Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is the US of A?

Watching the BBC's Panorama program on poverty in the USA lately I was shocked at the levels of homelessness, hunger and lack of healthcare in the US, still the richest country in world and still pushing their way of life on the rest of us. Even more shocking to me was the attitudes of the Republican politicians, it's your life, it's your responsibility and if you can't afford to go to the doctor, well that's your problem.

To me that is not civilized. I think one of the measures of a civilization is how it treats its weak and how it treats its animals. Even the more sophisticated animals look after their sick, their younge and their old.

But then I realised America is not a civilisation, it's not a culture, it's an economy. As an economy the measure of their success is how strong their economy is and weeding out the weak is a necessary part of maintaining that success. But has that always been so?

I don't think so. American is given us much to experiment with, some of it we love, so we don't and much we absorb without question and I think the love of money and this concept that the economy is our lord and master that cares only for sort term profit, falls in that latter category. Where that came from I don't know, but I don't think it was part of the plan of any of the cultures that found themselves there over the centuries.

Personally I am happy to live in less affluent Ireland, despite it's many problems, where we care for each other, are embarrassed to hear of people falling through the net and ashamed of our greed getting the better of us in the last years. I'd much rather be poor and part of caring community than rich and living behind locked gates.

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