Across America last weekend, most people paid little if any attention to news about the brutal suppression of democracy advocacy in Myanmar by General Than Shwe and his regime. They had places to go and people to see. Football stadiums were filled to capacity by millions of fans eager to watch their team’s latest must-win game. From New York to California, throngs of shoppers filled the malls to celebrate America’s greatness by handing some of their minimum wage dollars to minimum wage clerks in exchange for a shirt or blouse made by other minimum wage workers. That night, many of these football fans and shoppers went to a restaurant to hand a few more of their minimum wage dollars to a minimum wage waitress in exchange for a meal prepared by a minimum wage cook.
Prosperity from The Gipper’s tax cuts will trickle down any day now, so eat, drink, and be merry, America! There’s some trouble going on in Burma? Most of our fellow “citizens” shrugged that off. Whatever. Those foreigners are always killing each other over something or other.
On Sunday morning, some of these football fans and shoppers went to a mega-church and handed some more of their minimum wage dollars to a wealthy evangelist in exchange for a rousing sermon about glorifying Jesus by getting rich. Then, content that their Christianity would remain safely intact for another week, they settled in at home to watch more football or went shopping again.
With all of these important activities to pursue, it’s no wonder that most Americans have paid little if any attention to the violent suppression of democracy in Myanmar. Too many of them can’t even summon the decency to give a shit about the suppression of democracy here, so why would they give a shit about democracy in some country they’d never even heard of before? Besides, they probably told themselves as they fixed a snack that all that fuss those monks were raising before they got arrested and executed is over now and has no impact at all on them or their family.