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Gods of the 'Mer'cans
This story is not copyright; it is public domain.

    'Mer'cans are those strange folks who dominate that portion of North America known as the United States of America. All 'Mer'cans are, by definition, citizens of the USA but not all citizens are 'Mer'cans--yet. Newcomers are, almost by definition, hyphenated 'Mer'cans. There are, for example, Asian-Americans, German-Americans, Ukranian-Americans.
    'Mer'cans tend to be an inclusive folk because they have had a lot of space to spare. So they have a tradition of generously accepting strangers . This generousity may be coming to an end as North America gets more densely populated.
    Generally newcomers give up their hyphenatedness in a generation or two and become 'Mer'cans themselves. But many Afro-americans stubbornly resist 'Mer'canization in much the same way they stubbornly resisted enslavement. Strangely, they try to blame the unhyphenated 'Mer'cans for this condition. But every two edged sword cuts both ways.
    Interestingly, there are no Canadian-Americans. That's probably because Canadians already are Americans who happen to live in another, somewhat gentler and more law-abiding country--except that is for the French-Canadians.
    'Mer'cans have some unique strangenesses, one of which is the point of this little essay. There is a contradiction in 'Mer'can culture that virtually no 'Mer'cans can notice. To see it, a person would have to be mentally very flexible. A physical analogy to that kind of flexibility would be someone who could bend around while standing up and peer up their own rear end. This peculiarity is much easier for an outsider like me to notice. Though I was born here, in my heart of hearts I know I'm not really part of this group. However, I'm genuinely enjoying having a 'Mer'can lifetime because 'Mer'cans are encouraged to swagger on the street, wear wide belts with big, gaudy buckles, and in many states, allowed to carry a concealed handgun under their jackets.
    Here's one particular Mer'can strangenesses that this essay isn't about: My neighbors believe they live in the home of the brave and the land of the free. Most 'Mer'cans will proudly and unhesitatingly inform you that they are a free people, one of the few in the world. And because of that freedom, they are the richest country in the world. This is not really so. Virtually all of them are wage-enslaved. with a negative net worth. The Swiss have far more finanacial liberty. The French have more liberty to express their feelings. Even the Mexicans have more fun at partys.
    The 'Mer'cans believe their home is their castle and that they have inalienable right to protect its integrity--yet their government has given their law authorities the right to kick in the door and come charging in at gunpoint, yelling "POLICE!" 'Mer'cans proudly possess the legal right to use lethal force to defend their homes against this sort of attack by home-invaders pretending to be police. And sometimes very nasty criminals actually do come charging in, kicking down the door while yelling "POLICE!". But if a person defends the invasion of their home and hearth, and if it happens to have really have been the real police dressed up like criminal storm troopers, and if you happened to have been one tough, fast sum'bitch and have taken out all the invaders and survived, you'll at best, spend the rest of your life in the slammer.
    Even in Canada, where the citizens have no such unalienable rights, the civilized police, at least, still politely knock on the door and usually are willing wait while you put on your robe and read their warrant before demolishing your home or putting you in cuffs.
    One of the biggest strangenesses I find about 'Mer'cans has to do with their religious beliefs. 'Mer'cans believe that they are the end result of thousands of years of religious improvement, an evolved people whose elevation to electness among all peoples is proved because they worship the One, The Only, The True God with a capital "G". 'Mer'cans are definitely not polytheistic as were virtually all their European ancestors of a mere millenia or so ago. And know it. So, with the exception of a few cantankerous individualists who express their inate, God-given rights by being blatently polytheistic, or who out of spitefulness, openly worship the true God's so-called Antagonist, with the exception of some recently-arrived hyphenated-Americans who are Hindu or Buddhist or from "primitive" cultures that are still overtly polytheistic, all the rest of the 'Mer'cans--even such bizarre folks as the Arab-Americans, and the Mormon-Americans and the Seventh Day Adventist-Americans--believe they live in a capital "G" God-fearing country and worship the same God (in different churches with different rituals of course, important differences they are, too, but not worth fighting over). Even the Jews. Maybe even the Muslims.
    But this is not quite the truth. So I propose to ask you, gentile reader, to take a look at how the Greeks and Romans, polytheists if there ever were any, used their religions and then see if the 'Mer'cans are really any different today than they were two millenia ago.
    Everybody knows that the Classical cultures recognized many dieties. There was a god or goddess or senior, powerful spiritual influence for just about everything of interest to humans. Religion for most people consisted of soliciting aid, support and intervention from the appropriate god or godess or senior, powerful spiritual influence for your particular desire or need. This aid came in several forms. One form of help was miraculous intervention obtained by bribery. Another was divine guidance leading to success on Earth. So the Greek or Roman studied the various mysteries and inner-wisdoms kept by the accolites, priests and priestesses of the temples of the various religions. If, for example, a childless couple wished to conceive, they would make a pilgrimage to the temple of the god and/or goddess of fertility, offer the best bribe they could for direct intervention, and probably would, while in attendance at this shrine or temple, participate in the inner secret mysteries of the temple that were supposed to help them. The poor couple, might, for example, attend a debauched fertility rite where the drugged-up bride would obtain assistance at getting pregnant from numerous gentlemen, while the husband might be tutored by various temple priestesses on how to be a better lover.
    There were temples and specific religions for monetary success, for dealing with the afterlife, for soldiers, for farmers wishing better crops. There was even a god to help the slaves. Whatever your need, there was a religion for it. As Gibbon the great classical historian said of religion's civilizing effects: to the average Roman, all religions were equally true; to the philosophers, all religions were equally false; to the magistrates, all religions were equally useful.
    'Mer'cans know we have advanced a long way from this earlier and lower stage of spiritual evolution. They learned what pits of unethical degredation polytheism led the Romans to--like bloody circuses where the lustful masses drooled over death and rape on stage--and we know our TV and movies are nothing like that; The Romans fought wars of conquest and extermination without any apology--nothing like B52 raids to enforce "peace," or support of sadistic anti-guerrilla forces in Latin America; The Romans practiced direct exploitation through mass individual enslavement of foreigners--nothing like the hundreds of millions of 'Mer'cans who, instead of the slave collar, could attach a bumpersticker on their autos (still mainly owned by the bank) saying "I owe, I owe, so its off to work I go. At least a slave of the Romans knew they were enslaved.
    Actually, 'Mer'cans have as many religions as did the classical Romans--or more. In those many churches dotting our towns and cities we mainly worship the "God of the Afterlife" because 'Mer'cans fear death and what comes after death. The church provides them with formulas to avoid an unfavorable judgement after death.
    However, death is not 'Mer'cans only worry. In fact, it's not their main worry. Judging by the amount of time and attention given to the other religions they practice, as a people most 'Mer'cans aren't much worried about death at all.
    The main activity most 'Mer'cans engage in is raising children and making the family. Do we ask help from the church of the afterlife how to do this? No, not from most of them! We ask for help and guidence from the Shrine of Disney. Disney provides us with appropriate materials for raising our children in the kind of innocence the Disneyites believe children should experience. Disneyites know that if your children aren't raised this way that you risk their becoming drug addicts and juvenile delinquents. Disneyism also prescribes keeping children busy with "healthy" activities, so we organize our schools so that as much or more of their focus is as much or more on athletics and "healthy competition" as it is on the 3Rs. And the Disney organization produces countless hours of entertaining video fare to properly indoctrinate the young in the correct values while harmlessly amusing them.
    So attached are most 'Mer'can parents to Disneyism that they commonly take their children on long pilgrimages to one of the two major Disney shrines, one in southern California and the other in Florida.
    Another church: The Pantheon of Happy Old Age. 'Mer'cans worry a lot about growing old, probably because our family bonds are weak which is why we worship at the Shrine of Disney--or maybe it is because we have paid too much attention to Disney. When old, who will care for us, we worry. How will we pay the bills? So one of our main religions is focuses on this part of life--Wall Street.

to be continued . . . .


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