Saturday, February 9, 2008

The "51st state of Britainshire?"

I just arrived back from two days in Paris, and I'm ticked off. But it's not the French I'm angry at. I didn't have a problem with anyone down there. In fact, one French waiter even affectionately play-fought with me as I made my way back to my table. No, I vowed to lighten up towards the French when they elected "Sarko the American."
On the morning of the day I left the Smoke for the City of Lights, Daily Mirror columnist Brian Reade's latest diatribe was published. I was one of the first to read it, as I was one of the few in possession of the paper hours before most people were (courtesy of my job).
The title of the piece was "US election fuss is a load of Baracks." You see, Mssr. Reade cannot even get excited about the prospect of a soft-on-terror Democrat getting elected because Americans, in the words of his favorite Yank, Michael Moore, will remain "the dumbest people on the planet, most of whom are in thrall to conniving, thieving, smug pricks." Yep, Michael Moore is an American hero alright, isn't he just?
Reade fulminates thusly:
Despite the hype, the candidates are a 21st century version of that plastic pop group The Monkees. Hand-picked clones cynically assembled to cover every base. There's a black one, a female one, an old one, etc.
And like beggars, all they do is yell "change" at passing strangers in the hope they'll help them out.
But we know they won't change a thing because whoever gets in power is simply the next reassuring front for corporate America.
They'll still be rightly seen by the rest of the world as Dick Dastardly, with Britain their ever-loyal Muttley.

Reade does have a point here, after a fashion. Corporate money does play a too-important role in presidential campaigns. And, as he so often loves to point out, Americans can be woefully ignorant, knowing very little of the world beyond their borders.
All you have to do, as an American ex-pat, is head into central London, hang by all the usual tourist traps such as Madame Tussaud's, the Tower of London, the Victoria & Albert Museum et al., and observe the reaction of your vacationing fellow countrymen. The feeling of embarassment on their behalf is palpable. The father will be haranguing some poor chappie who works at the tourist site: "Now listen, when's the next bus out of here? Well, we'd like to get back to our hotel at five o'clock. What do you mean you don't know? Isn't that your job? Well, where's the local Taco Bell? I haven't seen any since I've been here. What? What do you mean you've never heard of Taco Bell?!" The kids will be hollering, "Hey, Moooom, look at this! This is so cool!" Mom will then come waddling over in her muu-muu and exclaim for everyone within a three-mile radius to hear, "Oh my GAAAWWWD! That's wonderful! Oh WOOOWWWW!" Then she'll grab the nearest British person around she can find and say, "Gee, you're all so LUCKY to have stuff like this here!"
Quite frankly, it's easy to see why some Britons get a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Americans. But, what they forget is that the great majority of us don't binge-drink and start tearing places apart, rioting and making the locals run for cover for the sheer hell of it. Ask any Spaniard—or any European—which he fears most: British or American tourists. I'd settle for a few loud, ignorant questions any day as long as I knew the streets around the local watering hole wouldn't be turned into a war zone come midnight.
Mr. Reade appears happy to ignore the high level of apprehension with which Europeans regard the British while concluding, "I just wish our government would be more honest and ask Washington if the rest of us in the 51st state of Britainshire could cast our vote too. Then at least those of us who didn't want to have a nice day could have the choice of burning our ballot papers or putting up some decent politicians to fight for independence."
Want to talk ignorance, do you, Mr. Reade?
At a time when Britain is getting sucked into the voracious monster known the the European Union superstate, when Gordon Brown signs away our sovereignty without even giving British voters the referendum on Europe that he promised them, when 98% of our foreign and domestic policy is being dictated to us by Brussels, Brian Reade and his ilk are complaining about becoming an American satellite? When the great majority of the British people are fretting over just how much control the EU is going to have over us, and pining for the independence Britain used to enjoy, Mr. Reade complains about how Britain is entitled to the American vote?
In short, we're being slowly but surely devoured by the Soviet Union Part II—the latest Evil Empire—and there are honestly those out there who fear that Britain is becoming, or has already become, the 51st state?
You need to take anything Brian Reade writes with a big grain of salt. After all, this is the same guy who wrote a lead column describing his colonic irrigation in gut-churning gory detail. It was then that I realized just how low this tabloid-dweller could go. The man honestly has no shame.
Mr. Reade, it's not your intestines that need flushing out, nor those of the dimwits who nod their heads approvingly whenever they read your anti-American venom. You and they need your brains sorting out.


kristen said...

Michael Moore is a MORON. Enough said.

It really bugs how countries feel like they should have a say in our politics. Sure, they are affected by us. But most don't know our history and they don't know how our govt is supposed to operate (same could be said for many of our own politicians actually). These anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-corporate people can take their liberal-loving, communistic ideas and shove them where the sun don't shine.

I'm so glad you are a voice of reason in a world of insane ideas.

Nightdragon said...

Gosh, thanks for the too-kind compliment. You really know how to make a dragon's day, K.! :)

Again, the man has a point about corporate money, and he (and other) Brits are ticked off about the fact that Americans hardly ever return the favor in terms of the amount of interest they pay to British elections or life over here. After all, most Americans probably think Tony Blair is still prime minister. So I'm understanding towards Brits who feel this sense of frustration with us.

But, there's a difference between valid criticism and outright hatred. Reade and his readers are definitely classed in the latter category. These are the types of people who cheered 9/11 because it humbled "the American bully." They'd honestly rather live in a "united" Europe, strong in bureaucracy but weak in spirit, which will soon be over-run with fanatical Muslims and their sharia law, than be close partners to a strong U.S., which is rightly unapologetic about its place in the world. They really do have no geopolitical sense.