Red, (Very) White and Clueless: The Tale of Two Americas

"Two faces have I
One that laughs one that cries
One says hello one says goodbye
One does things I don't understand
Makes me feel like half a man
"

         - Bruce Springsteen, "Two Faces"

Regardless of what Barack Obama may have said four years ago in that famous speech of his at the 2004 Democratic Convention, there definitely are two Americas - two diametrically opposed Americas. And I'm not just talking about Republicans and Democrats here, though that division largely mirrors the real divide.

The fact of the matter is there's a Backward America, suspicious of not just science and the well-educated, but of modernity in general. An America that believes in the literal truth of some ancient religious fables. This America, by the way, was well represented at the Republican National Convention this past week (more about that later).

Then there's Modern America, the America that embraces science and modernity, just like the rest of the Western world. Aside from country music, perhaps, this is the America that has produced just about anything and everything worthwhile to emerge from the country over the past couple of hundred years. In general, these Americans may still be a lot more religious than the people of other Western countries, but they're not expecting the Rapture to come and carry them up into the sky any time soon.

Obviously, there is a clear red state-blue state/Republican-Democrat divide in America, but what I'm talking about here is the much more bizarre and scary Modern/Medieval divide. It's this fission that truly makes America distinct within Western Civilization.

Of course, every country has its wacko lunatic fringe of religious fanatics and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., France, Germany and the rest of Western Europe are no exception, but the difference is that in America the lunatics encompass between one third and one half of the population.

Though it may seem like it to some, this is not, in fact, an anti-American diatribe, not in any way. What it is, however, is a diatribe against the anti-intellectual, small-minded, death penalty-cheerin', gun-lovin', 6,000-year-old-world-believin', gay-bashin', Bible-thumpin', right-wing freaks who have been running the country and the Republican Party for years now. The Jerry Falwells, the Pat Robertsons, the James Dobsons (of Focus On The Family infamy) and the rest of their ilk. You know the type, those who not only profess to believe that dinosaur fossils are simply here to test our faith, but who also want to teach such things to kids in science class. Yes, I'm talking about true wackos.

These people are also really big on teaching abstinence only in Sex Ed classes. Then they wonder why America has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the Western world - by a huge margin. If you want to increase the number of unwanted pregnancies, and thus abortions, this is sure a great way to do it. Way to go guys!

Again, this isn't simply a right-wing, left-wing divide. There are still quite a few economic conservatives in the Republican Party who are in no way part of this Medieval mindset. It's just that they've been overrun within their party by the wackos of the Christian Right over the past few decades.

Of course the economic conservatives have their own issues, but I'm not here to talk about the failed policies of Milton Freidman, Reaganomics, and all that trickle down bullshit. Tax-cutting-for-the-rich, social-program-slashing right-wingers exist in every country and their disdain for the poor is not what I'm going on about here. They may be cold-hearted, but economic conservatives don't necessarily reject the reality of the world around them.

Satan Is Real

Christian conservatives, on the other hand, do. Whether it be a belief in Satan as a real guy, Hell as a real place, the Bible as literal truth or the world as just a few thousand years old, a shockingly high percentage of Americans answer yes to these questions, with, for example, over 50% expressing a belief in Satan.

We're also, it should be noted, talking about worshippers of incest here. After all, those who believe in the literal truth of the Bible must believe that human beings descending from the offspring of Adam and Eve, which of course involved Adam and Eve's kids screwing one another to produce kids of their own. I'm guessing they don't talk about that too much in church, but, hey, it was God's will, right?

Seriously now, where else in the Western world, aside from America, would you find a significant percentage of the population believing that the Rapture is coming soon and that Jesus is going to come down and slaughter all the non-believers while raising up the chosen few into the sky?

Come to think of it, this Wacky America isn't really all that different from their fundamentalist brothers and sisters in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan, places where people also find their absolute truth in a book of fables.

Republican Convention of Contempt

And on a related topic, how about those Republicans? Did you see John McCain's big speech at the Republican National Convention last night? Talk about a bunch of angry, war-loving, mindlessly-nationalistic white people. I didn't think a spectacle like that was still possible in America today. I mean, aside from a KKK rally or a Toby Keith show, where else in modern day America but at a Republican rally could you get such a high percentage of white people in one room?

The defining moment of the whole night for me was when McCain ridiculed Obama's plan to cover every American citizen with medical insurance and the crowd went nuts booing and jeering Obama and his queer foreign communist ideas. That told you all you needed to know about these people. I mean, where else could you find such a large number of people - themselves all adequately covered of course - sneering at the idea of helping those without any medical coverage get insured?

Speaking of foreign ideas, another very telling moment was when former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee mocked "European ideas" in his speech... and the crowd once again went wild.

Then there was all the ridiculing, by Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin, among others, of Obama's work as a community organizer, with the crowd again roaring its disdain.

But perhaps the greatest cheer was reserved for when McCain talked about how, if elected, he'll slash foreign aid. It was like Beatlemania all over again, the crowd went absolutely insane.

I was just waiting for someone to go after the homeless, those suffering from AIDS and perhaps even lepers. Why not mock lepers? But, alas, there wasn't really enough time, what with all the chanting of "USA, USA, USA" that had to be done.

Who are these people anyway and how the hell did they get so cold-hearted, angry and bitter? Perhaps it has something to do with the God of the Old Testament that they love so much. You know, that angry, vindictive, vengeful and wrathful God.

But, then again, perhaps it's just from attending too many Toby Keith concerts. Who knows?

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Friday, September 5th, 2008

 

And to continue reading more about the Republicans' love of stupid click here: Fear and Loathing in The Heartland: Republicans' Lovefest With Ignorance

 

Or here: The Lovefest Continues: Sarah Palin on Africa, NAFTA and more

 

And if you liked this piece then you should definitely check this out: It's Called Conservativitus: The Pity The Conservatives Rant

 

And for more on American politics click here: Freedom Fly: Bottled Horniness For The Truly Patriotic American

 

Or here: Freedom Fetterers: The Story of a Bankrupt Philosophy

 

And to read a more general political rant click here: It's Called Conservativitus: The Pity The Conservatives Rant 

 

And let's not forget this guy: History Has Spoken: Bush Finally Seals The Deal

 

And for lots more on politics visit the Politics Homepage

 

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Backward/Modern duality

Alvin Toffler covered this is his book Powershift around 1990. Toffler's take on it is that this Backward/Modern duality exists across the globe. He states on page 379 that the challenges of the 21st century will be between populations which embrace the darkest parts of the middle ages and those that envision a Jetsonian future. StringyLow

Community Organizer.

I was listening to NPR the day after Palin's RNC speech. A lady caller said "I am a Christian and I am appalled at Governor Sarah Palin demeaning Barack Obama being a community organizer. Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a Governor".........SNAP.

Tony Cannistraro, devout Agnostic.

Sky Daddy Jesus

COMMENT POSTED ON THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT'S SITE BY "PLATTYPUS" IN RESPONSE TO THIS RANT ON FRIDAY SEPT. 5th:

 

Mike... this is nothing short of spot-on. I'm a member of the American reality-based community, but I live in a conservative area. I walk among these religious crazies on a daily basis. The scariest thing about them, and I think you captured it well, is that they truly do believe in all of that stuff. No need to worry about the future, Sky Daddy Jesus is comin' soon to whisk us off to heaven. Poor people just don't work hard enough. Global warming couldn't be happening, because aforementioned Sky Daddy Jesus won't let it. Science is evil and wrong. I've even seen one letter that stated that "the bible is the most advanced science book around." Yeah, and pi is three. (1 Kings 7:23-26)

 

It scares me that this nation of ours has the nuclear capability to destroy all life on earth. Furthermore, these people make me ashamed to carry an American passport. (I hope to move to your beautiful country in the near future and rectify that, but for now...)

 

Know that we're not all insane... and that the rest of us are as mortified as you. And, if you have any American friends, tell 'em to vote Obama.

___________________________________

American by birth, Canadian in my dreams...

Me too!

I love this piece, I love his take on the looniness of these "New Americans" who have actually brought me to the verge of tears with their hate filled anger and skewed ideas. I'm in a very conservative Bibe belt area as well. Go Canada! You have to pick up the torch and keep casting light on this darkness.

I'm not a fan but:

Toby Keith Praises Obama, Says He's A Democrat You know... he likes Obama! ------------------------- I know, I know he's still a bigoted small minded ass... but maybe there's hope?

------------------------- Loved the rant... thought it was bang on. I've always been dumbfounded by the segment of America that celebrates and defiantly defends it's right to be IGNORANT. The greatest "small-town" value seems to be having a small mind that, when confronted with that fact results in name calling, flag waving black and white bullshit. Certainly the USA's educational, and social systems are set-up to foster that mindset. The blind hero worship, the warmongering, the insular belief that everyone wants to be American etc... it's a brutally sad, high-school mindset that pervades that portion of the populace.

------------------------- When I watched Obama's speech and the intelligence and open-mindedness that it represented... I though, who knows. Maybe the US may just be ready to grow up, to graduate from these views that keep them stuck in the past.

------------------------- I mean... they've moved away from lead based products (for the most part), have allowed television, computers and other technology into their lives. Maybe this thought that they are allowed to think for themselves, that they don't need to be... hell, that it's bad for them to allow themselves to be spoon fed intellectually by a corrupt ruling party WILL start to take hold?

------------------------- I dunno though... the way they fight the metric system, maybe they are destined to remain terrified of wandering too far from their shores for fear of falling off the edge of that flat earth that scares them so. ------------------------- will tell.

Toby

Wow, if a redneck like Toby Keith is voting for Obama, who the hell is supporting McCain anyway?!! Mike

Toby

Actually , Toby has always been a Democrat, and he explained why he wrote the BOOT IN YOUR ASS thing. He said after 911 , he was just supporting the troops, and the repubs ran with the whole thing . I think there was a whole helluva lot of hysteria at that time, and Bush took full advantage of public outrage to carry out his agenda. It is so refreshing to hear your opinion. Obama is the best thing that has happened to all of us around the globe in a LONG LONG time ! God help us if Palin gets anywhere near the Top Gun position! Bush's warmongering policies will " Pale In " comparison to this rightwing extreeeeemist !