July 28, 2008
I was listening to Dean Barnett and James Lileks talk about Obama's "citizen of the world" line.
I now puff my chest up and say that I was at the vanguard of this line of thought, having blogged about it two and a half years ago. (And getting exactly zero comments on the post, she adds, lest you think she really does hold herself in such esteem.)
Some commenter said yesterday that America's far left is Europe's moderate. I thought of that today in passing while reading Broca's Brain. I think people look at the world quite differently depending on how they classify themselves. If you think of yourself as an American, you see the world differently than if you think of yourself as a Global Citizen, as it seems most Europeans do. And if you think of yourself as a citizen of the universe, as Sagan does, you look at issues completely differently. Thus when Sagan talks of global warming, he thinks all humans should work together to prevent Earth's habitat from being like Mars. When an American talks about it, he typically thinks about what is best for the US first. I think the label you give yourself says a lot about how you deal with The Issues.
I agree with Lileks that when Obama calls himself "a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world," the emphasis is on the latter. And that it lacks any real sort of meaning and downplays his Americanness.
Really, there's nothing that turns me off quite as fast as when someone downplays his Americanness.
I am not a Citizen of the World. I live on this planet, but I am an American citizen. I don't really recognize this entity that Obama calls "the world," some sort of collective of human beings who all want the same things: peace, love, and kumbaya. I don't think that exists. I believe that human life patterns the Animal Planet channel, where each species vies for position and does what it takes to stay alive and get ahead. We accept that in the animal kingdom, but for some reason we think humans should all want to share and be humble. I wish we could accurately see human beings the way we accurately see marine life during Shark Week.
I am thankful to be a citizen of the greatest country on this planet. I wish Obama were too, instead of relegating it to second fiddle behind meaningless "We Are the World" tripe.
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