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Posts Tagged ‘William Faulkner’

Happy 4th of July!

Nowhere near as eloquent as my ancestor Mr. Lincoln, I spent the 4th of July on a few occasions while living in England in the mid-1990s hosting a celebration of the event passing around finger foods with the reminder to my guests … all Brits, of course … “We kicked your butts!”

Politics is apparently not my forte, no matter how good a slap-up of barbecued Americana might have tasted, since I can rarely manage even the vaguest vestige of political correctness. I’d say my English guests employed a well-honed sense of humor on those occasions, but that would be stretching it; there’s still nothing funny about a vanished empire to many and the audacity of America to go all independent on them continues to grate.

History being history and all, there’s no turning back either Big Ben or the clock on the Old North Church, and with another 4th of July about to pop it seems a good enough time to give some thought to my old stomping grounds.

It has been nice the past couple of years to once again feel free to proclaim my roots. For the eight years of G.W. I would often pass myself off as Canadian when strangers would hear my accent and approach. I simply had no answer to the deluge of questions that would invariably start off with something like: What the hell is going on over there?

What did I know? I left the US pre-OJ … a dividing line between the reasonable and the totally unexplainable … and had nothing in my repertoire to trot out when asked to give reasons for stolen presidential elections, coordinated lies, embarrassing gaffs and backward stumbling toward the bad old days.

Don’t misunderstand. I have always been proud to be an American, but the longer I’ve lived outside the borders … and the range of Fox News … the more trouble I’ve had figuring out just what that means.

As this 4th rolls around my confusion is compounded, as it is beyond my scope to calculate just how people in the US have grown so stupid. I mean REALLY, folks! Michele Bachmann? Talk about giving the Brits an opening for get-backs!

As this article in The Independent indicates, America is now in the position of having England “get it” when an apparently large portions of those in the US are missing so much.

… three questions pose themselves. Could she seize the White House? Can she even win the GOP nomination? And just how thick or crazy, or both, is Michele Bachmann? In tribute to the late Eric Morley, we will take them in reverse order. While accurately gauging her idiocy-derangement ratio is hard in the absence of a psychiatric report, Bachmann’s mouth is a reliable launch pad for astounding foolishness. To cheer us all up – if you can’t have a giggle at the thought of the codes falling into such hands, when can you? – here are some highlights.

Wittily replicating the Vidalian impertinence that reshaped her political allegiance, she mocked the Founding Fathers in January by lauding them for “working tirelessly until slavery was no more in the US”. Those would be the FFs who in 1776, a mere 89 years before abolition, agreed that an African-American legally constituted three fifths of a human being, and enshrined slavery in the Constitution?

According to Bachmann, meanwhile, the greatest threat the US faces is nothing so footling as the deficit or long-term mass unemployment (let alone the global warming she inevitably regards as “a hoax”), but gay marriage.

Passing over her defence of carbon dioxide, which she says cannot harm humans because it (like arsenic and uranium) occurs naturally, let’s end the resumé with this peach. “It was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another Democratic president,” she said in reference to her erstwhile idol Mr Carter. “I’m not blaming this on President Obama. I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

In the above lies her appeal to the frothing far right … bewildering lack of knowledge; blind terror of otherness; and – the latter’s kissing cousin – paranoid hatred of Barack Obama. Add to that her Palinic gift for viscerally resonating with her base and its prejudices, the facility to raise fortunes, undeniable can-do charm and good humour, and a talent for spouting drivel with sublime confidence then blaming the lamestream media for accurately reporting it … and this is one formidable candidate.

No, I don’t live in England anymore, but I am surrounded by Brits here and like many American expats the world over I find myself progressively more and more stumped by what truly are well-thought, and concerned, questions.

I can harken back to the words of Founding Fathers, pointing out that they were actually a pretty bright bunch with little in common with the present field of GOP hopefuls:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

~ Thomas Paine

A far cry from:

”There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”

“I just take the Bible for what it is, I guess, and recognize that I am not a scientist, not trained to be a scientist. I’m not a deep thinker on all of this. I wish I was. I wish I was more knowledgeable, but I’m not a scientist.”

~ Michele Bachmann

So although peeps are mostly okay with swallowing the formation of our great nation, much of what’s on offer now makes an unpleasant chewing experience and creates some fear of regurgitation.

Frankly, I don’t much like the taste of it myself, nor do I have any answers for those struggling to comprehend how an idiot like this Bachmann woman … or that fuckwad from Texas, whatever his name is … hasn’t been laughed off every platform she makes a dive for … from … whatever …

The Brits seem to be enjoying the show, though:

All we know for sure is that her name’s Michele Bachmann, that she’s running for president, and that watching her do so will be as much fun as anyone has a right to expect within the law.

No matter … we did kick their butts …

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. ~William Faulkner

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