Dumbing it down for US

Is it just me? Is anyone else bothered that other countries even our own countrymen feel the need to make things more understandable for U.S. Americans? Why is this a country where we say we are excellent, yet laud people and things that are dumbing down our culture?

I read an article in the News and Observer about three exchange students from China. The story says that for the year they are studying here they will be called names that are Western. Now I don’t know all the background of this, but isn’t the point of an exchange to expose each country to a different culture? Doesn’t this include names? Why does a Xianxiang (totally made the name up) have to be Sam while he’s here? Is an American student named John going to be Zheng for the year that he is in China? Shouldn’t we be encouraging students to practice saying authentic names of people from other cultures? This is a more global world we live in after all.

A friend and I had a Facebook exchange about Masterpiece Theatre changing it’s name to just Masterpiece. It’s a small thing but we both agreed that for some reason it was annoying. As if the American audience wouldn’t understand something about theatre. I could list other examples of this phenomenon, but I fear my list would turn into a book.

These small things play against a background of something much larger that I’ve been feeling lately. A disillusionment with people (and places) not living up to what they say they are about. I live in a state that I thought was different–more progressive than other southern states. Living in my urban cocoon, I’d forgotten that there is a whole other world of thoughts and beliefs outside of Raleigh, even within the city itself. There’s a world of people who, for them, the good old days were awesome. They’re legislating their way to bringing them back. They forget that for most of us those days weren’t so grand–discrimination, segregation, lack of access to equal education and resources, poverty. Women dying because of poor or little access to the right healthcare. A violation of someone’s civil rights, even if extremely violent, was often cheered and upheld in courts.

Our world is increasingly global and technological, but North Carolinians have recently elected leaders who are obstinately trying to recapture 1950s America instead of positioning all of it’s citizens to benefit from today’s changing world. Instead of focusing on improving jobs, healthcare, education, the housing market and an increasingly broken mental health system, they are spending time on limiting women’s rights and legislating who people can marry or not marry. Not saying that those issues aren’t important, but at a time when the economy is collapsing one domino at a time, the other issues are priorities to fix NOW. These should be the only focus until they are not just nationally stellar, but globally! Aim high!

What also bothers me is how these same folks will bring up the Bible as a part of their argument against gay marriage and abortion. Well the Bible also talks about hypocrites and the punishment for hypocrisy. The North Carolina General Assembly has 170 members. The United States Congress has 435 members. I suspect there are some closeted folks within that number. Many of them are people eating scavengers of the sea and animals with cloven hooves (N.C. peeps love some pulled pork). Male legislators are you kicking your wives out of bed for 7 days each month? And we know for certain there are adulterers in that lot as well as legislators who have stolen from others. Wait a minute adultery, stealing–aren’t these things on the Top 10 list? You know The Ten Commandments.

Oh right, I guess they conveniently forgot about that while they’re busy throwing stones.

For the sake of Christianity, please stop pulling out two issues that are addressed in the Bible and ignoring all of the others for your own convenience. That isn’t what Jesus would do.

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