America is a weird country

Lately, I have been trying to become a member of the peace corps. I realized that it would be valuable to me to be able help people and to experience other cultures in distant lands as deeply as possible. Oddly, there is a long and complicated process involved. I need letters of recommendation. I need a college education. I need a knowledge of foreign languages. If I want to go help people in foreign countries, they're going to make me work for the right. Therefore, the irony is not lost on me that if I want to go kill people in foreign countries, I need no such qualifications.

How is it that our beloved lady liberty has spent eight billion dollars on overseas military operations since 2001? Realistically, of course, we can't just say "oh, hey, we've decided to be peaceful and are disbanding our military," but eight billion dollars? Really? If we spent that much on peaceful ventures, there'd probably just be a "Join the peace corps? Enter your SSN and Click Here" button on the peace corps website, and they'd ship you off to wherever in a month as an "Emissary of Peace and Cultural Integration," or some other absurdly government-y sounding thing.

I'd be the first on the plane, too. Learn about new people? Expand my cultural awareness? Show that America is about more than being able to buy as much shit as we can stuff in our garages/attics/livings rooms before being thrust into a lifetime of debt? Hell yeah, man. We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world; we should use that to make people's lives better, not assert our dominance over foreign cultures.

Some would say that more money should be spent here at home, etc, and not overseas. But America is like a spoiled child in that way: we ate too much candy; we still have a big pile of candy; we're going to keep eating it until we throw up; and we really don't want to share.

This is a generalization, of course. There are a lot of wonderful people here who wish to do nothing but help their fellow man with their lives. But then it is significant that such a great portion of our money goes into "creating jobs" (i.e., in many cases, creating meaningless tasks because we don't know how else to support our people) and fighting overseas. Why don't we work on creating happiness and helping overseas?

Tradition, simply. As a country... Hell, as a species we've been fighting for as long as we have been recording history. (Which makes sense, because why would history be worth recording if it were all peaceful and everybody got along and had a great time? We'd just continue being peaceful, getting along, and having a great time.) And part of this comes from the idea that it's okay to fight; that it's natural for us to fight. In addition, that it is manly, and necessary, to fight.

But think about this: For a man in a position of power, does it take bigger balls to punch someone in the face, or to face his own inadequacies and overcome them, standing tall in the face of his fear of his own self? Unquestionably, it is the latter. But America has long been like the man who, as the action movie classic Shoot 'em Up so eloquently put it, is a pussy with a gun in his hand. He is powerful, sure, but it is an illusory power. On the inside, there is dischord and he is unwilling to confront his own emotional imbalance, hiding behind the belief of his own perfection.

In America, this dischord manifests as a broken education system (utilizing the 'one-size fits all' approach in great effect to systematically demoralize our children and crush the individuality out of them); a flawed economic system (which almost encourages greed, and leads to "crises" like the current one that could easily be solved were self-reliance encouraged over corporate-reliance); a people who are, on all too large a scale, emotionally and mentally out of balance. (And drugs are NOT the cure, doctors. Not long term, anyways. Compassion, kindness, and encouraging growth are. But it is much easier to hand someone pills and take your paycheck, isn't it?)

The solution is to privatize everything. You want to send your child to a school where they learn by methods that have been in place for centuries? Fine. You want to send your child to a progressive school where learning isn't meant to be painful, the children learn about what they love to learn about, and they learn from each other, and creativity is the foundation of the learning process? You should be able to do that, too! Our country is supposed to be a beacon of growth and understanding. So why is it a beacon of failed global conduct and excessive hubris instead?

We won't let go of the past. We won't let go of the idea that our country is the best country, or some silly playground mentality like that. If our country really were the best country, it would be the country that finally brought an end to war, helped its people find true fulfillment and happiness, and showed its children how to follow in the footsteps of the truly free and the truly brave. And then it would be the country that knew that every person on Earth was one of its people... not just those who lived within some almost random geographic lines drawn on a map by a bunch of excessively grumpy old men.

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