"Nescire autem quid antequam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum." (Not to know what happened before you were born is to be forever a child.)
-- Marcus Tullius Cicero; Roman senator and historian
This morning, I went to breakfast, as I often do of a Sunday morning. I do a lot of my 'getting' done on a Sunday morning (I find it easier, as most folks aren't up and about at that time, and those who are usually are headed to church).
Now, I hear a lot of things from my perch at my fave breakfast spot -- but today was a genuinely sad experience.
Two couples were in the booth next to me; they were talking about their upcoming vacation.
"....the fuck cares; it's Mexico."
"But, I mean, it's like a foreign country. They've got their own immigration. Remember the last time we were there? That guy made us open our bags and everything." The woman was looking at her husband across the table.
"Yeah, but they let us go. Ya gotta figure they'll be like that."
The female of the other couple interjected. "Why don't we just go to the Dilly Deluxe? They give you all the snacks and beer you want in the room. It's all-inclusive for meals and everything. Just don't take any side trips. Remember that last one, hon?"
"Yeah. Loaded us all in a bus and drove us just about fucking forever. Took us to this place in the middle of the jungle. Was a pyramid there -- didn't know the Mexies could make those; thought the 'Gyptians were th' only ones 't make those - there was part of a wall, an' some other stuff. What was the name of that place?"
His 'woman' interjected, "Chicken Pizza. That's not its name, but that's how I rememerd it. 'Chicken Pizza'."
"Couple thousand years old, anyway. Big waste o' time," said the man.
The other woman said, "But you don't have to do that stuff. Jus' come with us; we know the best places to go up in one of those parachute-thingies, an' stuf'."
"Parasailing", I muttered.
"What?", said one of the men.
"Parasailing. It's called 'parasailing'. And you want to be careful; there's no such thing as a safety inspection for those operations."
"Huh." Turning back to his woman, he said, "Anyhow, I wanna go fishin'."
"You can do that, too. The Dilly Deluxe has a package."
"Is Mexico really a foreign country?", said the other woman.
"Yeah, they've got their own money and everything. Not worth much, though," said the corresponding-male.
"Is that why they keep coming up here? Isn't there something we can do about it?"
"Yeah," said the man. "Shoot 'em".
(Laughter all around)
It hit me just then - these are the people who facilitated eight years of Neocon rule. These are the people who are making most of the decisions in America.
They don't understand that they're overfed and undereducated. They don't understand that their jobs are all going away. They don't understand that the rest of the world - and those of us in America who Get It - consider them morons.
These are the parents of the high-school bullies who call everything 'gay' which they don't understand - which is nearly everything. They're the people who sat next to you in class, either sleeping or cutting-up, and 'downing' everything which remotely resembled genuine civilization.
They breed in higher numbers than the rest of us.
Their kids are the bullies who consider education 'uncool', and who are bullying your kids, in turn.
I was finishing my coffee. I remembered a similar pair to the first two; they were sitting behind me coming back from my last trip to Hawai'i:
"Mom? Is Hawai'i part of the United States?"
"I don't know. You'll have to ask your Dad. He knows such things."
When I was in Pompeii some years ago, I happened on a gaggle of folks from Indiana or Ohio or someplace in the U.S. interior while a poorly-paid and even more poorly-educated tour-guide had droned on about Pompeii, and how the city had been there for 2,000 years prior to the eruption (it hadn't); he then began 'explaining' the process of casting human remains from the volcanic eruption. There was the cast of a pregnant woman, lying face-down with her hand outstretched. I said, "She should be cremated."
One of the Ohioans looked at me while the tour-guide droned on. "Huh?"
"The Romans believed it would release their spirit to Elysium," I said.
"You don' believe that, do ya?", he said.
"Point of fact, I don't," I replied. "But she did." I walked off, considering what reasons an archaeological site would have for displaying the dead in that fashion, and what sort of person would stand and listen to some of the tripe being delivered by their 'guide'.
"Hey, buddy!", said the first man across from me.
"Whaddya think about Mexico?", he half-growled.
"I like it. People there accept everyone. They love their country and their history, and they know about both."
He looked at me as if I'd said, "Zombies run Belgium, you know." "Well, would you go back?"
I thought for a moment about the Mexico I knew - which had nothing to do with U.S.-run resorts, stupid tourists, and chicken-pizza.
"Yes. I would." I got up to leave. The quote above came to mind.
I live in a country full of children. Children who have the right to vote, breed, and authorize the use of nuclear weapons.
Suddenly, I feel very, very alone.