Last week Bill Maher made a statement on his online portion of his HBO show lamenting American Exceptionalism.
Question: Would it be better if the country just got over this notion of American exceptionalism?
Bill Maher, HBO: Oh, I think it would. This is one reason why I say, and people laugh at me, but I always say in a hundred years this country will be Mormon. It’s a stupid religion and a stupid country, they were made for each other and I tell you, one of the things that Americans are going to love about Mormonism, when they find about it, is, first of all, Jesus is an American, and they love the idea that Mormon’s embrace, more than anybody, that ‘we are the super-duper star spangled best country ever and that if we have any flaw it is that we feel other countries feel bad because our awesomeness is so overwhelming.’ But I think we should get over it.
A year earlier Mr. Maher made these statements on NPR:
I won’t pick apart all of what he said but he says we are “the only advanced nation that doesn’t have healthcare”. We have healthcare, we in fact have exceptional healthcare. When the other leaders of the world, free and otherwise, need healthcare they don’t head over to the UK or Spain, they come here. Usually to the Mayo Clinic. They come here because our healthcare is exceptional just as our medical schools are exceptional, thus turning out doctors who are exceptional.
What we don’t have is socialized medicine like they do in the UK and most other parts of the world, which is probably why all the leaders of the free world and the not so free world come here for their healthcare.
But I didn’t start this rant about healthcare. Sadly, that discussion is too big for this little blog. But if I had my way about it I’d get rid of the insurance companies, or at least get rid of most of their staff so that the whole industry wasn’t so top heavy.
One has to wonder why Mr. Maher is so anti American, and let’s face it, he is on his show. I’ve thought about this since he made those statements and the truth is he is because it benefits him to be Anti American. He is an entertainer. He makes money, lots and lots of money, for saying things that will generate buzz that will in turn cause people to watch his show.
He can also do this because he can afford to do it. He has made his wealth and he can afford to piss people off.
There is nothing exceptional about Bill Maher. He’s a mediocre comedian who was lucky enough to either know the right people or be in the right place at the right time. Since his father was a network news editor and radio announcer he probably knew some people who helped him get his start.
Ain’t nothing wrong with that. But all things being equal and fair, that ain’t. Not everyone knows someone in the industry.
He might have even worked really hard for his success.
I agree with a lot of what Bill Maher believes, the only difference is that I also believe that other people can believe in things different than me. He doesn’t. If you have a different opinion, say like Elisabeth Hasselbeck, you get called horrible names by Mr. Maher. Keep in mind, he’s got to get people to watch his show and getting mean about Elisabeth Hasselbeck is the way to do it. If he isn’t offending someone he isn’t selling his show and if he isn’t selling his show no one is watching his show and if no one is watching his show he doesn’t have a show.
If you really want to watch a funny political show then watch Red Eye. It’s free, funny and the female guests are always much better looking than the ones on Maher’s show.
Can you spell hypocrisy?
It’s okay for the celebrities to host parties and sell a place at their dinner table for $40,000 (includes eating with the President of the US) but it’s not okay for someone who owns a business to enjoy the profits of that business.
Sorry, this is going to be a long one, I haven’t even gotten to my point yet. Stay with me…
There are a lot of things wrong with America but we are still exceptional. People don’t risk their lives to live here, legally or illegally, because it’s just another country. People come here, legally and illegally, because in the United States they have a chance to be anything they want to be. Something they can’t be in most other countries, at least the ones they are coming from.
Bill is right about one thing; America has gotten off track.
We need to get back on track but waiting for our government, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, isn’t going to get us back to where we want to be. We, the people, have to steer the train. If we wait around for the government to do it we will continue down this God awful path we have been on for several years now.
So how do we become even more exceptional?
Get rid of the guilt
I’m a Republican (Libertarian really but they don’t have a column to check off on the forms) as are most of my friends, blogging buddies and readers. The only thing is most of them won’t admit it because being one has been so vilified. Jayne is one of my best blogging buddies and also the most bleedingest liberal I know. You can ask her, I don’t have horns, I don’t eat babies and puppies for lunch. I’m pretty nice and will lend a hand whenever I can. I am not greedy and I am not a racist. I’m also not a Nazi, a Fascist or crazy. I am not evil. I am none of those things and yet because I vote mostly Republican I am considered all of those things.
I refuse to feel shame for believing that we all have the ability to make our lives great and that the government can’t do it for us. Say it with me, now.
Americans make some of the best stuff. We make Levis, Apple computers, Windows software, Harley Davidson, Chevrolet, Spam, Craftsman tools, and these are just to name a few. We do silly too. We made the Pet Rock, Cabbage Patch Kids, Slinky and David Hasselhoff.
Sure, most of those products aren’t made in the US anymore but we can change that. If the government wants to do anything they can get rid of the regulations and taxes that compel companies like these to manufacture over seas.
Of course, those products will probably cost a little bit more but that’s fine if we can all find a job.
So let’s start making some of these great products back here and then let’s pay the people who make those products a decent wage.
A decent wage is not going to be $30/hr unless you’ve been there for a few decades and you manage something. If you are getting out of school and starting a job expect to earn a shitty wage in the beginning.
Live in a shitty apartment with no heat and eat Ramen every night like the rest of us. You don’t need a $30/hr job to do that. Get some experience, learn a thing or two about manufacturing or management and then try to make it better so you can advance in the company. Just don’t expect to get a raise every six months for showing up.
While we’re at it let’s stop having babies out of wedlock. I know, I’m twice divorced what do I know about marriage? I don’t know much about marriage but I do know that raising kids alone is the hardest thing you will ever do. It isn’t for the faint at heart and certainly not for the weak. Not everyone could handle being a single parent. Being a child of a single parent is even more difficult and the odds of enjoying great success diminish if you are the child of single parent.
Political Correctness Sucks
Let’s forget about political correctness and acknowledge that there are some things that are better than others. Raising kids takes two people. I don’t care if those people are related, the same sex or a traditional husband and wife. It’s at least a two person job (usually a lot more) and leaving it to one person just shoots a hole in our country’s productivity. And I’m not even talking about welfare or any social programs. Being in a single parent home can be mentally draining to everyone who lives there so let’s do all we can to prevent it from happening.
What does that mean? It means if two guys want to get married and raise a kid they should be able to do it legally and with all the bells and whistles that straight people are afforded. Hell, the gay wedding industry alone can probably create a few million jobs.
I promise all you people who are afraid that granting gay people the right to marry the love of their life (the same right you have) isn’t going to belittle your marriage one iota. I promise, it won’t change a thing.
Women, we aren’t going to have it all and the gender pay gap will continue as long as we have uteri. If we are lucky enough to jump off the mommy track and raise our kids full time we should be thankful. Many companies now hold your place at work for months while you figure out what you want to be. I know, it’s a hell of a lot longer in Canada and the UK and other countries but their world leaders don’t go to those countries for medical care, people don’t risk dying to get into their countries and they don’t make iPhones.
We are exceptional because we rock!
Being exceptional isn’t at the exclusion of other nations. We aren’t exceptional because Greece is broke or because Syria is killing their children. We are exceptional because we value ideas and because our founding fathers were brilliant enough to know that times change and with it so does government and leadership.
But individual ideas and dreams remain. And those are the things that make America exceptional. Those are also the things that led to Bill Maher’s incredible success so he could turn around and bash this country.
If we want this country to be the great America it once was we have to start believing in it and in ourselves again. We, the people, the individuals.
Not We The Government or We The Congress.
We The People
We need to stop shaming people for begin successful. It’s okay if you are a vapid celebrity who makes his or her money by pretending to be someone else, speaking other people’s words and doing what someone else tells you to do. That’s acceptable wealth even if it is an unimaginable amount of wealth. If you make your money that way it’s okay but if you make your money by running a business or corporation, that’s bad.
We need to get over that shit.
We need to stop this stupid infighting and listen to one another instead of just spout off what we have been told is the truth. Look at any comment section on any news site and you will see the most vile comments. We need to stop that, too.
Bill Maher is free to say whatever he wants, because IT’S A FREE COUNTRY. He doesn’t need to be grateful for his good fortune at all (though, I am sure he is) but you, as a consumer of his schtick need to understand that Bill Maher is no different than Rush Limbaugh.
They are both entertainers trying to make as much money as they can. I’m pretty sure neither of them feels guilty about their wealth. I am also sure that both of them worked their asses off to generate the wealth they have.
Working hard in the right profession can make you a shitload of money. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg. Now that’s an American success story.
We may not all have the ability to be successful like Mark Zuckerberg or even Bill Maher but we all have the ability to reach for our dreams. Some of those dreams will be lucrative while others will simply be fulfilling.
I promise you, the government is never going to hand you your dream. You have to go out and grab it. And while anyone can dream, regardless of the country they were born, it is in America where achieving that dream has the best chance.
Is America exceptional?
You bet it is.
I am exceptionally proud to be an American.
- Bill Maher: We Need To ‘Get Over’ The Idea Of American Exceptionalism (mediaite.com)
- Trump Responds To Maher’s Dismissal Of American Exceptionalism: We’d Be Great If It Weren’t For Obama (mediaite.com)
- Bill Maher To OWS: Stop Camping, Start Participating (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bill Maher To OWS: Stop Camping In Parks And Start Participating In The Political Process (mediaite.com)
- Liberal Bias in Action: Maher Gets Mets While Limbaugh Gets Booted (newsbusters.org)
- Confirmed: Sexually transmitted diseases are funnier than Bill Maher (twitchy.com)
- Red Eye’s Andy Levy On Bill Maher: All He Has Going For Him Is Outraging People (mediaite.com)