for the National Geographic magazine and with the advent of the world-wide internet I was able to actually converse with individuals from other places.
My perception of the world began to change dramatically. I was absolutely astonished, first of all (and very pissed off that I had been duped and that my entire education had been wasted on fairytales), at how many people were so amazingly educated and fluently multi-lingual (and of course that being bilingual didn't mean that one could speak Okie and Californian).
Learning that others were nowhere near as fanatically religious as the population of the U.S. was a revelation beyond comprehension, after all; didn’t we derive our very beginnings from religious fanaticism? Wasn’t our precious American Colonies the very seat of religious divide and freedom that began in Europe?
Suddenly, logic and the math were beginning to butt heads with our “historical” past. And the discoveries I made uncovered the real history of the U.S. as a mere extension of European Imperialism reaching out for the world’s hidden riches.
Our wondrous Founding Fathers and subsequent "heroes" weren’t saints at all, but were far from it; they were driven by severe self-interests, separatists seeking to grab as much of the American pie for themselves as they could in a lifetime of greed and consumption. Dicovery of reality as opposed to the tall tales of yesteryear, e.g.
- The absurd story of the Pilgrims and the “feast of friends” – the Settlers and the Native Americans in what is now Thanksgiving Day (the truth of it all is, the Native Americans took pity on the idiots who couldn’t seem to learn how to fend for themselves, so they took food from their own families to feed the dumbass white guys)
- George Washington, the slave-owning plantation elitist one, not the fairytale one, maintained familial ties that lead directly to the aristocracy of England.
- Thomas Jefferson, a perverted pedophile who treasured his sexual encounters with the teenage daughters of his slaves and like Daddy George, was an elitist seeking freedom from the restraints of his connections to the Motherland.
- Alexander Hamilton was highly suspect in absconding public tax funds to pursue his own self-interests and riches.
- The ever-romantic ride of Paul Revere who, if you believe our history books, frantically hauled ass through “a” village screaming at the top of his lungs; “the British are coming,” when in truth, he was simply riding along one day and noticed a buildup of British troops in the harbor and rode to his pre-assigned contacts to pass long the information, an early “call-tree” if you will.
- Our revered Abraham Lincoln who refused to sign the Emancipation Proclamation until he was finally persuaded to do so by Frederick Douglass, a self-educated, one-time slave who became what I would term a true hero.
- And, of course, we have the ever-present scoundrel and unrelenting “Indian Hater” Andrew Jackson who began efforts to remove Native Americans from their homelands by aiding them in establishing trading posts, allowing them to prosper for a very short period, then established government subsidized trading posts in direct competition with the Native Americans in a very well coordinated effort to bankrupt them. Seeking to “help” the unfortunate souls, he offered government assistance in trade for their land, thus the Trail of Tears began with the Indian Removal Act.
What’s my point you ask?
We Americans are enthralled with the romance of our history, we are hegemonically blinded by what we have been force-fed our entire lives and this perspective of our world is in turn forced upon the rest of the real world as we seek to protect our fairytale existence from the truth of the matter, that we are merely yet another in a long list of republics that have and will rise and fall.
We are not “God’s preordained” land of the pure, home of the brave, we are in fact, ever so simply, a land of people living along the same endless time-lines of history as virtually every other human being that has ever lived or ever will live.
Understanding the real, unadulterated and true history is the death knell of pompous self-reverence and progressive thinking is the only firewall between us and the catastrophic ending that befell all other republics.
Until we stop idolizing our history, canonizing our Founding Fathers and revering the Constitution of the United Sates as some sort of revelation from above that should never be changed, rather than a simple contractual document that was assembled through efforts of simple human beings seeking to carve out a piece of the pie for posterity, we will continue to be the spoiled, starry-eyed brat who sees neither the truth, nor the rest of the world as fellow human beings who just happen to be on the same path as we are, the very path that we view as OURS.
And we will be viewed by future historians as yet another failed attempt to control the entire neighborhood with our tantrums and selfish desires to be the neighborhood bully doomed to fade into history after the world tires of us.
So! My perception of America in the world is as simple as the Okie that I am; we are very much like the young professional athletes we see leaving college and even high school for "their careers," earning money, obtaining power and notariety far beyond the widom of their young lives.
Like they, we simply do not have the wisdom to deal with our place in the world.