(For an explanation of the Live from America! series, click here.)
Earth Date 12/19/2015
Dear Advanced Life Form (ALF):
Greetings! I hope you are doing well. College students around the country are dropping into exhausted heaps of inert student masses as they finish their semesters. I am a college professor, and like my colleagues around the country, I will dropping into an exhausted heap of inert professor mass as soon as I finish my pile of grading.
But first, I want to file my report to you on the state of America. A recent poll can, I think, illuminate the nature of my people and the times in which we live. A sample of Americans was asked if they were in favor of an American campaign to bomb the country of Agrabah. 30% of Republicans polled said “yes.” After all, Agrabah must be an Arab, Muslim country, and we know that all of Those People are terrorists, so we might as well bomb them off the map, right?
The problem is, Agrabah does not exist. It is the name of a fictional country taken from the Disney film Aladdin. Oops.
Oh, well. Everybody knows that knowledge of geography isn’t our strong suit here in America. That’s OK, though, we make up for our ignorance with high self-esteem and lots and lots of guns.
Many people reacted to the results of this poll with derision. They think it is silly to bomb places that do not exist. I, however, think it is actually a brilliant idea. Bombing real places with real people in them has a number of drawbacks: it is costly, it is messy, and the people being bombed tend to form negative attitudes towards the bombers and then become terrorists.
Bombing non-existent places, though, has none of these drawbacks. It is cheap, clean, and much less irritating to the people on the ground. Bombers can get their jollies by pretending to destroy entire civilizations without spending trillions of tax dollars! We could use the saved dollars on other things, like mandatory geography education.
Why didn’t we think of this earlier? Maybe I should run for president.
That’s all for now, ALF. Take care.