terça-feira, 28 de novembro de 2006

O Democrata e o Alien no Feriado de Thanksgiving

Last Thursday a flying saucer landed in my backyard. A friendly, if slightly disoriented alien pilot told me he needed a drink. I had just what he wanted, since this was Thanksgiving and all. I was glad to have company so I wouldn't have to eat my famous fat-free vegetarian imitation turkey all alone.

His name was Ollie and he came to Earth looking for an honest, self-reliant, optimistic, and technically inclined nation that could benefit from a contact with his more advanced civilization. "Whoa, whoa!" I raised my finger. "To call yourself advanced you must take at least three diversity training classes. What planet are you from, really?"~"There's no such thing as a more advanced civilization," I said. "All civilizations are equally advanced; they just find different ways to express their advancement."My guest laughed. "I just escaped from a planet where people eat their neighbors whom they kill with sharp rocks. Does that sound advanced to you?" "That is a value statement," I objected. "Did you try to examine the cause of their anger? Could they, perhaps, be hungry? Could they be disenfranchised victims of unfair trading policies, exercising early forms of class struggle against the oppressive neighbors? They didn't kill innocent chickens; that we do know.""They sure wanted to kill and eat me. Come on, they're savages."Savages? Really? "If you must use the 'S' word," I said indignantly, "have the decency to modify it with the word 'noble' - as in 'noble savage.'""They threw me into the fire," he said. "I was saved by my asbestos spacesuit, which they thought was my shiny skin. They're savages alright.""At least they didn't harm the environment with asbestos, " I quipped. "Nor have they caused Global Warming with industrial pollution. That alone makes them more advanced than most Americans who have no social consciousness whatsoever."

"Who are these Americans you speak of?""I'm glad you asked," I said. "Americans are the most biased, oppressive, exploitive, insensitive, homophobic, racist, sexist, bloodthirsty, greedy, capitalistic, environmentally-unfriendly people who live in the ugliest country on planet Earth. You just landed in it."The alien moved his eyes from the vegetarian imitation turkey, bottles of Evian water and his scoop of Ben & Jerry ice cream to the flat-screen high-definition TV, computer, dishwasher, cordless phone, and a thermostat on the wall next to the bookshelves with collector's editions of Marx, Lenin, Chomsky, and Michael Moore.

"For a citizen of such a hideous nation you're doing alright," he said. "Are you some sort of a king or a dictator?""A king?" I rolled my eyes. "I work on an educational grant from the government." "Oh. So you do work for the government.""It's not what it sounds," I corrected him. "I only let the American government pay me because that takes money away from their illegal wars. Whatever the Department of Education shells out on my grant is obviously not enough.""Do tell me about the nature of your work.""I am a professional revisionist. Currently I'm rewriting old novels that are on the students' reading lists, bringing them in compliance with the progressive worldview," I said. "I turn classic villains into sympathetic characters with legitimate grievances. The readers no longer have to take sides, which promotes in them a correct attitude of non-judgmental moral relativism. Occasionally I also expose classic heroes as biased reactionaries who enjoy their ill-gotten wealth, blind to exploitation of the toiling masses. The grant is called 'Prosaic Justice.' It is meant to raise the next generation of Americans as kinder, gentler, more sensible and intelligent human beings, unlike the grotesque monsters they are today."

"It still sounds as if you're part of this government's elite," he insisted. For someone claiming to come from a "more advanced civilization" his naiveté was rather insulting."Let me put it this way," I said patiently. "I belong to the heavily underpaid intellectual elite, working against this government virtually in the underground.""The anti-government rebels on this planet sure have style," he insisted. "Look at all the things you've got.""Don't you understand?" I exclaimed indignantly. "All these things have been stolen from the oppressed people of the world through neocolonialism, unfair trade agreements, and wars. And now we're supposed to celebrate Thanksgiving? Honoring the theft of resources from the world's poorest citizens? Personally I use this occasion to celebrate my immeasurable guilt for having all these things that I don't even really need.""Why don't you just give them back?""The former owners are dead," I lied. "But to talk about my guilt for having these things feels just as good as giving them back. Especially if I succeed in making others feel as guilty as I am. Your spaceship for instance. Where did you steal the metal to build it? And what solar system did you rape to get all that fuel? See what I mean?""I see," my guest stood up. "Looks as if this planet is not ready for contact yet."

"Wait!" I said, running after him. "We have other countries, much better than America! Progressive, socially conscious countries! Members of the United Nations!""It doesn't work that way," the alien said, beeping the door of his ship. "If this planet has a group of people that match your description, it's damaged goods.""Damn you, America!" I cried. "Now that we finally had a chance to build a mutually beneficial relationship with other planets you had to go ahead and ruin it for everybody!"

With a faint whirring the flying saucer leaped above the roofs, hesitated for a few moments, and then disappeared among the stars, forever. I went back to my vegetarian imitation turkey, suddenly realizing that all the anger and the guilt that had been haunting me all day were gone - replaced with a sense of an accomplished mission. Come to think of it, I just saved a whole alien world from the corruptive American influence! It felt almost as good as when the US Forces withdrew from Vietnam and Somalia, or when we defeated Republicans in the midterm elections.

I adjusted the electronic shiatsu massage pad on my couch and turned on CNN.

(tirado do The People's Cube)

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