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Americans: not as dumb as I thought

I have to admit something to my American readers: I have a complicated relationship with your country. I kind of see America like a big brother who’s kind of a screwup. Lots of talent, but makes poor decisions – gets drunk and picks fights, but then once he’s bailed out of jail he goes to the library and comes up with a brilliant get-rich quick scheme. And then blows all of the money on drugs. He gets into abusive relationships instead of dating that perfectly nice and cute girl (who is the one that keeps bailing him out of jail), because he likes ‘bad girls’. He’s powerful and brilliant, but erratic and dangerous.

American people, to draw large, sweeping, and unfair generalizations, seem to be willing to put up with a lot more bullshit than I would think is rational. Part of that is the fact that they believe a lot of bullshit about “American exceptionalism” and Manifest Destiny and the shining city on the hill and “leaders of the free world” and “model of freedom for the whole world” all those myths that were sort of true about a half-century ago. The remainder, however, baffles me. To think that the same country that produced the Ivy League also produced Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign is a fact that makes me have to have a little lie-down.

To put a point on it, I don’t think much of the American electorate. After the last election here in Canada I don’t really think much of the Canadian electorate either, but there’s no chance that Herman Cain would lead a national opinion poll here. I have to believe that. However, I may have to revise my impression of Americans upward slightly:

President Barack Obama’s opponents claim he’s “declared war on religion” with his efforts to require employers to provide birth control coverage for their workers. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum even recently suggested the president was leading America into a secular nightmare where the devoutly religious will face the guillotine. He’s also stated publicly that contraception is wrong and poses a threat to the United States. As is often the case during a presidential election year, America’s steadily percolating culture wars are now on full boil. Republicans have cranked up the heat by painting Mr. Obama as an anti-religious zealot as they attempt to push through measures in Congress that would result in limited access to birth control for some American women.

And yet a pair of new polls suggest Americans aren’t buying it — not even Catholics, whose leaders have lead the charge against Mr. Obama’s birth control mandate… An average of 46 per cent of Catholics told the pollster they approved of Mr. Obama’s job performance, compared to 49 per cent the previous week. That’s within the poll’s margin of error.

So let’s recap, here. The President made a good policy decision that made some wildly irrational people go nutty-ballistic. With what I can only imagine must have been the longest exasperated sigh ever, the President made an accommodation to ensure that the crazier elements didn’t have to spend money on a part of reality they find inconvenient. Then most of the people said “okay, that is an entirely reasonable thing the President did. Thank you for listening to our objections.” Y’know, like you wish people would do all the time but never seem to manage.

So… okay Americans. Your stock is rising. You did a thing that shows that the tempest of politics have not completely blown away your good sense. You’ve managed to see through the cries of “War on Religion”:

Click for the rest of the comic

So you get a God Comic.

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