I Don't Want to Save the World!
I grew up in a country whose whole reason for existence was saving the world. We all had to sacrifice our time, our already meager resources, and our ability to buy a pair of shoes or some toilet paper (forget our freedom!) for the benefit of the working classes being oppressed en masse around the globe. There was always something to justify our misery today for the objective of the shining tomorrow: helping communist movements to overturn capitalism, giving military aid to friendly countries, keeping so-called allies in check, installing a new dictator somewhere, and on and on.
No ordinary citizen in his right mind believed a word of it; real life was about making ends meet, and that was no easy undertaking in the best of times. So this constant reminder from above of our obligations to the rest of the planet was safely ignored by everybody as just another nuisance coming with the misfortune of being born in a communist society.
When I finally made it to America, one of first things I took notice of was the absence of lofty universal aspirations pushed at me from outside. Sure, when I worked in Manhattan I saw plenty of people holding a megaphone and telling the passersby that the end is near and they have to repent or do something equally worthy to save mankind. Usually my reaction was to the effect that those poor souls didn't know how lucky they were not to be put immediately in jail, as would surely have happened in my old country.
However, my initial euphoria began to fade when I realized that even in America there is still a huge contingent of saviors. They come from two different directions -- the seriously rich and the culturally illiterate. Sometime the groups overlap, because despite the differences in style and substance, they all want what's best for us, the masses, if we just follow their advice.
The members of the first group (persons with serious money, not Obama's millionaires and billionaires making $250,000) offer various paths to global utopia: Michael Bloomberg wants to eradicate salt and tobacco, Al Gore wants us to pay for breathing, George Soros wants to institute socialism by manipulating financial markets and buying the media wholesale, and the founding kids from Google want us not to be "evil" (?!).
The best representatives of the second group are the latest TV sensation -- the "Occupy Wall Street [or insert the place here]" movement. For weeks we have been treated to a whole panoply of demands, from the ludicrous to the deranged. Many perennial favorites -- from elimination of all debts to instituting living wage, regardless of employment, to ending all the wars to free weed for everybody to doing something about those pesky Jews -- have been there on display. The only connection among all these wonderful ideas is that the rest of the citizenry should pay for them.
The sight of incoherent parasites holding up slogans promoting revolution while using all the attributes of capitalist society (iPods, iPads, iNext) is ridiculous enough. More ridiculous are the efforts of our intrepid mainstream media to figure out what these people want -- namely, by asking again and again to no discernible effect.
Funny -- I and millions of other people supporting Tea Parties all over the country don't remember being asked what we wanted. I guess the message of "leave us alone" was not so sexy. And this obsession with following the Constitution -- in our ignorance, we didn't know that it was over a hundred years old. Surely we would have known not to bother with such a decrepit document if we were as enlightened as our betters in the media.
The better question, and the one I've never heard asked, is "Why should we listen to you? By virtue of what achievement did you earn our respect?" After all, the first question to any candidate for a public office is "Why do you want to be a [president, governor, congressman, dog-catcher]?" I doubt either the snooty elite or the mindless drum-beaters could say anything interesting on the subject.
I know that I am just a little nobody from New Jersey, but I have lived the life you guys are trying to impose on the rest of us. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that you would not last a minute under those conditions.
So excuse me if I don't give a damn about what you want. Perhaps I'll listen to you after you take a shower.