Tlgm, a short swarthy man with greenish skin from the planet H51 in the Andromeda Galaxy, stepped out of his ship near the biggest Air Force base in the U.S. He had surreptitiously dropped by earth to observe the current state of affairs on this unorthodox planet. Tlgm’s job was to take note of social conditions, political issues and the mind-set of the population, then report back to Zyyrcon. As his first country was the U.S. he immediately proceeded to observe and record his findings. Given the current disposition in the U.S. he was eager to see what conclusions he might draw, what sort of report could he make?
In need of a starting point, Tlgm watched television news. He knew that reporters should report – what better source than listening to the journalists? Starting at the lowest point possible, he flitted about a few cities and watched reports from local stations. He wanted his record of events to be as accurate as possible upon returning to HQ at Zyyrcon.
After a single day, he dropped all local stations. He saw that his records were already becoming redundant with the incessant spate of murders, rapes, robberies and other regional crimes. Besides, with the exception of current conditions, the weather reports were inaccurate. In one day he developed the “seen one, seen ‘em all” notion about local newscasts.
National news was somewhat different – although if a crime is heinous enough reporters seemed to think it necessary to ask incredibly stupid questions. “You’re mother was just killed by a turbulent comet storm, you just learned you have inoperable cancer and the CIA, believing you are a national threat, has surrounded the building – how do you feel right now?”
Tlgm decided to focus on political concerns. This was the core, the power that runs the country. Or was it? No matter, he could sort the data later and come to a better understanding of who or what made this machine tick.
Within a day he began to see a pattern developing. There was consistency to the apparent madness that these humans display. One word persistently ran through his mind. Hate. The people have grouped, and each group hates nearly all other groups. Tolerance is a word seldom used, a concept they don’t understand.
They have religion without tolerance for nonconformists to their sect. In fact, as Tlgm discovered, they have killed each other for centuries for this very reason. Religion is the bloodiest moral scheme ever devised by humans. As far as he can see into the future, nothing will change with religion, hate and bloodbaths. How sad, he thought.
The people are divided by class. A generation back there was a larger middle class – now that was rapidly dwindling. The top class has no understanding of the bottom class, especially the street-dwellers. Neither does the bottom class understand the top class, especially the very wealthy. Why can’t they understand the ever so simple concept that, unless one has lived as the other, they can’t possibly know anything about one another. He perceived the top class as especially stupid about this.
Among all the major Hates, Tlgm noted a few other current “hates” in his record before heading back to Zyyrcon.
The woman, Sarah Palin hates the president of the US. In all her speeches she condemns him and rails about taking the country away from him. The president doesn’t hate Sarah Palin. He tries very hard to ignore her. Besides, he is often diverted from his job in an effort – among other things – to prove his citizenship.
The man, Rush Limbaugh hates all people who do not worship him. Apparently, he is some sort of shaman. He has a large following of haters who worship him. If not already, he will soon start a new religion. Tlgm’s supposes it will be Rushism. Limbaugh sounds so much like a smelly cheese (or a dance where people wriggle under an ever lowered stick). It would be hard to attach an ism something like that.
Most people have an uncanny inability to set priorities. Tlgm speculates this could stem from group hate – everyone seems to identify with a group. Group think takes precedence over individual thinking. Priority setting therefore is a group dictum, fashionably referred to as collaboration.
Due to lack of priorities, most of them are obsessed with materialism. And again, this is probably a group issue. They call it fashion, trend, buzz, craze, and it is dictated by a mad desire to obtain status. The definition of status is owning a gadget with the perception that it makes others jealous. Things that start with i are apparently more valuable than gold.
They have to work at being happy. How strange this is, Tlgm thought. If there is a need to work for happiness, then the entire notion of happiness is a non sequitur. Tlgm knows that happiness is not thinking about being happy. It is spontaneous joy of being.
At last Tlgm gathered his findings and prepared to depart for Zyyrcon. His report would be glum and he was saddened for the human condition as the ship departed. Then it occurred to him, the trite cliché that humans used to describe all the foibles of the species.
Fuck it, we’re only human!
Tlgm smiled and settled in for the long voyage home.