Happy Birthday America

Maybe we’re talking about this all wrong.

What if all the things we think matter, don’t matter?

What if all the things we despise are actually good?

Maybe, not only are we talking about things the wrong way; maybe, we are just wrong.

That would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?    I mean it would explain just about everything.

We’re wrong.

Human lives really aren’t important.   I mean, hell, look at how many human lives are lost in the world every day.  We lose lives to famine.  We lose lives to disease.  We lose lives to wars.  So many lives lost to wars.  Religious wars.  Secular wars.   Civil wars.  World wars.  Cold wars.

We lose lives to the whims of dictators, to hurricanes and cyclones, tsunamis, white sharks, red tides, and bad sardines.  People get eaten by bears.  Tigers maul people to death.  Parasites invade people’s brains.

Sheer stupidity kills more people than we can count.   People use hair driers in the bathtub.  People start chainsaws in their laps.  People think books will stop bullets.

So lives really aren’t all that important, are they?

So, we’re wrong.  Those of us who think like I do; we’re wrong.

And if we’re wrong, then it’s obviously ok that people die needlessly.  That’s the way it is.  That’s the reality of the world.  That’s how it works.  That’s how GOD works… in mysterious ways.

And that’s great, because it absolves us of responsibility.  I mean, if GOD isn’t going to do anything, why should you?  HE is one pragmatic SOB.

You see a poor man dying of starvation?  Not your problem.  If he dies, that’s just the breaks.  That’s how it is.  That’s the way the world works.  You have no obligations here.  People have been dying of starvation for thousands of years.  This is just one more.  Walk on by and don’t think about it again.

If it makes you feel any better, you can believe he was a lousy human being anyway.  He could have gotten a job, right?  He could have earned some money?  He could have taken care of himself like he should have, and he wouldn’t be in that situation.  Just as well he is out of the gene pool.  He doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things.

Well, it is too bad and all that.  I mean, no one wants to have to see that sort of thing.  Someone should ask him to die somewhere else.

You see a young woman perched on the railing of a bridge, the river a hundred feet below.  Drive on by.  Not your problem.  Let her jump.  She’s obviously mental.  She’s a misfit.  She’s got tattoos on her neck and metal rings through her lips.  Her parents were obviously bad people too.  How could they let her disfigure herself like that?  She doesn’t matter.  The world will certainly not miss her.  It’s not a problem that she dies.  That’s the way it is.  That’s how it works.  People die every day.  She’s just one more.

There is a young child sitting in the middle of the street.  Just go around.  Not your problem.  Parents should take better care of their children.  What sort of parent leaves their kid in the middle of the street?  If the kid gets killed there, maybe that will teach them.  Not your problem.  Just another death from stupidity.

Your three year old manages to pull your Glock from your purse.

Wait!  What?

Your loaded Glock.  The one with the safety off because you never could figure out which way to push that damn button.

Holy Mary, mother of God!

What?  Calm down.  It’s just another kid with a gun.  Happens all the time.  That’s the way the world works – in America – today.  We have guns everywhere.  We have kids everywhere.  Some of those kids are bound to get their hands on a gun.  Sometimes those guns go off.  No big deal.   Not your problem.  Just another statistic.

But that’s MY KID!


He’s pointing that thing at me!

Your point? We’ve established that I’ve been wrong all along.  You’ve been right all along.  You should be celebrating.  You should be putting up memes on Facebook:  Libtard admits he’s wrong.  Human lives do not matter.  That’s what this all been about.  Are you now trying to tell me that your life matters?


Why?  What makes you special?  You are human.  You have a life.  So what?  It doesn’t matter.  Not my problem.  Nothing to see here.  Walk on by.

Oh, God!  Now he’s putting it in his mouth!!

What difference does it make?  His mouth; your mouth…

He might kill himself!


Have you no common decency? He’s my kid!

Common decency?

Well, I thought I did, but you convinced me it was wrong.

You showed me that no matter how many kids get their hands on guns, it is important to pass more laws to get more guns into more hands.  And now your three year old has one.  That wasn’t inevitable, but it was predictable.

You showed me that no matter how many people are killed in mass shootings with assault weapons, your right to have those weapons available to the general public is a treasured and important part of your American heritage and overrides those deaths.  Human life is not as important as your right to have assault weapons.  Unless, of course, it is your human life.

Common decency?

You showed me that no matter how many times a frightened, ill-trained police officer shoots a black man with his hands raised in his own car, it’s the black man’s fault.  No conviction needed.  Move on.  Nothing to see here.

Common decency?

You showed me how important it is that we get the sick and the poor off of health care and give that money back to the very rich where it belongs.

Common decency?

You showed me that the constitution, like the Bible, is a text where we can pick and choose which parts to believe.

The idea that all people are free in America to worship as they see fit is fine unless they are Muslims, and then they should be kicked out of the country, attacked in their mosques, and spat on in the street.

You showed me that the idea of freedom of the press means nothing if that press is allowed to say negative things about you and your leaders.  In that case the press is to be called fake, denied access to government functions, and its members attacked publically, sometimes physically.

Common decency?


I have no common decency just because it’s your kid this time?

There is no shared value of decency in America today.

The founder’s had the idea that all men are created equal and that they share rights of life, liberty, and happiness.    America’s concept of decency has always been founded on that idea and it has evolved to mean that rich, white people have those rights, not everyone.

Is it common decency to take away the health insurance of 32 million people?  Is that your idea of common decency?  Some of those people will certainly die because of that act, but that’s ok, because you don’t know them, right?  They’re not your three year old.  Human lives aren’t really important unless they are the ones close to you?

That’s bullshit.

Wait.  I wasn’t wrong, was I?  Human lives do matter.

Is it common decency to pass laws allowing guns in grade schools where more kids can get their hands on one, just like your three year old that you think I should be so concerned about?

Common decency has come to mean that each individual person demands that people have empathy for them while they are free to dismiss what happens to the rest of the country as “not my problem.”  Nothing to see here.  That’s the way it is.  Walk on by.

America is no longer a country where people come together for the common good, and without the concept of “the common good,” there can be no common decency.

America is now a country where until something touches you personally, it is just more background noise.

It’s like fireworks scaring pets in places where they are banned due to fire danger.  Just trying to have a little fun.  Not a real problem.  Walk on by.

So, let’s all go out and wave flags and scare pets and celebrate the hell out of the birth of this nation.  Let’s all be patriots and put flags on our pickups and drive up and down Main Street shooting pistols in the air.   Maybe we can run over a Muslim while we’re at it or at least shoot a black man for looking at us wrong.  Let’s celebrate America, which was once a shining beacon on the hill because we had this idea of the common good and what was the decent thing to do.  Once.

Happy Birthday America.


Your Humble Servant,

Roger A. Shipley, The Willowbrook Curmudgeon

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday America

  1. Happy Birthday, America! Today we celebrate our violent revolution separating from our mother country, England.
    I have had a life overflowing with experiences. I think I have experienced way more than an equitable share of the pain in life but also much more of the joy and beauty that life has to offer. I have never stopped loving anyone I once loved in spite of abandonment or negatives. I have seen a fair share of violent death and the glories of emotional love. This has led me to become a firm cerebral cortex pacifist.
    Do any of you think our situation better than that of our northern neighbors Canada? They do not have a celebration of their own glorifying the murder of their enemies nor that of the sacrifices of their own.
    I for one have ceased to celebrate our baser problems that urge us to war. Maybe some day you will join me.


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