Is there any country on this Earth more contradictory than mine? The late comedian George Carlin once observed in a classic rant that, “this country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.” Indeed, in that little rant, Carlin defined America’s contradictory soul: freedom and oppression.
I am proud of a country that allowed someone like Carlin to freely express himself and did not incarcerate him for his views. The man never spent any time in a gulag for telling it like it is and I love my country for that. And yet how sad that in two centuries plus our society has not evolved beyond a violent and greed based culture that wages war under the guise of freedom for the benefit of sociopathic multinational corporations.
So, on this Independence Day, our 234th birthday, I’m thinking about soldiers, fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing civilians, in the name of freedom as politically connected contractors benefit and cities such as Detroit disintegrate. I'm thinking about the millions of citizens who did nothing wrong and are unemployed thanks to Wall Street permissiveness. Those marvelous thieves who we bailed out and will continue to steal under the protective legal cover of financial reform. I'm thinking about a country founded by rationale secular men who believed freedom of religion also meant freedom from religion yet struggles to teach the theory of evolution in its classrooms. And I’m thinking about George Carlin and wondering what he say about it.