Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Trump Card

Once in a while I get talking politics with someone who finally must point out that the United States is the greatest country in the world although he's never been to another one. This is his trump card, the one he pulls out when all else fails, usually in an heroic attempt to defend something indefensible, like the last eight years; intended to validate all his previous arguments. I mean, right. Shouldn’t I surrender? How can anybody argue with that?

I got to wondering where this comes from. Is it important for the person's self esteem that he live in the world's greatest country? So if he hailed from Andorra his rallying cry would be the same? Or does he truly believe the U.S. is the world's greatest country even without that title being conferred by a three person panel? And so then, considering how great all those other countries are, that means the U.S. probably can do no wrong and is above reproach?

After watching the All-Star game I'm thinking this country needs to be greater; for is own sake and for those other countries that need something to shoot for and not at. It needs to be a country that doesn't demonize marijuana while informing children trying to watch the All Star game without becoming emotionally scarred by Flomax ads, that they can't enjoy life without Miller beer and certainly, there is no real beauty in a summer day without Budweiser. (An optimist would hope kids will notice the correlation between beer and Flomax use and conclude that beer damages one’s ability to pee right; so then beer drinkers will need Flomax someday. They may even suspect collusion there; but that’s a lot to ask of a nine-year old concerned at the moment for the strength of his stream.) It needs to be a country that doesn't blatantly breed its next generation of alcohol and coffee addicted sheep who would rather sit around watching other people play games on tv then play games themselves. Hey – maybe it’s because Americans have learned not to try to enjoy a weekend without beer and it’s hard to engage in sports while inebriated. Easier to follow our swilling orders from the couch. The pusher man isn’t only on street corners. He’s in your living room.

If marijuana is a gateway drug to worse things, then a greater case can be made that beer is. Sure hard alcohol advertising was banned on television. Why not? They don’t need it when they can hook eight year olds on what a great idea beer is. The rest will follow. Beer companies get quite a bang for their television advertising buck and hard alcohol companies get a free ride.

So, yes –maybe we live in the greatest land in the world but its hyper-dependent population seems somewhat less magnificent.

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