Monday, December 19, 2005

What spawned Thursday night's rant

My undergrad roommate came from a wealthy family. We'll call him "Rocky." Rocky was a super nice guy. He always smiled. His parents had a cabin in Tahoe, a butt-load of stock and other investments, and were still madly in love with each other. Rocky skied a lot and generally enjoyed life.

Rocky did what he wanted to do for a living. Imagine taking a job because you want to do it instead of taking it for the money. I'm sure most of us aren't in that boat. When Rocky's parents pass on, they'll leave him millions. He won't blow it though. He's just not that kind of guy.

I used to visit Rocky a lot and got a chance to meet a lot of his hometown chums. Like him, they all had rich parents. Unlike him, they were all miserable. They didn't appreciate their lot in life. Some of them were even America-haters, for it was America's fault they were unhappy. Go figure.

I grew up by a refinery. I had horrible allergies and was on prescription allergy medicine in high school. I fell asleep in class often, party because high school is boring, but also because the drugs made me tired. My little brother had it worse though. He actually had asthma. When we moved, for some strange reason, both of our ailments disappeared.

We grew up loving America. My parents drummed in our heads that if you work hard and invest properly, you will get rich in this country. So we all did. The two siblings in their 30s (including me) are now well-off. My older brother will probably beat me as the first Zombieslayer to have a million in net worth. I'm happy for him and his family.

My friends in the refinery town were all hard-working, good people, and patriotic. I didn't understand why Rocky had so many friends that would be multi-millionaires when their parents bit the dust, yet they hate America.

In college, I met a lot of America haters. They too were all white and came from well-off backgrounds. In Grad school, I hung out with a lot of my fellow Minority Engineering students who for the most part were from even rougher backgrounds than I grew up, yet they were patriotic and believed they'll be successes someday. Considering how smart and driven they all were, I bet they already are.

I used to do Spoken Word in Chico. In the Spoken Word circles, there's a lot of America-hatin' going on. The thing is, I know all these people and they'll all white and from wealthier backgrounds than I came from.

I've seen America-hatin' in European circles too. They conveniently forget to mention their own history while they rattle off every evil thing America has ever done. They probably memorize the list. That's just silly. Now, I don't know all the European America-haters, but I think I can safely say that they're almost all white and come from wealthier backgrounds than I did. Don't get me wrong, I like Europeans, just not America-haters.

We had a Bulgarian three jobs ago go off on America once. Before I had a chance to tear him a new one, a Chinese guy and an El Salvadorian dug into him and exposed him as a jack*ss. The Chinese guy and the El Salvadorian were glad to be here and thankful for all America has given them. D*mn unappreciative Bulgarians. Seriously, if he feels so bad about America, he ought to go back to Bulgaria. You know why he doesn't? Because Bulgaria sucks and he knows it.

I don't get it. I know America isn't perfect. I haven't liked any of the Presidents we've had since I've been old enough to vote, yet America continues to thrive. Americans still get almost every single Nobel Prize. We still lead the world in inventions year after year (with Japan #2 and everyone else irrelevant).

I won't deny we have our problems, but I really think our problems are less than any other country. We have it good here, and it's not the working class who can't appreciate it, but rather the white upper-middle class, the same people who benefit from being Americans a heck of a lot more than I did when I was growing up.

31 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

Sorry about your Packers. And sorry I've neglected your blog. I do miss it if that accounts for anything.

12/19/2005 9:03 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I can see your standpoint. Like I've said before, I don't like everything about America, but I would not choose to live anywhere else. Even though I don't make a lot of money, I am one of those rare people who are doing what they enjoy for work. For that and my friends and family, I am grateful.

12/19/2005 9:30 PM  
Blogger Liquidplastic said...

Sometime the rich feel guilty watching so much suffering while they are safe and secure. Also a lot of rich white boys grow up in the massive hypocrisy of America. I think what they need to do is give me their money and I will make them happy.

Zombie, in all fairness, it's only a small percentage that have it good in America. You have to be in the right place at the right time. Most of us, even with college degrees and working hard, usually wound up with two jobs and being underpaid for both. The American dream is very illusive for many folks living in America and paying most of their money in taxes to support the very rich you are speaking off.

I am happy for anyone who has gained wealth, but here in America foreigners can get a $100,000 dollars unsecured SBA business loan, when folks like me, even with good credit and a good business plan can't get jack. It's my tax dollars going into their pockets and I can't even benefit from my own tax dollars.

I worked two jobs for over thirty years, raised a family of five, including a lot of community children who had it worst. I didn’t have money to invest, because my pay check never caught up with the cost of living. I couldn’t afford to retire, so even now I do contract work. Because I am old I can’t get a regular job. There are too many of them going overseas, and for some reason, no matter how hard the colored folks have worked to build this country, they call us lazy and give the job to ... foreigners. I don't hate the foreigners, but it pisses me off when they come over hear and achieve the American dream with my damn tax dollars, while I am called lazy even working two, three jobs just to survive.

You are not the only one tired of hearing rich white and upper middle class white say how much they hate America while bleeding it dry!

I use to think I hated America too, but now I know it was not America I hated, it was the greedy politicians, preachers, and sorry ass teachers who killed your dreams even before you got out of middle school.

You are blessed and as such I am so very happy for you and your family. But being poor was not my choice. I am a daughter of sharecroppers, I am lucky that I have not died from not being able to afford the medication that keeps me alive. This too is not my choice, but the food we eat and the water we drink is so polluted, what is one to do.

OK, so it took me a long time to type this, but I just wanted to once again … take you into my world. No I don’t hate America; I love what it is supposed to stand for. But I am not blind to America’s hypocrisy and prejudices, which you have pointed out more then one time in your Constitution/Bill of Rights post.

I don't ask for much, but without equality (class/race) one will always make do, and work on jobs they hate just to survive.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your love ones.

12/19/2005 9:40 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Jenn - Always glad to have you here. Today was the first day I've wanted Favre to step down. I'm now kind of worried. I do want to see him back, but not if he plays like he played this season.

Notta - That's wonderful you enjoy your work. I'm doing it for the money. I'm really happy for "Rocky," as I'm happy for you. Working eight hours a day and liking it is better than working eight hours a day and loving the money but not the job.

LP - I think what they need to do is give me their money and I will make them happy.

Lol! I should have said that back when I was broke.

I am happy for anyone who has gained wealth, but here in America foreigners can get a $100,000 dollars unsecured SBA business loan, when folks like me, even with good credit and a good business plan can't get jack. It's my tax dollars going into their pockets and I can't even benefit from my own tax dollars.

That's why we really need an American Nationalist movement. I'm tired of seeing Americans being left behind while corporations bend over backwards to push foreigners ahead. Nothing against foreigners, but wouldn't it be nice if we took care of our own first?

There are too many of them going overseas, and for some reason, no matter how hard the colored folks have worked to build this country, they call us lazy and give the job to ... foreigners.

I would heavily tax outsourcing, so heavily that they'd be forced to bring the jobs back here. It really drives me nuts. The American South and the Appalachians are unacceptably poor, and it pisses me off to no end that they're being overlooked while jobs go overseas. As I said, let's take care of our own first, then take care of others.

I will readily admit that much of success is luck and timing. it's much easier to be rich if you're surrounded by rich people. Bill Gates didn't start off a farmer, he was born a millionaire and his father was a VP at IBM. How do you think he got an inside sale for his operating system? Coincidence? Of course not.

But I was lucky. My refinery town was only fifteen miles away from where the millionaries live. I trick-or-treated at their houses and learned that I wanted what they had.

My parents did everything they can to get us to go to school with rich people, so I could associate with them. They had me go to a speech therapist so I could sound like them. I should really do a separate post on this.

Money isn't everything. I have my health, and so do my loved ones, and that's more important than money. I will be rich, but if I lose my health, I'd gladly trade my health back for the money.

Wish you and your loved ones the best Christmas as well. Thanks. :)

12/19/2005 10:37 PM  
Blogger SME said...

I don't wanna pick on Communists here - but I will. Communists here in Canada rant about "Amerika" while receiving every benefit of living in these countries - benefits you won't get just anywhere. Then they have the chutzpah to accuse America of war crimes and torture (i.e. Abu Ghraib). Um, hi, do you think the Securitat were traffic cops? That Lubyanka was a freakin' spa? If Cuba's so fab, why are people throwing their families onto doors and risking death by shark just to live in Florida? I'm HEARING how great other countries are in comparison to the U.S./Canada, but I'm not seeing the evidence.

12/20/2005 1:59 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

LiquidPlastic: You hit the nail on the head, I think. I can't speak for others, but the reason I complain about many institutions and policies in this country is because they work against the supposed American Dream. Our education system has turned into vocational training for jobs that are going overseas. Institutionalized racism and sexism are still ever present, we just don't talk about them. For every ZombieSlayer or Horatio Alger, there's thousands others like them that won't make it. Some people will say it's their own fault, or they didn't try hard enough. But I say it's because our system is set up intentionally to only allow a few through fence. You let a few through, and you give the illusion of possibility to millions of others who will then work their asses off for the system that keeps them ever on the other side. If everyone made it, our economy would collapse.

12/20/2005 5:06 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Zombie, There's a lot to love about being an American. Maybe the best part is the idea that every citizen has the right to critique his/her government.

12/20/2005 5:53 AM  
Blogger neal said...

I don't understand this either. Someone who has done so well in this country and then turns around and hates it for the very reasons they themselves have succeeded. It is like the old saying 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you'.

I still think anyone who does this should be stripped of all their wealth while it is given to the needy and then deposit their sorry ass in any third world country. Let them realize how well off they had it.

I just saw how Bill Gates was awarded one of the positions of Man of the Year for his 29 billion dollar contribution to charity. I may not like Microsoft but Gates does do alot with his money for good and he obviously doesn't spew anti-American sentiments.

People like these haters I just want to slap some sense in to.

12/20/2005 8:13 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Sme - Cuba's an excellent example. It's extremely racist against blacks. My buddy went there from Mexico (can't go there from here) and wrote a journal about his trip.

Sure, they have health care, but there are no jobs and no freedom. He'd run into several doctors who drove cabs.

That's communism for you. Security, but no freedom. And no jobs.

Laura - Our education system has turned into vocational training for jobs that are going overseas.

This needs to change big time. This is one thing that really disgusts me. When I mention tariffs, the Right-wingers reply that tariffs will destroy free trade (free trade? you got to be joking) and the Left-wingers reply racism. Huh?

If everyone made it, our economy would collapse.

Have to disagree with you here. If everyone suddenly became wealthy, they'd buy more American products and buy McMansions. The economy would spurt. It's like the old liberal saying that if you give a dollar to a working class person, they'd re-invest it in the economy.

Jessica - This is something unfortunately that we take for granted. Hatred of the President and the current Administration would get folks thrown in jail in a lot of other countries.

Neal - That's exactly the saying - "don't bite the hand that feeds you." I wish I thought of that, for America has given these people so much and they not only take it for granted, they endlessly complain of how evil America is.

I used to think "America - love it or leave it" was a childish sentiment. Now I'm seeing truth in it. I think more people need to leave America for at least a month at a time. Then they'll see how good we have it. I think Cuba would be a good place to give 'em a one way ticket. Within a few months, we'll see them dodging sharks on the way to Florida.

12/20/2005 8:24 AM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

Zombie--not to get off the subject, but I think I need you to visit this cat Cabe's blog. He's saying that Bush's actions (bugging American citizens) is PROTECTED under the Fourth Amendment. You know more about this than I do. Please check it out and advise (or leave a comment so I can read your point of view!) Thanks. :)

Federalist Solution

Bhakti

12/20/2005 8:39 AM  
Blogger Bhakti said...

I think the reason 'wealthy' people aren't as happy as the 'have nots' is because they think that their happiness is somehow supposed to come from everything that they have, and all they have acquired. Anyone who has ever had lasting happiness (and by lasting happiness I don't mean hasn't gone through bad times, I mean, just look at my current health situation!!) knows for a fact that happiness comes from inside.

I believe when you grow up without having everything that you could ever want you are placed in the wonderful position of learning that true happiness comes from within. You don't have to think that your happiness is coming from the new Porsche your father bought you for your 16th birthday.

I'm not saying it's bad to have material possessions. It's not bad at all (money is not the root of all evil; the love of money is). I'm just saying that basing your happiness on your material possessions is a one way ticket to anger, resentment, and bitterness.

I do know a couple of millionaires that are very happy and have everything in the world that you could ever want. One grew up raising chickens and made millions by investing money he made from his plumbing company. The other inherited his father's fortune.

I wish everyone true happiness always. The kind of happiness that endures in your heart, even during adversity. I believe that is true happiness.

12/20/2005 8:48 AM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Thanks, Slayer.
It's nice to see someone writing something
positive about America. :)

12/20/2005 10:04 AM  
Blogger lime said...

i want to clarify that i am not an america-hater. i know that by being born here i am afforded more opportunity than at least 80% of the world's population. to not be grateful for that would be profoundly idiotic.

i do find it hard to stomach the folks though who are so pro-american they cannot see the good anywhere else. i don' tfind that attitude prevalent on this blog. it's just a thing that makes me cringe when i encounter it. i lived overseas for a while and fell in love with another culture. i have a lot of pals from other nations to and i love hearing about life wherever they came from. it makes me grateful for the blessings i have here, but it also exposes me to new ways of thinking.

we are an immigrant nation that was enriched incalculably (izat a word? i dunno, it is now. lord help me i hope i aint getting all bush-like with coinage) by people from other lands. to forget that and to refuse to learn from other cultures and see beauty in them puts us at a loss.

i certainly do see the irony of the most blessed being the least content and most prone to american hating....go figure. i have a friend from ghana, she is nobility over there. and yet she and her husband are here because they and their children can get a better education, better medical care, etc.....she'd sooner be here, working two jobs and going to school, and living in a tiny apartment because it affords more opportunity than living the life of nobility in ghana. says something doesn't it?

maybe we sent the america-haters to the third world?

12/20/2005 10:21 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

There's a lot of truth to what you say ZS.

There seems to be a lot of complaining and not a lot of doing around us. I believe in the idea that if you don't like something, do something to change it...and that generally means doing more than just whining.

America is a land of many opportunities. I would argue that the same opportunities exist in nearly every first world country though. It would be hard to argue that there's limited potential in a country like, say, Germany.

There are differences in culture of course - like you can't flip off or swear at a cop in Germany - but there are pluses that correspond to the minuses - for example, there are less cases of police brutality.

What America has been blessed with is bountiful resources, both natural and human. We've had a government system that has allowed the freedom to exploit those resources. Countries in places like Africa will never be able to compete, not because they have an inferior government system or inferior people, but because they have no resources.

I love this country too. I grew up on the fringes of the Tahoe crowd - upper middle class - so I have no complaints about the opportunities I've had. But I'm also aware that there are many people who have never had the opportunities that I have.

My feeling is that in the land of plenty, there should be no one living without. Sadly, that's not the case.

Thanks for the thought provoking post...again! I always love coming here to get a well thought out viewpoint that I may or may not agree with. That and the hot babes and zombie fighting lessons!

12/20/2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"If everyone suddenly became wealthy, they'd buy more American products and buy McMansions."

Gotta disagree ZS. As my friend Niki says "the world needs ditch diggers". If everyone were suddenly wealthy, they could all invest, but who would do the grunt work, except of course the "foreigners"? The problem with that is then America ceases to be the "Land of Opportunity" for immigrants that it was founded to be, negating a key ingredient of the American Dream. Opportunity would still be open only to a select few.

12/20/2005 11:47 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

bhakti completed your post to perfection!
There's something about EARNING what you have that makes you appreciate life.

12/20/2005 2:06 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Bhakti - I defended you on his site. You are correct, what President Bush did was a violation of the 4th and in this case, he was very wrong.

Anyone who has ever had lasting happiness (and by lasting happiness I don't mean hasn't gone through bad times, I mean, just look at my current health situation!!) knows for a fact that happiness comes from inside.

This is right on. Nobody could make you happy. You have to let them make you happy. That's why you see happy people in all classes as well as miserable people in all classes.

Funny you mention chickens. There's a lot of money to be made in chickens. People make fun of chickens, but Americas are realizing beef is making them fat, so they're eating more chicken and less beef. I'm not anti-beef, but I don't have it more than once a week now.

Miranda - Keep coming. This is only the beginning.

Lime - I really think every America needs to spend at least one month in the Third World. It would change their perspective on a lot of things. The good - you get exposed to a different food, a different culture, and you see people trying to get by with less. The bad - you'll most likely end up with intestinal pain, as I did with parasites, twice.

Thanks for the story. If I'm not mistaken, Ghana actually has some natural resources.

Shawn - The problem with Europe is you can't get rich. That's why so many European stars live here. Rob Halford's in Arizona. Yngwie's in L.A. The thing is, you can't get as poor there as you can here. I'll trade the chance to get rich any day though.

Very true we have the resources, but so does Mexico. They have more proven reserves of oil than we do. They probably have more silver than we do. Their farmland is excellent, as is California's. Yet, they're a good example of the rest of the world. They're so corrupt that opportunity is scarce, unless you were born rich. It's also a gorgeous country, and that's why they have to bring the military to the tourist areas, to keep their corrupt police in check so they don't harass tourists.

Laura - Let's go back thirty years. Remember the times when janitors were union and actually made decent money? So were carpenters, home builders, brick masons, concrete finishers, etc. Those were good jobs that paid a lot of money. Because of illegal immigration, those jobs now suck. They're unsafe, and don't make any money. The Man likes it that way. I don't.

This is not a problem of America needing poor, but rather a problem with The Man using illegals and outsourcing to artificially keep American worker wages down.

Tshsmom - I'm so glad Bhakti found this site. :)

12/20/2005 6:55 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

As usual agree with you ZS. To me it's the height of stupidity and hypocracy to 'hate' a place and live in/profit by it.

If you don't like it, do the honorable thing and leave.

Like I ranted, it's so damn easy to be/say that you are against something. Much harder to be 'for' something.

These folks have maybe had it too soft?

Anyway, good post, even though it's also a bit scary.

Bridg

12/20/2005 7:57 PM  
Blogger lime said...

ZS, ghana does indeed hav enatural resources. it's colonial name was 'gold coast'

12/20/2005 8:54 PM  
Blogger scumbag said...

real simple here. if ya don't like it, get the fuck out. i can say fuck here can't i?

12/20/2005 9:47 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Bridget - These folks have maybe had it too soft?

That's what I'm wondering. They never really struggled, although "Rocky" didn't really struggle either, but turned out to be a wonderful person. Then again, he had a loving family. I think that's probably key to it all.

Lime - Ah, so that's the gold coast. I was unsure. I'm going to have to read more on it. Hadn't had African history since the early 90s.

Cap'n - real simple here. if ya don't like it, get the fuck out. i can say fuck here can't i?

Please do. But like I said before, I encourage everyone to leave the country and live in a Third World nation for at least a month, lovers and haters alike. Leaving the country made me love this country even more.

12/21/2005 12:41 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours, Slayer! XOXOX

P.S. I did read this post. Great stuff as per the usual.

12/21/2005 1:13 AM  
Blogger Slade said...

You know, I think you really hit something here when you mention class...When looking at the media and news, which I know is a bias viewpoint, lower class people seem to be the most patriotic and upper class whiney white people seem to bitch the most...this is just from what I have seen in the media, but it is interesting...

12/21/2005 5:37 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Slade - Sociologists have found the same thing. The other funny thing they've found are the ones most scared of crime and criminals are the ones least affected by it.

Jenn - You too. Hoping your son loves what you get him for Christmas. :)

12/21/2005 8:31 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I'm thankful for Bhakti too. She has such a beautiful soul!

12/21/2005 2:06 PM  
Blogger Vest said...

The officers and ships co of HMS Ceylon a 7,000 ton Colony Class cruiser 6" guns etc, represented the Brit govt, the day the West African colonies of The Gold Coast and Togoland etc became the republic of Ghana March 6 1957 (Not researched off the cuff). Earlier, supplies and equipment were taken ashore at Takoradi then on to Accra which had no harbour or docking facillities.
Men on board the ship were trans ferred ashore by surf boat and then by a 'Sedan Chair'thingy powered by four huge local Gents and deposited on the beach.
I stayed for two nights at the United Africa Co guest House in Accra.
After fuelling up with plonk I with others joined the locals dancing in the streets who crazed with excitement were shouting "Freedom Freedom" After awhile I joined in, shouting
"Rexona Rexona".
Kwame Nkrumah. their appointed leader, completely stuffed up their aspirations during his following years in office.
Ghana I believe sourced 80% of the Worlds Chocolate Industry.
Shirtly Temple (Black) was Ghana's first U S A Ambassador.

There is a more exciting A/c of this in JLS's book, W G T A T FLIES.

12/21/2005 4:37 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Vest - Wow! You were actually there in '57. If I'm not mistaken, they were the first sub-Saharan African former colonial country to gain its independence. Did not know about the chocolate, nor Shirley Temple Black was an Ambassador there. I knew she was an Ambassador. thanks for the history lesson/story.

Tshsmom - Yes she does. I love optimists.

12/21/2005 6:49 PM  
Blogger Vest said...

zom. Ghana produced the Cacao Bean, in fact as I said 80% of the world supply in 57, so you choco lovers should give thanks to that impoverished country for that delicious taste you so love.
Absolute truth, I am having my desert after dinner right now, French vanilla ice cream with sliced banana and Chocolate topping.

Stuffed up spelling Shirley Temple.

Isn't it exciting Kids; 3 sleeps to go then we can hang up our stockings, Bye.

12/21/2005 10:37 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Vest - Our stockings are already up. We stick them up several weeks before Christmas. They don't get stuffed until the clock strikes Christmas, and hopefully Junior's in bed.

As for chocolate sundaes, haven't had one of those in too long. I think this weekend, that will have to change. Good idea. :)

12/21/2005 11:21 PM  
Blogger Vest said...

zom. I Have been to capn scumbags blog, real Sicko, told the guy too.

12/22/2005 12:06 AM  
Blogger Vest said...

zom. It was my G/Daughter who noticed the blog name Cap'n scumbag and the F word and asked "Who could be that silly to give themselves that name"?

Since then I have crossed swords with the moron, C S, several times.

12/26/2005 9:41 PM  

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