|February 3, 2012 | Reading, Stuffs, Travels

” No matter how many beaches we pick up, no matter how many schools we build amid the rubble of villages we bomb, the world will judge Americans not as well-meaning individuals but as faceless supporters of a fascist regime drunk with military power and an unslakable thirst for oil. In the way Americans once held all citizens of the Soviet Union in contempt, in the way the world’s 1 billion baptized Catholics are somehow held accountable for every impetuous decree from a geriatric pontiff whose native tongue the majority of them don’t even speak, the world now judges Americans as an evil herd.

Unfair, maybe, but this makes a kind of sense. Universal scorn is what results from willingly paying taxes to a government that sends soldiers around the globe to secure oil fields and flatten ancient civilizations before trying to rebuild them according to its own shabby blueprints. More than voting, demonstrating, righteous sermonizing at cocktail parties, or forwarding Cheney-bashing e-mails, it’s April 15, not the first Tuesday in November, that reveals the depth of your political convictions. It doesn’t matter whom you voted for or who’s in the White House, if you pay the taxes that foot the bills, you’re complicit in the big picture. And you’re hated for it. “