It occurred to me last night that I often spout and fume about how much America sucks. I find myself agreeing with people who bash Bush (sometimes just for the sake of bashing an easy target), and nodding when I read articles about how our country is going down the drain.

Now, I should be clear about something. Yes, I think America is headed in the wrong direction. Indeed, I think it’s been wrong for quite some time. But it’s ludicrous to pin all the blame on Bush and/or Ashcroft– although the two of them are certainly a tag team for destruction– and I recognize there are more forces at work (Congress, the courts, the general “roll over and take it” attitude of the public).

I suppose the real problem, and the reason I tend to be vocal about America’s woes, is because during my not-so-long life I’ve watched this country change so much for the worse. We’re bullies, we’re egotistic, and we’re self-centered. Oh, and we’re so supremely confident of our own infallibility that we can’t imagine why other countries dislike us so much.

On the other hand, America truly is a fantastic place to live, full of opportunity and promise, and offers to its citizens rights and privileges not found anywhere else on the globe. It’s not hard to see why this country has produced astounding scientific advances, social progress, and a populace that is accustomed to regular (and often heated) debate about its own political system. I think it’s great that we have these opportunities, and without them I certainly wouldn’t write some of the things I do.

It’s the erosion of these rights and opportunities that saddens me. To watch as Bush and his administration stifle scientific research, or fund national defense and “homeland security” (oh, how I’m tired of that phrase) at the expense of education, gives me grief. It’s such a short-sighted view, and it’s supported by so many short-sighted people, that I can only see an acceleration of the decline of this great nation. Again, I can’t say “Bush brought about the destruction of America”, but he’s carrying the banner and playing a big role.

So all in all, three cheers for America and the little remaining goodness herein. But down with Bush and all of the short-sighted lawmakers and corporations and people who think the things we’re doing today are actually going to improve anything.