Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Shining City on the Hill.

c. David Grim (taken 4/6/08)

Sometimes it's difficult to realize just how resistant the United States is to change. Many Americans believe that we have earned a world-leading status due to our progressive approach, and that we have evolved rapidly, thus naturally earning our position relative to the rest of the world. We flatter ourselves that everyone looks at us enviously in the hopes of catching up. No doubt our quick embrace of new technologies has flattered this perspective. When it comes to materialism, we do indeed tend to get ahead, even of ourselves.

But when it comes to real structural change... the kind that would actually change the way we live, we have a strong reactionary segment that invests an inordinate amount of energy and other resources in maintaining the status quo. Even in areas that everyone agrees there exists major problems, our society is ultimately loath to make alterations of any serious substance. Health care is a particularly appropriate and timely example of what I'm referring to.

Given the outpouring of rancor over access to medical treatment, can you imagine what would happen if Obama took a page out of Russian president Dmitriy Medvedev's playbook, and eliminated two entire time zones? I can't think of anything more damning to call the president than the "Anti-Christ", but I'm sure his opponents could. But how do the Russians respond? An online petition opposing the measure with 13,000 signatures. Could the proverbial Facebook "Head of Lettuce" or "Deranged Squirrel" get more fans than that?

And how exactly is this move by Medvedev going to affect people's lives? Ponder this quote from the petition's text: "[i]n the winter, darkness will come almost at lunchtime, which isn't convenient and is psychologically quite hard." Yikes.

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