I was thinking about this whole fiasco in congress (a.k.a. the spendulus bill), and all the big changes in the White House—you know, closing prisons, releasing terror suspects, frightening the tax-paying populace into compliance, and best of all, "Obama Time" (otherwise known as tardiness)—and I wondered what all the world must be thinking. I mean, I know they have other things on their minds, like wildfires, and fuel shortages, and gun violence rising in the wake of no-guns laws... which is probably why they're all the more delighted to watch the silly goings on here in the good ol' USA.
Think about it: U.S. features on the evening news must be one of the best reality shows ever, if you don't live in the States. Look at those senators bickering amongst themselves, fighting for power by sneaking things onto bills. Watch the newest rock star and his well-dressed family strut their stuff. See how the huge companies that flourished are folding now? Serves them right. And those CEOs, still making millions in bonuses alone, stuttering when their leer jet is discovered behind some curtain? Yeah, well, that's how it is on TV. Oh wait, this is really real.
Does that reality show thought make you cringe? It does me. It's starting to feel like the U.S. is the popular, attractive, athletic kid in high school that everyone liked, and admired, and secretly envied... and then when that kid screwed up—gained too much weight, or failed a class, or was caught misbehaving somewhere—he or she fell from grace. And a lot of those people who shook their heads and said "what a shame" were really, underneath, chuckling evilly. Because people are cruel, aren't they? They may pretend to think it tragic, but often they're hiding a smirk behind a carefully placed hand. Don Henley said it best: "People love it when you lose; they love dirty laundry."
These days, it feels like we're that kid. We're flabby. We've failed at some things. And our respectability? Sadly lacking. Just look at our leaders. I'm still not ashamed to be an American, because I know we're not all represented by the boobs on the news, but I'm not sleeping so well when I imagine what we look like to the rest of the world.
P.S. Just discovered a site, and boy I'm learning a lot. Take a peek, if you'd like—right here.