Hello all you wonderful Americans ! Yes you have been selected to get this little contemplative rant because you are my window on America. Also you all know me well enough to realize that I’m not some radical left wing commie and that I do have a sincere love for you and your country of origin. Of course my friends Paul and Kathy have been living for years in places outside the USA but I know they both maintain strong patriotic ties.
So, here’s what’s on my mind: In reflecting on the recent events in Tucson and reading all the commentary in the International Herald Tribune, which is really the New York Times, plus listening to CNN, I have reached a new level of confusion over certain ideas and attitudes held by many of your fellow citizens. There is no doubt that the all-pervasive violence in America has once again sent a loony over the top.
Just think back for a momemt, those of you who are old enough to remember to a time when in movies and television the most violence we saw was the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers or Hoppalong Cassidy, shooting the gun out of some bad guy’s hand and the bad guy grabbing his wrist in agony. Now there is almost nothing presented without the warning to the effect that “the show you are about to watch contains violence and ‘adult’ material not suitable for all viewers.” And almost all the time that meams real violence – cars, helicopters, buidings and people being blown to smithereens by enormous explosions or cold-blooded in -your- face murders with blood and guts all over the place. For well-adjusted people maybe this sort of stuff has no real serious side effects, but remember in the modern society everyone isn’t ‘well adjusted’ and it takes very little to send some whacko off the deep end. Our society is also made up of its share of impressionable youth who grow up thinking all this craziness is ‘normal’ behaviour.
So why don’t we get it? The latest trend according to all the pundits I’ve been reading is for politicians to use target-like images to indicate where their party needs to attack next. The NRA continues to be the most powerful lobby in Washington despite enormous statistical evidence that gun violence in America is hundreds of times greater than in other civilized countries around the world. The easy access to weapons of such destructive capability, far beyond that needed to bring down a deer or a duck, boggles the mind. Since the Brady Bill way back when, things have only gotten worse instead of better. And finally I read where many of the recent verbal attacks against politicians – and even going so far as vandalism against their offices or vehicles – are linked to their support of Obama’s health care bill. For those of us who have lived most our lives with universal health care(Kathy and I), what is it about such a programme that strikes such hatred and fear in huge numbers of the population in the United States, even to the point of violent attacks on members of congress supporting such legistaltion ?? Can any of you explain this to me at least? Is it wrong to say that Universal Health Care should be an inalienable right to all citizens of a country as rich and ‘civilized’ as the United States ?? Okay, I’ll stop now, but I could go on for ever, especially if I get rolling on the fact that I saw governors of Texas and Pennsylvania saying on TV that America can’t afford Obamacare. How much is it costing daily, weekly, monthly to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Without exact figures at hand I would guestimate that the weekly, or at best monthly, cost of the wars would pay the annual cost of health care. I sincerely hope that you will all weigh in on these comments from a puzzelled Canadian