Friday, October 09, 2009

Back in the loony bin

535 e-mails were waiting for me when I returned Wednesday night. As you can imagine, many were spam, many were blog comments but more than enough were little packets of outrage; pictures of Muslims carrying signs warning of retribution billed as a general picture of all Muslims, dire warnings of collapse if we reform health care, little buckets of irrational snickering about Obama and much more. All unworthy of further comment.

Every time I leave the US and come back I'm shocked and have to wait a few days for the numbness to set in and the shivering to stop the way you do when you jump into cold water.

I watched BBC news every day whilst in the UK. We really have nothing like it here. It's dull, reasoned, thorough, polite and controversies are actual and not designed to make facts look dubious and madmen seem sane and well intentioned. Yes, there was much discussion about "reforming" health care and disability insurance, but no shouting, no interrupting, no slogan shouting, no insults, no comparisons with Pol Pot, Hitler or Karl Marx: more like engineers talking about making your car run better by adjusting the spark advance or fuel mixture curve. "Yes sir, we could perhaps remove some people from inability payments but wouldn't we have to provide more money to train them?" I'd forgotten what civility was like.

We're a crazy country, mad, ill informed, agressively rude, contemptuous of reason, terrified of civilization and of its demands. I'm sick to death of it, sick of talking about it and sick of trying to do something about it -- at least for today.

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