lördag 30 juni 2012
Söndagsläsning om USA, landet som blev en dålig repris på svenskt 70-tal
Standing at the bar waiting for an audience with the sole barkeep, I was engaged in a conversation by a couple of middle-aged guys, about nothing much in particular. Quickly, however, we learned that they knew someone I know in my hometown.
Having discovered a mutual acquaintance, the conversation became even more chummy - until I mentioned, for reasons I don't recall, that this particular acquaintance and I got along even though we didn't always see eye to eye on the matter of government.
All I said, almost literally, was, "Yes, I tend to favor a smaller government, because in my observation it doesn't matter if the country is run by Republicans or Democrats. It is always poorly run, so it seems to me that the smaller a government is, the less damage it can do."
That single comment caused the same reaction as if I had tossed a bag of wasps at these guys. One second, comradely conversation, the next I was confronted by two snarling primates.
"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO CAN'T AFFORD MEDICAL CARE?!!!?!!"
"Well, in the days before Medicare..."
"DON'T GIVE ME THAT BULLSHIT, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?!!"
"But you didn't give me a chance to answ..."
"CUT THE CRAP!!!! YOU PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RUNNING THIS COUNTRY FOR 40 YEARS, AND LOOK WHERE IT'S GOTTEN US!!!!"
"Excuse me, but 'my' people haven't been anywhere near the government in forever. Maybe you misunderstand my posi..."
"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO CAN'T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES?!!!"
It was at this moment that my increasingly fine-tuned CP Alert went off like a klaxon in a leaking submarine. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, CP Alert stands for "Crappy People Alert."
Lest you misunderstand, these were crappy people not because they clearly held views opposed to my own, but because they reacted so rabidly, allowing not even a scintilla of a reasonable exchange of views. In fact, all they wanted to do was, literally, yell at me.
Actually, it was worse than that.
Without the slightest exaggeration, I firmly believe that, if given the opportunity, these two individuals would have stripped me of every penny I have ever saved from a lifetime of hard work. Then they would have burned down my house and beaten me to death. Placing their attitude in a historical context, these were the very same types of people who donned the red caps and dragged out the guillotines in France circa 1792.
Now, there is one thing, and only one thing, to do when your CP Alert goes off, and that is to unhesitantly and immediately disengage.
"Sorry, guys, this conversation is not going anywhere good, so goodnight," I said abruptly, then returned to my table.
They shouted after me, one of them even attempting to get me to reengage by saying they would actually let me finish a sentence. I declined with a pleasant smile and a "No, thanks" and henceforth ignored them, and so they soon slipped out of the bar and out of my life, which is exactly what one wants to happen to crappy people.
I will tell you, however, that what I saw in their faces - sheer mindless hatred over the idea that government should shrink - made a deep impression on me. Even though they could have no idea who I am, or what I really believe, the pent-up anger they feel at the damaged economy and their hardened belief that it was due to the free market was visceral. And dangerous.
I have no idea what percentage of the population now harbors this level of antipathy and overt hostility, but I fear it will only grow over time as the economy worsens.
Skribenten är alltid intressanta David Galland.