Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shut the Hell Up, French Guy

I read this article and, honestly, it sort of made me sick: "Suddenly it may be cool to be an American again". (I'll post the link to my page if you're a masochist and want to read the entire thing). The gist of it is this: Now that Obama's been elected president, Europeans et al have decided to stop treating individual Americans like shit. How very generous of them. The writer of the article describes the following incidents:

Last spring, after the Bush administration recognized Kosovo's independence, a Serb who overheard my American-accented English lobbed a beer can at me in central Vienna. He missed, but spat out an unflattering "Amerikanac" and told me where to go.

On another occasion, an Austrian who heard my teenage daughter chatting with a friend pursued her, screaming, "Go Home!"

The Hell? This behavior is seriously fucked up. Even if you admit to the fact that the American government is imperfect, and that some heinous acts have been committed by individuals under the direction of that government, why take it out on a teenage girl, who has zero voice when it comes to the election of that government?

I had my own experience with anti American sentiment when I went to Mexico in March 2003. Obviously, there was an unpopular war just getting underway at that time. I was having fun spending my American dollars, money that everyone was very eager to receive. When I was approached by a deaf boy selling pencils on the streets of Cancun, I agreed to buy one but only had a couple of dollars cash. The boy got angry because he expected the "rich American" to give him more for his cheap ass pencils. So he drew his finger across his throat and said "Death to Americans". Creepy. And also very eye opening for a 26 year old woman on her first trip out of the country. I never realized how much we were hated.

And yet, everyone I know is honest, hardworking, big hearted. And they are all Americans. From what I can tell, Americans are always among the countries offering aid to those in need. Aid that no country experiencing crisis has ever refused. I can't imagine anyone ever telling an American ready to assist with money or manpower to "Go Home". Many people around the globe clamor to emigrate to this country, to either attend our schools, escape persecution, or pursue their own happiness, otherwise known as "The American Dream". And how many Americans have given their lives on foreign soil to preserve the freedoms of men and women who they have never even met? The waters on Omaha Beach were colored red by the blood of servicemen on June 6, 1944. Why is all the good that American does or has ever done discounted or forgotten?

The writer of the article stated that at times he felt the need to lie about his nationality, to deny being American, in order to avoid a nasty confrontation. I find it extremely sad that anyone should have to feel shame about who they are or where they come from. I, for one, am tired of feeling like I am somehow innately selfish or ignorant because I am American. But I guess now that Obama's president elect, I don't have to feel that way anymore. Obama's the saint that saved America...from what I don't know.

The writer ends the article this way:

I'm a marathon runner, and I have a red, white and blue singlet that I've seldom dared to wear on the Continent. Marathons are difficult enough without enduring catcalls and jeers from spectators.

But my best friend and training partner — who is French — just gave me his stamp of approval.

"Will you wear your Stars and Stripes shirt now? You're allowed!" he told me.

Thank you so much Mr. Douchebag Frenchman for giving this man permission to express his national pride. Yes, pride in a country who sacrificed so many young men's lives to rescue France from the clutches of Nazi Germany. But I guess this French man has the benefit of living in a perfect country, under a perfect government, where every citizen is completely enlightened, and only does good and angelic deeds (except, of course, for the occasional jeering at American marathon runners)

So it seems overnight, the international opinion of Americans and their government has taken a complete Uturn. Well, if there is any truth to this article, then my opinion of the rest of the world has taken a pretty sharp turn too. Guess what, rest of the world? I don't need your fucking permission to feel good about myself or my country. I voted for Obama, and I hope he does everything he promised to do. But HE HASN'T EVEN TAKEN OFFICE YET and people are already acting like he is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I guess my point is, why did it take the election of Obama for the world to start seeing that America is not a land of demons? Why was it okay for someone to throw a beer can at someone last Spring just for being an American, and all of a sudden this:

"She was a stranger, and she kissed me. Just for being an American.It happened on the bus on my way to work Wednesday morning, a few hours after compatriots clamoring for change swept Barack Obama to his historic victory. I was on the phone, and the 20-something Austrian woman seated in front of me overheard me speaking English.Without a word, she turned, pecked me on the cheek and stepped off at the next stop."

I can't wrap my brain around this. Hopefully, this article isn't representative of what is really happening around the globe. I know that you can't believe everything you read. But it disturbed me, nonetheless, and I just had to share the feelings it stirred up in me with all of you. I'm damn proud of being an American. And now the guy that threw the beer can, the Austrian who screamed at a teenager on the street, and most of all the arrogant French asshole who is conceited enough to believe we need his fucking blessing to wear our national colors with pride, are all on my shit list. They all suck beyond words and yet somehow they believe they are better than the Americans they crap all over. They better not ever step foot on this soil. Because, as Eminem says "When I fucking see you dog, I'm swinging on you". That is all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tot the Vote

A few days ago, Liv and I were watching TV and an Obama campaign ad was running on-screen. She turned to me and said, "I like Bawack Obama, mommy. I like his face." When even a toddler has an opinion about the political candidates, you know that the candidates have really done their job and done it well. In my opinion, toddlers and children are a disenfranchised group in our society and I for one am not going to remain silent about it any longer. Olivia has as much a right to vote as anyone, especially when you consider the fact that a lot of adults vote or don't vote for a particular candidate based on wrong information, physical appearance, or just political affiliation.

Personally, I try to plow through all the information out there - from canvassers, magazine articles, news shows, debates. But at the end of the day, its all so overwhelming. Who do you trust? Who's telling the truth? Who's manipulating truth? What really is the best plan for the trajectory of this country? I'll be the first to admit, I'm a political simpleton. I've always been more interested in historical political climates, rather than current ones. So take what I'm about to say for what it's worth in light of that.

I've been bursting with rage lately about one particular issue. Here it is: I can not tell you how many people I've talked to or read about who have said they would not vote for Barack Obama based on the following reasons:
1. His middle name is Hussein and therefore he must be a terrorist.
2. His father was a Muslim, and therefore he is a Muslim, so he must be a terrorist.
3. I got an email that said Barack Obama was a terrorist, so he must be a terrorist.

Honestly, when I hear these things come out of people's mouths it really does fill me with the incendiary rage of a million suns that my daughter, who is 3 years old, cannot cast her vote come election day. Because in her itty bitty toddler head, there has to exist more sense and reason than in the adult minds whose two brain cells gave birth to such irrational ideas.

To address the first issue: Guess what? My middle name is Alison. And Stanley Allison Baker shot Wayne Walters in the back of the head for $50. (He's also ugly and ate a disgustingly gluttonous last meal, but that's a whole other story). So in applying the theory that Obama is a terrorist loving Muslim because of his middle name, then I must be a gluttonous, ugly, murderer. Seriously, that whole way of thinking is THAT stupid and THAT fucked up.

Second issue: Let's just assume for a second that Barack Obama's father was a Muslim. And for fun, let's also assume that Barack Obama is, himself, a practicing Muslim. So. Fucking. What? There are millions of hard-working, good hearted, peace-loving people who practice this religion in this country and throughout the globe. To paint an entire religious group with one brush based on the acts of a small proportion of that group is the height of ignorance, in my humble opinion. To say that all Muslims are terrorists is like saying that all Christians are polygamists and pedophiles because a small CHRISTIAN group called the FLDS thinks that marrying 14 year olds to grown men is A-Okay.

3rd issue - I got an email about 40 times that told me that my deodorant was giving me cancer. At the time, I thought: I'd rather get cancer than smell like body odor. And it looks like I made the right choice, too, because I smell good and I don't have cancer yet. I also got an email that told me if I didn't pass on some shitty chain letter to 10 people that I was going to die within 7 days. I deleted it and guess what? I'm still alive. The Gap was supposed to send me a $20 gift certificate for forwarding an email, and I'm i(red) because I think I was decei(ved). The point here is: Just because somebody wrote an email saying "Please pass this On, It's of urgent national security" or some other bullshit intended to make you feel like a fucking super spy, it doesn't mean that it's true. People send lots of horrible things via email, like viruses and fluffy, dancing kitty cats telling you how much you are loved. And if people don't stop believing all that shit, I'm going to go all "Stanley Allison Baker" on their asses. Because I have to. Because Alison is my middle name, you all.

I don't have a political agenda here. I really don't. I don't have the answers to anything. I honestly don't give a rat's ass who you or anyone is voting for. I do respect all opinions, so long as they are based on truth and logic and if a person has a credible reason for holding them. I mean if someone said to me, "I won't vote for Obama because I don't believe he has the ability to fix our economy", I can totally get that.

I'm voting for Obama, personally, but it really pissed me off when I heard that Madonna put up some video at her concert comparing McCain to Adolf Hitler. To me, that was an abuse of her celebrity status. But someone concluding that McCain is just like Hitler because of seeing that would be the same as believing Obama is a terrorist because of a damn email. The smears go both ways in this campaign.

I think my daughter is smart and I really respect her instincts. Her opinion is obviously not the only reason I'm casting my vote in Obama's direction, but I have to admit it makes me feel happy to know that she likes his face. I say let's start the toddler suffrage movement! Tot the Vote in 2012!