Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I know this is long...

I was under the impression that we had moved beyond a certain ugly chapter in American history; like slavery and the show Full House, we as a society had seen the error of our ways and did away with the chain e-mail. Unfortunately, I have an old friend who still doles these out from time to time, and what's even worse. He is a conservative. I usually ignore these emails, but today I got one that really annoyed me. Here it is, and while I know it is ungodly long, I thought you should read all of it:


Pretty asstitute for a comedian, I'd say! Go Jay!!!

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90
percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe
from terrorist attacks?

The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative."

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno

Not content to let this one go, I figured I would offer a retort and spammed him right back. Here is what I had to say:

Alright…my thinking on this is that since Tom is well aware of my political leanings he sent this to provoke some sort of response. I am happy to say that I will not disappoint him and I count myself fortunate that Tommy sent me this essay; as it isn’t often you encounter this kind of stupidity in your everyday life. It’s like watching someone cook on a charcoal grill indoors or cut their toenails with a chainsaw…

First off, Jay Leno may be an absolute hack as a comic, but he is off the hook when it comes to writing this article. The guy who wrote this is an even bigger hack named Craig Smith who is an adjunct Professor of Law at Santa Barbara/Ventura College of Law. You can see the original article here and it was published on a far-right website that would make Ann Coulter blush. I found this all out by using the ‘Google’.


What is Mr. Smith’s larger point? From what I can gather, he wants Americans to stop reading, watching and listening to the news. He seriously believes that everything would be wonderful if the U.S. populace would all just collectively put their heads in the sand. Instead of a citizenry that is actively engaged and interested in pressing national matters, he wants the sort of blind allegiance you find in religious cults and herds of sheep.

This kind of thinking might work if you live in a third world dictatorship or are a Fox News viewer; but in a democracy, the system doesn’t work if those being governed aren’t well informed. Fortunately, our country’s founders were smarter than Mr. Smith and knew that this country would fail miserably if there wasn’t an independent press.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of problems with the way the press operates in this country. There are far too many stories about missing/dead white women (e.g. Anna Nicole Smith, Natalie Holloway, the runaway bride) and things that go bump in the night. Yet I, and other sane people, don’t jump to the ridiculous conclusion that the way to solve this problem is to only focus on the good news. While Mr. Smith would like to hear about all the wonderful lemonade stands, magical ponies and schools being painted in Iraq, I would like to know what is really going on in the world and with our government. Why? Well…because that’s what it means to be patriotic.

For all of the wonderful things that our country offers, there are also some disturbing trends that we as citizens cannot afford to conveniently overlook. The 67% of us who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction have good reason to feel this way. Over the last 6 years in this country, we have seen infant mortality increase, bankruptcy filings increase, poverty increase, income inequality grow and homicide rates increase. Worldwide, we see increases in political unrest, terrorism and spread of infectious disease. It is for these reasons, and a slew of others, that the majority of the American public worries about where our country is headed.

In addition, the majority of us can plainly see that the man living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is an abject failure. George W. Bush, during his tenure has presided over not one, not two but three of the greatest catastrophes in American history. First, when faced with the exhortations of this country’s intelligence experts in early 2001, he decided to ignore their warnings about the threat of terrorism and instead wanted to focus on creating a missile defense shield and vacationing in Texas. Second, when faced with the evidence that Saddam Hussein did not represent a threat to national security and that Iraq would likely decay into chaos if we were not careful during the reconstruction; he decided to ignore their advice and instead rode on a fighter jet to declare himself victorious. Lastly, when faced with the sobering television coverage of New Orleans being systematically destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, he decided to quietly sit that disaster out.

In some way, I wish I could be as blissfully ignorant as Mr. Smith and the remaining 33% who think things are just peachy. Life would be easier if I could love the president as a dog loves its master. Yet, if we all felt this way, we would be abdicating our responsibility to both our nation and our fellow countrymen. This country rose in prominence and offered hope to the rest of the world precisely because so many of those who came before us refused to stick their heads in the sand, they demanded more out of their leaders, their neighbors and themselves. I only wish Mr. Smith felt the same.

I don't think he is going to be very happy with me.


Pork Rinds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pork Rinds said...

First of all, my first post just said this wasn't written by Jay Leno but by Craig Smith. But then I read that you covered that. Just thought I should explain the ominous looking "This post has been removed by the author" comment.

Finally, I am quite startled with how much Smith focuses on all of the stuff that Americans have (cell phones, flat-screen tv's, computers) and how having so much stuff should make up for all of the president's ills. In my mind Mr. Smith has single-handedly illuminated one of the most important issues with some in America. Some people have lots and lots of stuff, but there are plenty of people in the States who don't have a flat screen television or a computer. Not that I think that those things should be a measure of a nation's success, because I don't.

Broca said...

That kind of keen insight is the reason why Craig Smith is an adjunct professor at one of the most prestigious law firms NOT reviewed by US News and World Report.

The US is awesome because people own things.

Pure f*ing genius