Saturday, December 04, 2004

Barbara Ehrenreich....A NEW COUNTRY

Published in the January, 2005 issue of The Progressive
by Barbara Ehrenreich

Welcome to the website that matches you with a NEW country appropriate to your personal tastes and values! You wouldn't want to keep a spouse or a job that you've grown estranged from, and there's no reason to be stuck with a nationality that doesn't reflect the REAL you. After all, your nationality is one of the few things you can change WITHOUT SURGERY, simply by filling out the forms below, including your up-to-date passport and credit card numbers.

Many people write to ask: Am I betraying my country by leaving? The answer is NO, your country has already betrayed you. Maybe you grew up believing America meant bacon cheeseburgers, Martin Luther King, rock 'n' roll, and Saturday afternoon softball. But-as you've probably noticed-the operative images in the world today are Abu Ghraib, Condi Rice, and the flattening of Fallujah.

And when you first pledged your allegiance to "one nation under God," you probably didn't realize that God would be delegating much of the day-to-day managerial responsibility to James Dobson and Tom DeLay. It's America that's changed-not you!

The good news is that there are a lot more countries out there than the US media are generally aware of. France, for example, with its ample coastline and curiously creamy cuisine. China, with its fascinating blend of runaway capitalism and communist repression. Or if you're looking for something REALLY different: Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela now all have democratically elected leftwing leaders. How exotic is that?

Note: Some of the alternative nations previously offered on this site are no longer available. A year and a half ago, shortly after Colin Powell announced that there would be free health care and education in Iraq, heavily promoted that beautiful, ancient, multicultural site, and thousands of Americans applied for relocation to it. Since then, however, Iraq has experienced a steadily worsening shortage of viable physical structures-apartment buildings, hospitals, schools-and we have been forced to withdraw it from the list.

Also, we have taken the preemptive move of removing Norway from the list of alternative nations, despite the lovely fiords, smoked fish, and free higher education. As a small, oil-rich country, Norway runs too high a risk of being the neocons' next invasion site.

To help us match you to a country, please answer the following questions: The most surprising thing I learned during the recent Presidential election season was:

1. that most Ohioans and Floridians who voted for Bush were so ashamed of their choice that they lied in the exit polls

2. that John Kerry counterfeited his Vietnam war medals out of Teresa's melted-down jewelry

3. that so few of my red-state neighbors routinely sacrifice sheep and goats as required by the Old Testament

My primary reason for re-nationalizing is:

1. eagerness to marry someone of a similar sex

2. desire to escape all references to Sponge Bob

3. need to fill a prescription

4. concern that my children will watch a pornographic film on TV, like Saving Private Ryan

Language capabilities (check all that apply):

1. I can say "where are the restrooms?" and "I didn't vote for Bush" in two or more languages

2. I believe most people can understand English if you speak loudly enough

3. Pouilly fuissé is best served (a) on toast, (b) cold, (c) boiled with mustard

4. Prefer to abstain from communication until I have something nice to say

Tastes and values:

1. I was disgusted by the sight of Nicollette Sheridan's naked back in the NFL promotional video

2. I was sorry not to see Nicollette Sheridan's naked front in the recent NFL promotional video

3. I feel that this scandal, along with Janet Jackson's nipple, has received insufficient media coverage and that, if Scott had known about abortion, Laci would still be alive

4. The food at the Olive Garden is spicy enough for me, thank you

Governmental preferences: I enjoy (check all that apply):

1. leadership from within the reality-based community

2. voting on machines manufactured by a major contributor to the Republican Party (Diebold, for example) after waiting 4 hours in the rain

3. scientific medical care as a supplement to prayer

4. rule of law, any law

GREAT! You're halfway there! We'll e-mail you your country match tomorrow.

Of course, some of your friends and family may choose to remain behind. There are people who take a somewhat inflexible view of "patriotism," just as there are people who never give up on their first, childish, seventh-grade object of infatuation. Perversely, these diehards think it's their RESPONSIBILITY to remain in their country of origin just as it becomes an international source of terror and a mockery of democratic governance. Whether out of masochism or misdirected altruism, they feel OBLIGED to stay and straighten things out.

To them we say: Can't you take a hint? Would you loiter at a party where gross drunken acts are being performed and, on top of that, people are dissing you everywhere you turn?

We also say to them: Bravo and hasta la vista! We'll be back when you've got America, as we knew it, up and running again.

Barbara Ehrenreich is a columnist for The Progressive. She is the author of "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" and "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War."

© 2004 The Progessive


Post a Comment

<< Home