This is just a short post, because I need to vent. It will probably piss off a lot of people who read it and I honestly don’t care anymore. This needs to be said.
On Wednesday we will be traveling to Peru. We will hang out in Lima for a bit, climb Machu Picchu, then head down to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil before another short stopover in Lima and then spend our final two weeks here in New York before we move back to Singapore and I can’t wait to leave this place. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some great times while we’ve been in the US, but I’ve been sick of it here for a while now. I’ve always wanted to travel to South America, but I’m looking forward to the two-and-a-half weeks we’re spending there for more than just the fact that it’s a holiday; I’m just looking forward to getting away from this country.
Maybe it’s just the time that we’ve come, maybe I’ve just been spoiled by every day life in other countries, but, for a place that constantly refers to itself as “The greatest nation in the world,” this place really isn’t that special. Yesterday, the largest mass shooting in the country’s history occurred and, now that the mourning period for Muhammed Ali is over, it seems like the extremely vocal minority are back on the “Kill all Muslims” train and it is just pathetic, because any psychopath here can get an assault rifle, myself included. I can’t get affordable healthcare, an affordable college education, guaranteed superannuation, even approval for an apartment, but I can get my hands on a gun, no problem at all, because it is my right, it’s in the constitution, despite the fact that NOBODY needs an assault rifle, but everyone needs healthcare, education, a roof over their head and superannuation.
Let’s have a look at a couple of those problems:
- Healthcare: This is a basic right in any developed nation, except this one. People with medical conditions here aren’t patients, they’re customers and it’s not even hidden. Watch TV and all you see are advertisements for health insurance policies and medication. “Ask your doctor for [insert drug here]!” No, I trust the opinion of the person who studied medicine, not marketing. Where else in the world are people told to ask their doctor for a specific brand?
Furthermore, any time I have a seizure, Anna has to consider the severity of it and decide whether it warrants medical attention, because that could land us a bill in the tens of thousands of dollars. Why don’t we have insurance? We do, but it may not necessarily cover our needs. Also, if you see a person still working in their mid-seventies, it usually isn’t for the love of the job, it’s generally to pay off medical bills. Two things in life are guaranteed: Death and taxes. Everyone will get sick and die at some stage and there is always some piece of shit here ready to cash in on that fact.
- Affordable College Education: It is pretty difficult to get by in life without a college education these days, but unless you can hit a ball far or run really quickly, be prepared for crippling debt. Anna has a colleague who is our age that wants to do what Anna did and work overseas for a year in order to help people, but, even on an eye-surgeon’s salary, he can’t afford to for at least another five years because of his student loan.
- Housing: I’ve been through this before.
If you see someone homeless, which you do many times over every day, maybe it is due to bad life-choices, but it could also be a result of any of those three points, above. Hell, even we came close. Name another developed country where that’s the case, let alone one that likes to refer to itself as a “Global Super-Power?”
There is a presidential election coming up where choosing between the two main candidates is like choosing between getting cancer or AIDS. Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again,” but when was this ever a great place? Which era is he referring to, which period in American history?
- When it was a British colony with an unjust tax system?
- When women were burnt at the stake on suspicion of being witches?
- When they practiced slavery?
- When they practiced segregation?
- When women and minorities couldn’t vote?
- When they denied the holocaust?
- When they nuked Japan twice?
- When they sent thousands to Vietnam to fight and die under false pretences?
- When they did the same again in Iraq?
For everything that is ‘great’ about this country, there is at least one thing that is terrible — Insane hatred and racism, crumbling infrastructure and a dollar sign on absolutely everything. Anna summed it up perfectly when she said last night, “Capitalism has raped this country.”
And now this. The largest mass shooting on US soil and people immediately blame Muslims. Religious extremism, in my opinion, is like saying, “My pretend friend could beat up your pretend friend,” however, that could have been anyone with that gun. Religion and race aren’t the issue.
I’m not a patriotic person. I’m Australian because I was born there, I didn’t choose, plus it’s a round world and we’re all pink on the inside. But when Australia had its worst mass shooting, the government immediately stepped in and changed gun laws. It was a controversial move at the time, but that was now 20 years ago and there hasn’t been a mass killing since. There have been 177 mass shootings in the USA so far this year (including another today in Fresno, California) and it is only mid-June! Check that link, not a lot of Muslim-sounding names on it, either, however, the head surgeon at the trauma centre in Orlando is Muslim. Hmmm…
One attempt at a shoe-bomb on a plane, everyone has to take off their shoes at the airport. A grand total of three children choke on the contents of a Kinder Surprise (right) and they are banned, but I guarantee nothing will be done in the wake of this latest tragedy. Why? Because owning a gun is a right. Healthcare isn’t, education isn’t, housing isn’t, but if you want to shoot something here, then nobody can stop you, dammit, even if you’re on the “No-Fly” list. It’s in the constitution, a document that was written several hundred years ago that, among many great liberties, also gives Americans the right to bear arms. If only more people here understood that that inclusion was intended to protect US citizens from the British bearing muskets, not psychopaths catching feelings.
To add further insult to injury, this attack was at a gay nightclub. In an act of solidarity, hundreds of people lined up for hours to donate blood in Orlando. One problem; A friend in need is a friend indeed and members of the gay community wanted to do everything they could to help, only to be turned away. Gay and bisexual men are currently barred from donating blood unless they have abstained from sex with men for one year, in a policy that was introduced last December. Well played again, America, screening the blood would’ve been too simple. Sure, it takes a substantial amount of time for a HIV screening, but the recipients were homosexual, as well, and the community just wanted to help. Surely in a situation like this, where blood is in dire need, the rule could be lifted.
As long as the NRA have power and Donald Trump is in politics, stupidity and hatred will thrive, leaving nobody in their right mind proud to be an American. In fact, Trump just stated that he wants a Muslim-immigration ban! Religion isn’t the problem, firearms are. Owning a gun shouldn’t be a right, it isn’t in any other developed country and that’s why this isn’t a problem in the civilised world. Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns.
Our time in America is like watching a really long movie; You get to a stage where you just want it to end so you can say that you saw it and we’ve been past that stage for a while now. One last thing: The woman on the news just said something to the extent of, “There is no need for V12 engines, but nobody is going to begrudge me the right to drive a fast car and cars kill more people than guns, anyway!”
Well, that’s the end of my rant, I wonder if I will hear from the patriotic dumbass who comments on posts like this? Oh well, time to reset the counter…