Monday, September 07, 2009

Xenophobia R' Us

Among the other things I considered on my recent brief escape from America, is this: most of the millions of people who are so certain that "socialized medicine" would be the work of Satan, are surely the very ones who have never been to any of those hellish places where they have it: France, Italy, England, Switzerland, Korea, Japan et cetera. They're among the 70 some percent of Americans who don't even have (let alone use) a passport.

Now, having been at least briefly in all of these places (and even received excellent free treatment in the hellish embrace of the England's "public 'elf") I cannot really say that I ever perceived these countries to be purgatorial places where the populace was notably tormented, or unhealthy.

Now, I love rambling around in America. I've seen a helluva a lot of it, including some of its most remote nooks and crannies. I've been to every state except (oddly) Wisconsin -- and I mean to get there one day soon. But it occurs to me that a lot of Americans are horribly narrowed by the fact that they never see anything but America -- and too often only the portions of America they can drive to, take their RV's to, launch their boats in et cetera. I think as people we're too often anchored by the things we wrongly believe are necessary to our comfort and enjoyment. We forget that in the presence of beauty and mystery we need very little. And we no longer valorize traveling light, throwing the accumulated junk over the side and striking out for parts unknown to us.

This state of affairs really is diametrically opposed to what made America, what made the Enlightenment for that matter. Nowadays it's fashionable in America to hate the people who have enough gumption to get up and go, to see if what's over the horizon is, as the fables have it, more wonderful than the Old Country. Why that lot is just a bunch of parasites, trying to horn in on the picket-fence, cable equipped Paradise of the DittoHeads.


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