Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

The two Americas

To divide America strictly in Blue States and Red States and put Americans in 2 distincts categories: liberals and conservatives, is a warped way of thinking. There are many shades of grey when it comes to political preference, world vision, values and lifestyles.

However, the Bush era brought to light the huge disparity there is between the conservative, religious and working class small town American and the more liberal, secular, cultured and well read cosmopolitan American. They are totally different animals. They eat differently, they look different (overweight vs. skinny), they have very different forms of entertainment (think Monster Truck show for the first group and art gallery/arts and craft fair for the second), they watch different TV shows (think American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and Jerry Springer vs. Foreign movies and news) and they mostly view America wtih distinct eyes.

Group A (which Sarah Palin seems to be the goddess) thinks America has some priviliged role in the world, some god-given power, and is the only decent place to live in the world. Group B (which John Kerry is a good representative) has travelled abroad and may even have lived abroad. It recognizes that even though America is a really nice place to live with an awesome quality of  life (except for a few areas) it is not the ONLY decent and civilized and prosperous place in the world.

Even the notion of quality of life can differ from individual to individual. While for some people it’s having  a mall full of shops near their house, for others it the sense of belonging and human contact you can still have in countries where you actually see people walking in the streets.

The well read and cultured individuals, world travellers and the very wealthy have a lot more in common with similar folks in other countries than with their fellow conservative compatriots. They read the same books and magazines, travel in the same circles, watch the same movies (“The Reader”, “Frost/Nixon”) and wear the same fashion styled clothes whether they live in Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Berlin or Madrid.

It is tempting to attach the word conservative to the words uneducated, working class, blue collar and redneck. But the reality is that many upper middle class and wealthy Americans consider themselves conservatives for two reasons: a unfounded and old fashioned concept that Democrats will steal all their money and businesses with high taxes and the brainwash of religion.

Rich conservatives think liberals smoke pot all day and have sex with their siblings. They think that religion is a “moral brake” that will keep them from drugs, divorce, alcoholism and promiscuity, since in their minds morals are exclusive to religion. They are not. It has been shown that atheists actually are the most morals ones when it comes to personal behavior. And religion has never, ever, proven to be a deterrant of imoral behavior; maybe for a short period (the fear of sin put into Catholic school kids who would do everything behind the prefect’s back).

As I always have said, there are two weapons against ignorance: education and information.  And the biggest tool we have for quick dissemination of information is the internet. That is my hope for the Muslim world too, which might get rid of radicals on their own.

Maybe the bridge between the 2 Americas will also get shorter, once ideas are more accessible and the US becomes more secular. The influence of the shameful “Business churches”: megachurches that are profit oriented while duping fragile and “beaten up by life” people without hope into contributing a large amount of their meager incomes in exchange for a false promise of “salvation” and “eternal life” could also lessen once the younger and more techy generations have  readily available access to new ideas and information.

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February 3, 2009 - Posted by | Society

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