Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cowboy

I've been thinking about the U.S. stereotype of the cowboy. Not the international view but the domestic one; the one about the rugged individualist who takes care of his own business and lives life on his own terms, free, proud, capable and able to deal with any situation that presents itself, usually with the use of a gun of some type. This cartoonish self-view seems to be alive and well south of the 49th, particularly it seems among the more conservative elements of the ideological spectrum. Of the four presidents previous to President Obama, two of the three conservatives had bought ranches for the 'cowboy-cred' even though Ronald Reagan and George W Bush were about as cowboy as I am, and I'm not at all.


What got me thinking about this at all was the recent "debate" in the US about universal health-care along with the rise of the "Tea-party" movement. It seemed that many of those who were against affordable health-care were saying that they just didn't want government telling them that they had to have health-care, usually with the "fear the government" argument. The Tea-partiers are against universal health-care, along with pretty much anything else to do with the government being involved with anything to do with their lives (or so they say. Truthfully they are in favour of government benefits they themselves receive, they just don't think that anybody else should benefit. Medicare, social security, old-age prescription benefits are all fine for those collecting them now but for anybody else to expect government to look out for them is Socialist and Nazi and just plain un-United Station. Right.) Either way this is the old delusion of the fully self reliant, man of the earth, cowboy type that has as much to do with reality as the Flintstones do.



Watching some of the Tea-party rallies where some dickless wonder would inevitably show up packing a big-ass gun on his hip (thus making up for the brain he forgot in the closet at home). Yes, a handgun is a compelling argument, and it doesn't make the bearer look like an inbred moron hardly at all. Or a cowboy for that matter. Of course the Tea-partiers actually look back a little further than the fictional old west for their inspiration, back to the US founding fathers in fact. There are a lot of good things to be said about the US founding fathers, and a lot of bad things too, like the whole slave-owner thing, but the T-Pers like to cherry-pick their "facts", that is when they are not just making shit up that is. I mean, really, would the US founding fathers have supported the right of an insurance company to deny a child health-care. IF so them maybe being slave owners was only one of the terrible things about these guys. This is what the Tea-partiers respect?

For the record, I do own a cowboy style hat for working out in the sun. I'm not dumb enough to think that makes me a cowboy though.



Anyway... Humouroceros



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