Thursday, April 17, 2008

America: An Aside

For those of you who don't understand some of the US mentality towards our military and general 'pride' (okay, our outright bragging about being the best country in the world), I strongly recommend watching the HBO series that is currently playing on John Adams. It is amazingly well done, and Paul Giamatti is at his best, IMO. The series is the most interesting depiction of the time and people that I have ever seen. My stepfather is a US History teacher and says it is one of the most accurate portrayals of the the people, the time, and the politics he's ever seen, so I know I'm in good company.

The most important aspect emphasized in John Adams is the Revolutionary War. It is the attitude of the players. There are almost no gunfights or major battles depicted - at one point Adams is on a ship and the majority of the scenes are of him in the hull tending to a wounded soldier. I've always wondered what the day-to-day life was like. When I travel I don't generally like touristy things, and prefer to just go to local shops and cafes to watch people (very fun in Rome, btw). This series completely appeals to that part of me. It's about all the subtleties left out of your history textbooks, and if you extrapolate the attitudes and personalities to the modern world, somehow our attitude makes sense.

I bring this up because a) I'm watching it now b) my parents are actually lightly contemplating moving abroad (which would be HUGE as far as my family goes and c) the recent news that after being arrested, the police will forever have your DNA in a database. I doubt the 'rents will make the leap, and I was really excited about the possibility until watching this series. It kinda made me fall in love with th US all over again. But, this recent news item makes me wonder if we are well beyond the tipping point. Our country is an incredibly young one. Hell, most people are less than 3 generations away from its founding (not the generation =25 years thing, but it is possible that the father of the father a living person was alive at the country's birth). It makes me wonder if times like these are the ones that countries fall apart during.

I'm not shy about saying that I think the US will eventually split. Call it North and South, Liberal and Conservative, or whatever, but the attitude of the US is so drastically bipolar that I doubt much can mend it. I just hope it isn't a bloody split. Bush still has a ~25% approval rating. Really. I mean, how is that even possible?

The only thing I can think of is party allegiance, and at that point these people care more about their party than the country and should not be allowed to vote. (Yeah, I said it, and it goes for Democrats, too. You should be required to prove you are voting in the bet interest of the country with your personal opinions guiding the decision. Unfortunately, that is impossible to quantify or prove, so it will never be done. And even if it was done, the corruptibility would be astronomical.) We all know that a full blown democracy doesn't work - you end of with tyranny of the majority as happened in Athens. But, our segregated process has all but failed because of small kinks in the armor that divided powers, levels of government, and the branches. I'm not saying I have the answers, but I'm hoping someone does.

I don't usually post these types of links, but if you want to catch the episodes now, and promise to be good and buy them, or pirating is legal in your country, here are the most healthy torrents of the episodes to date. If you don't know what torrents are, there are plenty of other places to find out.

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