Friday, April 3, 2009

Gee, Now There’s 20?

I know I’m getting old. I remember G6, G7, and G8. I even remember G8+5 and G22. G19+1, anyone? Yep, remember that too. Now, G20 takes a bow in the sun, figuratively speaking, of course, since this week’s carnival was in London. I’m thinking we might benefit from lowering the panel to 19. Why’s Italy in there? Let’s be serious here; like we’re really going to take economic and business consultation from the Italians.

Perhaps the most interesting note coming out of the G20 meeting is they are planning on reconvening in November. Yeah, and how do you suppose the host city is selected? Whoever pulls the short straw out of the hat has to host? At which point, some country’s poor bastard of a leader will have to burden one of his (sorry, women, but look around the conference room – it is what it is) cities with hosting duties, and the accompanying guaranteed riot, wide scale destruction, and civil unrest. And the best part? All the chaos doesn’t come from the fun-loving denizens of the host city, rather from semi-professional, anarchist protesters from around the globe.

Ah, good times.

Saw a clip on the news the other night. Young British lad, bleeding from a cut on his forehead – not a bad cut, mind you, but a cut nonetheless. He’s incredulously shouting at the reporter, “I’m 18 years old. Look at me, I’m bleeding. They hit me in the head. I’m just 18 years old!”


Dude, so you’re 18. All that means is that you’re legally an adult, and therefore, a prime target to get your ass whupped, in a completely legal fashion mind you, by other adults. And, if you don’t watch out for your whining, you’ll likely be getting your ass whupped quite regularly, so prepare yourself accordingly. Oh, and while it’s not exactly a “law” of evolution, it is a pretty generally accepted rule-of-thumb guideline: If you don’t have a baton in your hand, you shouldn’t get in the grill of a London bobby that does have a baton in his hand. Consider yourself fortunate that you’re not in someplace like Pulaski county, Kentucky, where you’re libel to taste 20 inches of a polished persimmon hardwood nightstick for simply omitting the “Sir” after saying “Good morning” to the local sheriff when getting your morning donut and tin of Copenhagen at the convenient store.

The protesters are quite the sight, don’t’ you think? One out of thirty is of the Berkeley societal dropout classification - dressed in hemp clothing, malnourished due to the fickleness of a vegan druggie lifestyle, and at the conference simply to fill all the emptiness of the calendar since the Grateful Dead stopped touring after Jerry Garcia’s death. However pitiful, that minority of protesters at least adorns itself proudly with its cloak of integrity. It’s the other clowns – the vast majority and those very easy to spot. Anarchists protesting the greed of free enterprise and capitalism, all the while finely attired in the latest styles from Benetton, Abercrombie, Boss, and Nike. Un huh, yeah.

That said, the official participants of the conference (those inside the ornate palaces and bastions of mahogany tables and overstuffed leather chairs) have no better standing in the hypocritical lineup, either. I love that the Germans and French are united in their stances. Germany and France? Wow, what a difference a few short years makes.

The big G20 takeaway for me is the American bashing that is so in vogue around the world, despite our immigration offices being jammed to capacity every day. I guess we’re an easy target, and that probably comes with being the straw that stirs the world’s economic drink. Maybe, and that’s a “maybe,” not a concession, we precipitated the global crisis with lax regulations of a free market economy. Fine, call us the first ones to blame; hell, you can even call us evil and question our collective moral being. But, how about a little balance on the other side too? Whenever there’s a natural disaster, anywhere in the world, whose fucking boat or plane packed with aid shows up first? You can’t have one without the other. There’s a bushel basket full of things wrong with this country. There’s also a whole heaping shitload of stuff that is really great, the first of which is that I can post that previous sentence on an internet forum without fearing government reprisal or jail time [try even accessing a politically charged internet forum in China, one of the G20 delegates joining in on the US-bashing – you probably can’t even open the page – if you do, and actually get your post up, don’t answer the knock at the door – if you’re in Tibet, turn yourself in just for reading about it].

So easy to point a finger – not raise a finger, as that’s something completely different, albeit just as easy. It seems we all fail to recognize that when pointing a finger, there’re three other fingers pointing back the other direction. Go ahead, try it. See?

So, G20 crowd, politicos and protesters alike - Watch the frequency and ferocity of your finger pointing. A little, and done with a degree of diplomacy and tact, is spark for great dialogue. Done repeatedly and with ill temper … well, you’re likely to get a big red, white, and blue single raised finger in return.

Just this guy’s opinion.

Continue the conversation - follow me on Twitter @RayHartjen.

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