Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Complaining about the govt. An American right?

Over the years, i've been around a lot of complaining about the govt.. usually the federal govt, but sometimes local gets it too. I've done my share, though for a time i thought it was bad form to be critical.. we should be positive & helpful, not negative. But of all the old american men i've known in my life, & now that i've joined their ranks, i can see & understand it better. Right, left or middle.. it is our american heritage.

Most of the time, it is just something we do as a mutual connection in conversation. You can converse with other men about your kids, or job, or your truck or dog.. you get started with a common denominator. So we can also bitch about the congress, the president, taxes, or other socially accepted topic of polite conversation. This bitching has no party platform, and crosses partisan lines.

Now i've also known quite a few immigrants.. many from other countries who have become citizens. The ones who have come from a totalitarian regime are a little uneasy about criticizing the govt. It was fine to criticize america when they were in the old country, but doing it while living here seems dangerous. But once they realize they won't be hauled off by the secret service, they relax & get into it. Some foreigners, too, seem perplexed. They think by bitching about the govt, we want a revolution or are some kind of terrorists. They also are fine with criticizing america in their home country, but when visiting, it seems inappropriate.. like a dinner guest complaining to their host about their meal.. and rightly so.

The exception to this was the younger, classic, ideological liberal.. they would criticize their ideological opponents, but to say anything critical of their own was somehow traitorous. Most as they aged, like me, got more circumspective about it & settled down.

The new left is a different creature.. i'm not sure how to take them. On occasion they will critique one of their own, but always grudgingly, not with enthusiasm like the rest of us. Or they will say that criticism of the govt is being unpatriotic or anti-american. Many times on public forums i've heard the basic argument: 'America! Love it or leave it!' But they misunderstand the source of the criticism. Some might be genuinely concerned about some issues, but most of the complainers are merely exercising their american duty.

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