In my wanderings through the internet, I came across one of those ubiquitous articles trashing the USA, written from the perspective of people from other countries. I don’t know why I even looked at it since I don’t appreciate such articles, mostly because they don’t reflect my life at all. What people hate about us are so often the policies enacted by politicians without regard to any of us — neither those of us living here, nor those living elsewhere. And if it’s not those policies that earn us such disregard, it’s the international corporations that destroy us as much as anyone else. (Why such corporations are considered to be American, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s easier to talk about how horrible the people in the USA are then point the finger at themselves?)

What stuns me is how much contempt people have for us while at the same time they have their hand out for the USA taxpayer’s money. (I read somewhere once that the United States should declare itself a third world country, that way some of our foreign aid could go to fix our own problems.) As for why we are handing out money — I don’t understand that, either. For example, we send money to China, yet we borrow money from China so that we can send it to them. Even more absurd, the people we send aid to hate us just as much as everyone else. And most absurd of all, so many of those same people want to move here so they can change this country to be just like theirs.

But none of that was in the article I mentioned above. It was more about cultural expectations and assumptions. Some people found it shocking that each of the states and each section of each state has its own particular culture and history and lifestyle. Others found the level of patriotism a bit over the top. Others were appalled at both the level of fitness in the country as well as the level of obesity. Some were shocked by the huge open spaces while others were stunned by the reality of the big cities, as if they’d assumed New York and Chicago were sets created as backdrops for various movies, even though neither are in the top ten of the largest cities worldwide. Some people thought the number of stores ridiculous, even though some areas (such as where I live) have very few stores. Some people were shocked that contrary to the hype, we generally are a friendly bunch. And on and on and on.

To me, this article wasn’t about the terribleness of the United States, but about the ignorance of the people who made these assumptions. A few minutes spent with Google, for example, can tell people that New York is real, and as large as it is, other cities in other countries are so much more populous.

Also, a brief look at statistics can show why assumptions of any kind regarding the USA are ridiculous, especially for those who are looking for some sort of uniformity throughout the country. Although the corner of Colorado where I live is approximately the size of the Netherlands, only about 100,000 people live here compared to the 17.4 million living in Holland, and yet this area is part of the same country that includes unwieldy cities such as New York, Chicago, and Seattle. And that’s not all. The USA and Europe are roughly the same size, though there are twice as many people living in Europe as live in the USA and 45 times more countries in Europe than in the USA. (45 European Countries vs. 1 USA country.)

So, what have I learned from all this other than that assumptions are simply assumptions and not fact? That’s easy. Stay away from articles purporting to tell me how terrible we in the USA are.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Without Sense or Sensibility

Yesterday I wrote about how the country is ever more divided, and I used an example of how the move to a national popular vote will make rural areas subject to the whims of the major cities, even though those folks know nothing about the problems of rural areas. I responded to a comment left on the blog with, “those people seem to want to control everything without sense or sensibility.” And then it dawned on me — they really do want to control everything.

I thought the move to a popular vote rather than the electoral college was about the big city liberals controlling who would be president for the foreseeable — and unforeseeable — future, but it could also be about setting up a de facto government outside of the White House. Without the electoral college (or with the electoral college if the states all decide to push their electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote as the Colorado liberals have voted to do) there would be a second national powerbase. If by any chance the liberals didn’t secure the government through votes, they could fight it with the power of the states themselves.

It seems as if this would put the “total” in totalitarianism. I don’t know if it could ever happen, but a lot of things are going on that I never thought could happen, so who knows.

It’s kind of funny, although I tend to be a centrist, able to see all sides — the best and the worst they have to offer — this current political climate is so skewed that it rocks me out of that centrism. Too many easily disproved lies have become hardened facts in many voter’s eyes, and I end up defending candidates to whom I normally wouldn’t give a single thought. (I don’t care who votes for whom, but when someone cites one of these “facts” to me as the reason not to vote for a particular person, the injustice and stupidity of it gets my dander up.)

I truly hope I can get back to my old cynical view of the world, thinking it doesn’t matter who runs what — one lying crook or corrupt politician, seemingly without sense or sensibility, is the same as another. I do know that regardless of what I think or who is elected to office, the leftists will continue their encroachment on the schools. That is where the true power lies — in the unformed minds and hearts of the young because they are the future.

Yeah, cynical for sure, but there is comfort — and perhaps even a measure of peace — in cynicism.


What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? Considering the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, it might be an improvement. Or not.

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God
Click here to purchase the Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

The Great Divide

More and more, the United States seems to becoming un-united, polarized by democrats vs. republicans, liberals vs. conservatives, socialists vs. capitalists, big government vs. less government, rich vs. poor, equity vs. equality, the powerful vs. the powerless, those who want to uphold the constitution vs. those who want to make it more flexible, as well as the divisions caused by the various gender and melanin issues.

More important to me since I live in a small, isolated community, is the ever-growing divide between big cities and rural areas. One issue that concerns rural folks all around the country is the push toward a popular vote. If this were enacted, not only would policies that affect rural areas be decided by major cities within the state, they’d more probably be decided in New York City and Los Angeles, with perhaps Chicago and Houston chiming in, since those are the four largest cities in the USA. The Colorado Legislature has already passed a measure that all our electoral votes would go not to the candidate the people in Colorado voted for, but to whoever won the popular vote nationally. The only reason this is not now law is that it has to be voted on by the people. If it’s passed, it would lock rural areas out of the voting process completely because their vote simply would not count.

Which brings us to another divide within the state. Colorado used to be republican, but because of the vast numbers of people moving to Denver from California and New York as well as Texas, Denver — the capitol — is now democrat while the rest of the state is republican. It doesn’t sound like it would be that much of an issue, unless you live in a county far removed from Denver and its power-hungry politicians.

The latest mess we locals been handed is that some woman legislator in Denver decided that private prisons have to go for some murky reason I’ve never been able to discover. As far as I can tell, there are only two such prisons besides one in a major city: one in this county and one in a nearby county. Both counties have about the same population — approximately 5,000 people spread out over 1,541 square miles. With agriculture pretty much dead around here, there is basically only one business that employs more than a few people and pays them well— the prison.

Because of that one crotchety woman’s campaign against these prisons, the county stands to lose millions in annual payroll, almost a million in goods and services such as utilities, and more than a million in property taxes. Those property taxes help pay for fire control, ambulance, schools, library, the senior center and various other services this town needs. Without the prison, the people who live here — already an impoverished lot, with only prison workers and a few others making a decent living — will have to pick up the slack, with higher property taxes (as well as lower property values), higher utilities, and probably a whole slew of other problems that will stem from these major issues.

The county commissioners, of course, are working to keep this prison open, but it’s a hard slog when no one in power in Denver has any clue as to what is going on in the far reaches of the state.

We’re already isolated by distance and politics and economic standards (I’m sure you figured that out since I was actually able to buy a house here when there is no way I’d ever even be able to afford to rent a room in a ramshackle house in a place like Denver). I can’t imagine what would happen to this town if Denver has its way. If they decided to keep the prison and turn it into a state-run facility, it wouldn’t solve the problem — jobs would be lost, pay would not be as great, and the property taxes would still be lost since government installations don’t have to pay taxes.

Normally, I wouldn’t write about such a local issue (or maybe I would, what do I know?) but this particular conflict seems to mirror what is happening all over the country — an ideologic divide that is so great and polarized that there seems to be no way to bridge the gap.

It used to be that we in the USA all wanted the same thing — equality, prosperity, freedom — or at least most of us did. The party lines were drawn by the difference in how people wanted to go about achieving those ends.

Now the division is created not in trying to come together to achieve the same end, but in trying to achieve completely different ends, which is exactly what is going on here.

Whatever happens, either locally or nationally, I don’t see a long-range solution. Even if the local folks can save the prison and hence the town, the greater problem — the growing polarization in the country will remain.


What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? Considering the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, it might be an improvement. Or not.

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God
Click here to purchase the Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.