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Daily Connect: Is America in its own Universe?
Submitted by Ethan Nichtern on Mon, 2/7/2011, 1:02pm
"It's always worth bearing in mind that what passes for a hard right, extremely conservative anti-welfare state politician in Europe is, in general, to the left of any significant figure in the Democratic Party of the United States. So they're in a different universe of a discourse about these things over there."
Yesterday morning I listened to this recent interview of the Fresh Air show, and this quote was extracted from that interview, about the interdependence of the European Union's economic system. Watching the 45th Super Bowl between the Packers and the Steelers last night, two of the most "All-American" teams, both named after industries that no longer exist as before in their respective cities, I couldn't overcome the feeling that the spectacle before us was intensely American, unbelievably American, in its targeting and culture.
More and more, it seems the definition of "American" is not one of shared identity, but rather one of isolated identity, cut off from the cultures and the discourses of the rest of the world. This feeling of Americanness stood in stark contrast to watching the 2010 World Cup, which felt like a truly global event. Maybe it's just because Soccer has fewer commercials and fewer Sam Elliott moments.
The Krugman quote, albeit only one perspective from a guy now considered an American progressive (who would've been considered a centrist or even center-right economist until 10 years ago), really hit home. Are we just in a different universe, politically, spiritually and culturally, from the rest of the world? Am I in a different universe from the rest of America because I like things like Universal Healthcare, and boo when commercials come on in the movie theater, and I find American football just a tad homoerotic? Maybe I should go live on an island somewhere (oh, wait, I do).
It's ok to tell me I'm a strange American. I still love a good game of any kind, by the way. Last night's game was a good one. But America feels increasingly strange and distant to the rest of the interdependent world, which is of course, no paradise either.
I just want us all to live in one universe. Our minds keep us separate enough from the rest of the world. Is that so wrong?
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by Mike Widman