Opinion » Bill Cope

A Look in the Mirror

Responding to our English cousins

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How're we doing out there in Blue Nation, eh? Starting to come out of it? Feeling a little perkier?

As for ol' Bill, he's getting better every day, thank you for asking. That's the ticket, you know ... take it one day at a time. Just like pro ball players and cancer survivors do.

But before ol' Bill gets all healed up and over it and goes back to writing opinions about my daughter's teenage antics and such, I must attempt to answer one of the most fundamental and perplexing questions to come out of the election. I haven't heard anyone else take it on, and by golly, it needs to be answered--if for no other reason than it was posed by America's oldest, most trusted ally... if you don't count the Revolutionary War. Or the one in 1812.

The question is not one of those unanswerable, existential howls at the moon--á la, "What's the use?"--like many of my compatriots have been asking for two weeks. No, this question is grounded in honest curiosity and the desire to see history reported accurately, I'm almost sure of it. It was asked by London's Daily Mirror the day the election results became clear, and it was very specific in its request for information. "How can 59,540,087 people be so DUMB?"

Good, honest, precise question. In my head, I can almost hear Sir Ralph Richardson asking it on stage at the Old Vic.

Dearest Merry Old England,

Thanks so much for Shakespeare, Holmes, Monty Python and fish & chips. As one fervid Anglophile, I can't imagine what we would have done without you guys ... pardon me, "chaps." And I thought you'd like to know that if it weren't for your Beatles, I might never have had sex for the first time. Or the Stones. I forget which.

Anyway, for all the refinement you have relished upon our lives, I would like to return the favor by answering your perceptive question, "How can 59,540,087 people be so DUMB?" But first, you must realize many Americans resent that you, as a bunch of foreigners, could ask such a question. Even I admit to a temporary temptation to suggest you disconcern yourself with our dirty underwear and while you're at it, cram Tony Blair up your "arse." But it is a legitimate query, particularly coming from the specific bunch of foreigners that Bush trots out every time he needs to pretend that he knows something about foreigners.

My objection would be with your choice of words. "DUMB" is not precisely right. I have taken the same position myself, by lamenting long and hard over the stupidity, the ignorance, the vacuous foolishness of people who would support the very man who tells them lies, robs them blind, and then sends their children off to violent, meaningless deaths in a faraway land.

But yet, I know many of these people personally. I know them to be capable of holding a steady job. I know they can operate complicated machinery like lawn mowers and DVDs. And even though much of their higher-level thinking has been gummed up solid by that evangelical gunk so many of them swallow whole, they can still do fundamental things like play golf and fry chicken without burning their houses down.

So, "DUMB" may not be the most precise description for what is happening here, my limey blokes. I prefer "CHILDISH." Think it over ... is it not childish to stubbornly follow false assumptions out to their illogical conclusions, even if it leads to ruin?

Is it not childish to coo and fawn over the biggest braggart and bully on the schoolyard? Even to the point of encouraging him in his capricious whims? To laugh along with the gathered mob when Bubba beats up a nerd and agree without dissent on what a cool dude Bubba is for his cruelty?

Is it not childish to insist that whatever club, gang, or country we belong to, it's the Number One best club, gang or country there could ever be? To continually confuse the most noxious nationalism with patriotism? To force everyone else to listen to how our dog is tougher than your dog, how our dad's car is faster than your dad's car, how our community's football team is higher on some list than your community's football team, how our army can kick your army's ass ... even if no one else gives a damn?

Is it not childish to demand at the table of life that we get served first, with the biggest portions, and if there's any left over, we got dibs? And if anyone gets to lick the plate, it'd better be us?

Is it not childish to always consider ourselves as the center and focus of all creation? That everything God hath wrought from the beginning of time to the present day was designed simply for the purpose of getting me and a few million of my hillbilly buds a bus ride to Heaven?

Look, you put all these traits together in one population, and it starts to sound like one big fat spoiled obnoxious judgmentally impaired brat, right-o?

Here in "The Colonies," you can see it everywhere. Featureless subdivision after featureless subdivision jammed full of people who sincerely believe that out of all the Earth's denizens, they were the ones hand-picked by The Almighty to reap the biggest, loudest, shiniest pick-up trucks ... the most decked-out fifth-wheels ... the bossest bass boats ... the trickiest cell phones. America has become a collection of toy idolaters and self-satisfiers--one big coast-to-coast day care center filled to the legal limit with tubby kids in baseball caps and "Support Our Troops" stickers on their bumper cars. Where the lesson of the day, every day, is "Self-Esteem Now! ... and as to earning it honestly, screw that!"

If you're having trouble putting your dry Brit wits around what I'm telling you, try comparing it to your own "soccer hooligans"--a testosterone-fueled orgy of self-gratification in which anything goes, from voter fraud to Ann Coulter's repugnance to killing however many rag heads it takes to keep us fat and happy with ourselves--only it's all good because no matter what our hooligans have been up to, Jesus has promised them a swell job when they die.

What you heard was absolutely right, England--that the election was won on values. The values of "ME, ME, ME!"

And how's this for funny... ever since they won, these same snots are crying that we blue voters should stop speaking the obvious, and that we should treat them with the respect and dignity they have neither earned themselves nor treated anyone else to.

Not bloody likely, eh what?