Don’t get me wrong – the US of A has a lot going for it and, in spite of its faults and screw-ups, still has a lot positive going for it in many different areas.
It’s just that, over the last few years, there have been so many serious – *ahem* – stumbles that country has taken that, taken all together, really leaves a bad Taste of the USA flavor in my mouth.
- Iraq War – Back in the 1990s, when Sadaam Hussain had the nerve to invade a foreign country (Kuwait), the US got its undies in a bunch and helped push him out of that country that was not his. How dare he! Flash forward a decade, and the US is invading (Iraq) – and we expect to be greeted with open arms and applauded by the rest of the world. How’s that working out so far?
- 2004 Presidential Election – This is why people like me hate politics. Attack ads, half-truths and outright lies, a street fight broadcast 24-hours-a-day by every cable channel available. Blech. If James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were alive today, they’d be booking passage back to England.
- Abu Ghraib – Call it what you want, we are torturing people there. Period. Yes, Iraq, this is the type of democracy we’d like to foist upon you. That’s a big thumbs up, right?
- Guantanamo Bay – Holding prisoners for months without charging them, giving them no legal representation and so on. Disgraceful. Yeah, there could be bad guys there – but bad guys here, such as the BTK serial killer, get their day in court, a judge, a jury, a lawyer. OK, maybe they’re not prisoners, they are instead enemy combatants. Again, we’ll withhold basic democratic rights from you to help uphold our country, which champions basic democratic rights. I think my logic meter just had a seizure.
- The Clusterfuck that was and is the “relief effort” to help those harmed by Hurricane Katrina
The last one – the nearly week-long delay before large-scale efforts were made to help the folks down south was somewhat the last straw for me. It leaves me frustrated and exhausted. Frustausted.
It’s not like this disaster sprung out of nowhere like an earthquake or series of tornadoes. We were watching this storm system for days – it was as big as the fucking Gulf of Mexico, fer christ’s sake. With that size and trajectory, it was going to hit something (a lot of something) in the US, and whatever it hit was going to basically evaporate.
How come there were not trucks with non-perishable food and water lined up a few hundred miles away, so they could start heading in as soon as the storm passed? Convoys of troops on bases just waiting to go in. I mean, what the hell? They knew what to expect.
I’m not even (at this point) interested in the blame game. Was it FEMA’s fault? Was it FEMA’s fault, but they were hamstrung because of budget cuts? Leadership failures by mayors, governors or the president?
Who really cares? Even if you find someone to blame, it’s not going to put those meals missed Monday – Friday in the bellies of people holed up in the hole that is the Superdome in the Big Easy. It’s not going to unrape victims of the chaos that followed the hurricane or bring the dead – that didn’t need to die – back to life.
I just really don’t get it. Maybe we could have prevented 9/11 if we had done this or that, I don’t really know. I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to that one.
But this hurricane was anything but a surprise. If formed relatively (a week, not in an hour) slowly, moved slowly, and the airwaves were saturated for days with various vacuous talking heads saying this was going to hammer the Gulf Coast. The mayor of New Orleans ordered the mandatory evacuation of this very large city.
People knew some serious shit was about to hit.
Yet it happened, and it seems like everyone stood around going, “Damn!” but didn’t respond with help.
Not a good decade to be an American.