Monday, November 13, 2006

Stray Votage

What a spoiled, impatient lot we Americans are! But, that is our birthright. We were concieved as a nation by a bunch of spoiled, impatient (some would add: power-hungry) colonial elitists. The dirty little secret from our glorious revolution against the British crown is that the American colonists really had no basis for demanding independence. The truth, as most serious historians know, is that the average American colonist in 1775 enjoyed a higher standard of living, better health, a more sufficient diet, and far more liberty than his counterpart on the banks of the Thames.

Today, our economy is at one of its strongest points in the history of the American experience--we enjoy a higher standard of living and have more personal freedom than any other country on the planet. Yet to hear the detractors (power-hungry politicians and money-grubbing journalists, mostly) tell it, you would think that we were a third world nation. I've been to 3 times more countries than I have states in the re-United States (and I've been to a majority of the re-US) and I can tell you without hesitation that you don't want to live anywhere else on the planet.

I know that the American people are frustrated with the continuing combat operations in Iraq. But let's put that in perspective, shall we? We are fighting that battle in the War on Terror as if we were sitting in a rocking chair with one arm tied behind our back. The losses in Iraq, though each is precious, amount to but a fraction of a fraction of the losses we endure from alcohol-related accidents on our highways. I wish the lead on the news every day was the number of people killed by drunk drivers over the past 24 hours--we would quickly forget about Iraq!

It was politically expedient for politicians (and their journalist allies) to use the continuing battle in Iraq (that is not effecting 99% of the population in the least) as a means to drum up discontent with the incumbent government--just as it was politically expedient for a group of elitists and pamphleteers to use British taxation of the colonists (actually at a lower rate than what their counterparts on the Thames paid) as a means to drum up discontent with royal rule.

Well, we got what we asked for this time. At least 21% of the electorate did, that is. The national shame is only 40% of us took time away from our self-indulged and pampered lives to participate in the most important event in the life of our democratic republic. But, then again, that is about the percentage of the American colonists that actively participated (on both sides) in the decision to fight for independence from Britain in 1775.
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