Electablogging makes me depressed/nauseated lately, but I can still stomach Political Art. I thought that this Flip-Flop catalog by Sean Bonner is very well done in terms of design and content. Except that outsourcing bullshit. But I regress. On the large and boring topic of American politics – I still wake up at 6:55 AM to catch American debates, but I feel more scared than excited.
I love the America I grew up in. It was a beacon. It was the greatest economy in the world. It was Alexandria, it was Rome. Today it is… I don’t know. When I left America in 2000 I was proud. A lot of my Canadian friends would talk shit but I was confident in rebutting them. The US isn’t colonial, the US doesn’t invade countries, the US is a great place to live. I remember sitting in my cramped dorm room with Flavia and Keri clicking Refresh manically as the news sites kept changing the election results. When I went to bed I didn’t know what happened, but I felt sick – like when the Buckeyes lose to Michigan, like Merit feels when the Red Sox lose to the Yankees. It’s fucked up. It’s not right. And by 537 votes? The leader of the free world, by 537 votes.
But it was OK. I supported America under Bush I and I could support it under Bush II. He was smoking the surplus on tax cuts to the wealthy, but it’s not like America needs to save for a rainy day or anything. I could deal. Then I’m walking to class when Jeremy comes up to me and says the World Trade Centers have been attacked. I didn’t even understand. I thought he was talking about Israel, until we got to a TV. Looking over shoulders in the Music Faculty reminded me of 8th grade, when they rolled TVs into classrooms to watch the O.J. verdict. Except this was completely fucked. The people on TV didn’t know what was going on at all. The President wasn’t there, nobody knew anything. I didn’t understand. I went home in a hyper-aware daze. Every face looked alive. Every ordinary step was precious.
And then, for a while, the reaction made sense. They were looking for Osama Bin Laden. Yes. Good idea. Afghanistan was a hell-hole, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons and douchebag scientists that sell them, good place to start.
Then I bump into Alex on Sherbrooke and he tells me that there’s going to be a panel discussion on Iraq and I’m like, they can’t be serious. When I heard the idea I laughed, it was so out of left field. Iraq? Who gives a shit about Iraq? Wasn’t that war 10 years ago? Didn’t we win? But in those days I used to love love love sticking it to America-bashers, so I asked if I could speak pro-war. I did some research and I didn’t find much on WMD or Terrorism, but I did find plenty that life for ordinary Iraqis was horrible, and that was my argument. There were 2 (hot) Iraqi girls there, one speaking, and she took the same line. OK, so I’m pro-war now.
But now I feel mainly sick. I see IRAQI CAR BOMB on the BBC so much that I just flip away. They might as well incorporate a flaming automobile into their logo. Thatha asks me if I feel stupid for my position and now that I think about it, yeah. Where the fuck is Osama bin Laden? What about the nuclear weapons in Pakistan? What the fuck were we thinking? Maybe when Jenna Bush is President she’ll clean up her dad’s mess. Maybe we’re just a generation behind.
The America I see today is weak and lonely. It’s in debt, spending furiously, losing jobs, stalling science, jailing people without trial or lawyers, ad nauseum. I don’t want to stick it to America-bashers anymore. I love America, but on the facts I lose. The only hope I have is the election. The hope that things can change. That’s why I still love America. It can change. It can get better.