August 25, 2012
The Divided States of America
Every election is arguably more important than the one before it, but there's just something electrifying about the possible switcheroo of administrations that screams "This is big, people!" Maybe it's the fact that I'm older and have finally taken an interest in how I want my homeland to be run. Maybe it's because I have developed a preference to tune into what's currently happening around the world (thank you NPR, your All Things Considered complements my drive down Santa Monica Boulevard). Or maybe it's because I've learned to look at The Big Picture ever since I turned 30 (interpret that however you want).
It is during times like these when I make several admissions to myself (I'll do my best not to stack up the soapboxes as I write this):
First, I admit I am still not fully educated on world events and foreign matters, which, when you think about it, makes me totally...American. But, thanks to Anderson Cooper 360 and Piers Morgan, I've been sharpening my sense of where we stand as a society, as a people, as the "most powerful nation in the world," and I hope most of my fellow Americans can still feel proud to call themselves Americans (for the right reasons, that is).
Secondly, I admit that, once this whole election thing is done and we have our new/same guy in Office, chances are I, like most people I know, will go back to being numbed by the barrage of pop cultural distractions that will come my way. Jon Stewart can continue his punditry on Washington while I continue mine on Hollywood.
That said, I would love it if Hollywood producers could spin a successful sci-fi movie franchise in which the future isn't so bleak, isn't so dystopian. I'm not asking for utopian perfection. Sure, the new Star Trek may have offered us a glimpse at a brighter way of living down on Earth (forgive me if I can't think of other examples), but where's the rest of it? Why are stories about teens slaughtering one other in televised competitions and tales of collapsed governments and deteriorated morals so appealing? Why do we insist on romanticizing a future world in which there's hardly any hope left to hang on to? Because it's that more exciting? Because it sets the stage for the most compelling of conflicts?
Is this how we see (and enjoy) ourselves? Is this how the rest of the world sees us, swirling around in a giant toilet-whirlpool, slowly making our way down the drain?
While I do find myself drawn to international relations of the pop kind (if you haven't jumped on the Emeli Sande bandwagon by now, then do so), I realize how some of the world views our United States of America. One moment we're perceived as a land of opportunity and fulfilled dreams, a proverbial melting pot of success stories, and the next, we're one big hot mess of a country full of contradictions, wasteful expenditures, and warped priorities.
I'm sure there's a crapload more to discuss here, but I don't wish to further open this can of worms. After all, that's what comment boxes are for.
As much as I sometimes want to slap the shit out of Elisabeth Hasselback (another admission: she's actually become more tolerable), I understand and accept why she sits across from Whoopi on The View. That estrogenic roundtable, like many diverse platforms, represents what America should always and forever be: United.
Soft-rocking the vote,
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