Cognitive dissonance. Americans are masters of the art. Holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously because that's much much more comfortable than actually accepting that those two beliefs are contradictory... we've got that shit down.
Like "America is the greatest nation in the history of the world! And we're always the good guys!" Most of us really believe that. We watch cop shows and the news and we even know a little of our country's history. We know we all but annihilated the Native Americans. We know we put our citizens of Japanese descent into concentration camps during World War II for no good reason at all. We know we've treated all our minorities... racial, religious, gender-based, sexual... atrociously. We know our police routinely torture confessions out of suspects. We know all this... and still we're shocked when we hear about Abu Ghraib. Or that we tortured people to get to bin Laden. We're shocked. Because we're Americans, and we're the good guys.
We can also easily believe that customer service is ominiscient and omnipotent... they know everything they need to know without us having to answer any questions, and they can just push a button or wave a magic wand and make our services work again, and all we need to do is call them up and complain. We really believe that. And yet, at the same time, we genuinely believe that we can talk to them like shit and treat them like garbage. They're more knowledgeable than us, and more proficient than we are, and we'll sit on hold for twenty minutes waiting for them because we NEED them... yet they are inferior to us, and must kiss our asses at all times, or we'll report them to their supervisors.
Our God is a God of love, a God of infinite mercy, a God who sent his own son down to Earth to be tortured to death so that we can have an eternal afterlife of bliss in Heaven. But he wiped out two cities for reasons Old Testament scholars are still arguing about (as if there are any good reasons for blowing up two entire cities full of people). He wiped the entire surface of the Earth clean of all land dwelling life except for the creatures on one boat... again, for no good reason anyone can understand or explain.
He sent bears to rip some kids apart because they teased one of his prophets about being bald.
Even today, when supposedly he's mellowed out considerably, he apparently hates atheists and agnostics and liberals and Muslims and gays. Especially gays. God has a serious, serious problem with gays, we're told. To the extent that sometimes I wonder if maybe God isn't keeping some pretty profound secrets from himself about his own sexuality.
And, of course, we can believe that our police should be paid more, our firefighters should be paid more, our teachers and our soldiers and our hard working heroic garbagemen should be paid more. And we should have better schools and more tanks and more planes and our roads and bridges and railroads should be in better shape and why doesn't the government do something about all these annoying calls from telemarketers and all those people putting viruses on our computers?
And our taxes should be lower. Much, much lower.
And our phones should never drop calls and our internet should be faster and our computers should never ever crash and our TVs should get more channels and our DVRs should record more shows and our electricity should never go out and we should always be able to find whatever we want at the grocery store.
And no matter where we work or what we do for a living, we want a raise every year and better benefits. We want our deductibles and our co pays to go down. We want dental. We want vision. We want our flexible spending accounts to cover over the counter medicine and laser eye surgery.
Yet our bills should never go up. Our service providers should never charge us more for anything, the gas station should never raise its prices, and neither should the grocery store.
In fact, our expenses should go down. Our employers should pay us more to work less and everyone else should charge us less for the stuff we want.
Also, as Americans, we have a sacred right to fuck around with other people's countries if we want to. We can overthrow their governments, we can embargo them, we can invade them and blow their shit up and steal their stuff and torture their citizens. We can rock out with our cocks out, yes we can, bitchez! But they may not respond. They have to sit there and take it. If they criticize us in their media, we will bomb their asses off. If they organize resistance to our occupation, we will drone strike them into fucking rubble. And if they come at us... if they dare to come across those big oceans and hit us right here on our home soil? Fuck. Then we will get MEDIEVAL on their asses.
Because we're the greatest nation in the history of the world and we're always the good guys.
I realize these are not original thoughts. I realize these points have been made many many times in the past by better writers with larger followings.
But, still, I had a little time while I was waiting for the laundry to finish up, so, whatever.