Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Little I Have in Common.

This country really gets to me. It really, really does.

It's one thing to not let gays get married. I'm still open to the conversation about defining it as "marriage". However, it adds insult to injury when citizens of The United States are working so actively to not even let gays and lesbians have equal rights under the law. I can put aside semantics--I cannot put aside injustice.

Then the government on top of this tells gays and lesbians they cannot serve their country in the military! We've thrown out 12,000 of our trained soldiers--many doctors, engineers, translators--all because of a preference. A fucking preference. How can this be the strongest military in the world?

Then I begin to think about the insane gun laws in this country. Or the abysmal outlook for our education system. From here I begin thinking about our putrid addiction to suburban sprawl or our awful urban planning practices and I just want to jump out a window!

But wait--there's more! Let's not forget the ridiculous devotion to a completely unproven scientific ideology known as Creationism. Oh, and religion in this country. (Don't even get me started on that one.) And, honestly, one of the worst things happening in our country--the epidemic that no one wants to admit: obesity! I'm sorry to say it, but fat people could very easily ruin this country.

So I behold this country of fat, stupid, science-denying, gun-clingin' religious nutjobs who can't even spell "calorie" and I want to throw my hands up in utter horror and disgust.

Or, just move to Canada.

I really think at some point in the next few years I will be leaving The United States for our colder, far-smarter Northern brothers. I've been saying it for years, but I've always been held back from pursuing the idea since I believed I had to go to grad school in the US. I was under the illusion that the best schools in the world were here, so if I got my degree from a US institution I'd be better fit for moving to another country.

Well I'm not buying it anymore. University of British Columbia is amazing. McGill is one of the finest institutions in the world. University of Toronto or Concordia make fine substitutions as well. And frankly, if I want a company in Canada to hire me, wouldn't it be better to study as an international student and try to make contacts while I have a student visa?

I wish the predicament this country is in wasn't so. But even with Obama in office I don't see this country's situation improving. It's too big (literally) to be fixed with 5, 10, or even 20 years. Of all the problems I mentioned--gays, guns, oil-dependent city systems, education, etc.--let's just focus on the one: obesity.

Did you know that being fat is far worse for you than smoking? Think about it. Someone can smoke for 40 or 50 years before they develop a fatal disease from it. Being overweight, however, can lead to a myriad of problems, most of which are fatal: heart failure, diabetes, tons of different forms of cancer, liver disease, heart disease...the list is ad nauseam.

And yet Americans don't care. It's not that they are ignorant or aren't aware--oh, believe me, they are quite aware of it. The weight-loss industry brings in more money than almost any other retail industry out there. But, you see, the American way of life is with patching things up and using quick-fix schemes. So instead of learning proper nutrition, readjusting their lifestyle to be more active or--gasp!--joining a gym, Americans go out and buy a magic stick hoping to quickly fix everything they’ve fucked up.

That magic stick was Dr. Atkins, the miracle diet where you can as much as you want. Disgusting.

So as our health care costs continue to soar, Americans turn to other magic-sticks, such as gastric bypass, ridiculous fad "I-only-eat-grapefruit" diets, exercise machines promising you'll lose 25 pounds a month on three minutes a's just sickening. This country thrives and survives on patching up wounds instead of fixing them.

We can't completely blame the fat people, to be honest. Our City Planners need to have plenty of vitriol thrown at them too. You see, our auto-dependent planners have been disgraceful by continuing to building cities farther and farther away from the central city, where everything is within a walking distance. Nope, instead most American cities have seen more growth 20-50 miles outside of the central business district then actually in the center city. What does this mean? More people driving instead of walking.

Now, I have to be honest. The reason why this is very important to me is because in High School I was quite on the larger side. It stemmed from being a closeted homosexual stuck in a Christian bubble terrified to come my response to my fear of my self was to eat. But once I came out, my outlook on life was so different--I didn't need to hide my problems in some quick-fix scheme. I was confident in who I was and where I was in life. And once that was attained, I was able to get myself to a place where I am quite comfortable and healthy. By this point in my life I have run three marathons and five half-marathons. It took years to get myself to that ability, but I only mention this because I want everyone to know it is possible to achieve health even if you've been unhealthy for years.

No matter how much I rant and rave Americans will still shovel in their McDonald's and not give a crap about the future of their lives, our society and this country. They’ll still bury their faces in sheetpans of Cinnabons until our health-care system cannot sustain the whirlwind of health problems. And that alone is enough reason for me to question my reasoning in staying in this country. But once you throw in the hatred of science, gays and atheists, and clump in the love of God, guns and cars...I just don't see the point. It only reminds how little I have in common with the people of this country.