My Country Right or Wrong
Soon after I wrote my previous post, right on cue, I read an article stating China is now not allowing smaller cities to build skyscrapers.
What bothers me about this is not the admission that market forces in China have not been behind the rise in skyscrapers, but rather what bothers me about this is that a government entity can make such an order, and it make sense.
Thomas Paine in 1776 said "these are the times that try Men's Souls".
He was talking about America. It was the first time I'd seen the phrase "sunshine patriot".
But it can be anyone in any other country, too.
I increasingly am finding myself admiring what China is doing, and I find it most alarming. Not allowing the market to decide who makes winners and losers is in a way, comforting to me. In some areas, it is a fraud.
I remember I was sitting in a Dunkin Donuts in Beijing. Next to me was an American teacher with a translator at a table and several prospective Chinese students. They wanted to learn English. He gave a rate and the students collectively gasped. He stared them down and nodded.
I almost wanted to lean over and undercut him just to piss him off. At the time I was in grad school and about to go to Shanghai for an internship. I'm glad China is shutting down all these profit taking schools and tutors. Fuck 'em. Absolutely fuck em.
I see lots of areas where suddenly I admire what China is doing. Maybe it is the side effect. But I don't care. China for instance is suddenly wanting to bring the uber rich to heel. Ok. I have no problem with that. Of course we all know the real truth is that the uber rich may someday rise up and be the proverbial tail that wags the dog. Just as it somewhat is in Russia.
But you know what? I don't give a shit. I just don't care what the real agenda is. Remember, I live in a country where Jeff Bezos pays no tax, or very little. And I live in a country where quite possibly half the country has no problem with that.
Not paying taxes in America is seen by many as "stickin' it to the Man." Or as Trump once said "because I'm smart".
No, dumbass, it wasn't because you were smart. You were a loser. But your lawyers....they were smart. And I'll never be able to afford them. As long as America is a country that is full of people that perversely celebrates unequal wealth, the problem will only get worse.
Afghanistan. Another espisode where for some reason Biden just thought it "ok" to just get up and go. Afghanistan was called America's longest war. Well, aren't people supposed to die in these wars? An American soldier hadn't been killed in nearly two years. Now with a rush and a pull, we're out. And everyone else is now freaking out about terrorists being harbored there.
Not China. They've basically closed off the whole Northwest. Millions in concentration camps? Could be. But the Chinese don't care. They don't. "It's the Party keeping the masses safe", People.
The PLA could go onto Nathan Road and shoot everyone in sight. Do you think Mainland China would care? They disdain Hong Kong, and what it stands for in their eyes; an entitled area that is untolerably Pro Western. Arrogant and in need of a comeuppance big time.
But I digress.
I am searching for something positive to say about America. It is hard to do. Everytime I go onto WeChat I see the daily videos all showing the seedy, underside of America. It's not propaganda folks. It's not "one sided". These are all videos meant to show our warts. I get it, but those problems are real. And we as a society suck at solving them. It is discouraging to see America today, trying to solve it's problems, our politicians more interested in "winning" and slowing each other down than in honestly trying to reach a consensus.
Sometimes I think the American People don't deserve Democracy. We are too dumb for it. We don't read. Two-Thirds of us probably can't find China on a map. Remember the post I wrote several years ago about my boss, when we were travelling in Shenzhen? There was a massive billboard on the street corner of an older person and he asked who that was? I had to introduce him to Deng Xiaoping.
Yep, the guy that didn't know who DXP was ran China. That in one sentence is what is wrong with America.
Maybe in my middle age I'm running out of patience. Beginning to lose an interest in the subtlety of life. Yearning more for results. In my life experience I have seen the problem, and in my life experience I think I know how to solve it. That is, perhaps now I'm simply more willing to say something I wouldn't have said before.
We as a Society, or perhaps even Civilization have failed to solve our most basic problems. Drugs run rampant. Guns are everywhere. How can it be a problem so well known two generations ago is still not solved?
I think in my middle age as I gaze over across the waters at China I have just a glint of admiration. We need to be not just a nation that respects others, but maybe more a nation of results. Maybe we respect too much, and say "no" too rarely to better avoid alienating or offending others.
But it starts at home. I used to see "My country, right or wrong", all over the place.
Well fuck that. If my country is wrong, I want to fix, not give it a pass.
I fear we are a nation that no longer focuses on results. Rather we are more intent to please everyone, than to get things done.
It is frustrating to live in America right now. Our Best and Brightest are nowhere to be found.
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