I Hate Turkey*

“If the road you travel has no obstacles – it leads nowhere.” -Unknown

Camp is one of those ubiquitous American traditions which conjures up images of cabins and kumbaya. Not ones to miss out on an American tradition, the Tampa 912 Project, a Tea Party organization based in Florida, is getting in on the camp experience this summer.

According to this article:

“The organization, which falls under the tea party umbrella, hopes to introduce kids ages 8 to 12 to principles that include “America is good,” “I believe in God,” and “I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.””

A blog I regularly read, Shakesville, posted about the story and I commented:

“I’m 100% convinced that no member of the Tea Party has a passport and therefore has never been to Europe or seen any sorta of for realz socialism in action.”

Given my spelling of “realz” and my use of that phrasing, I figured it was pretty clear I was being sarcasmic. My point was that the Tea Party seems to be so completely unable to understand concepts like “socialism” and “Europe” that it’s obvious they have never experienced it first hand. It would seem that some took me more seriously than I intended.

I received this comment in reply to my post:

“That wouldn’t be surprising, since something like 90% of USians don’t have passports. Overseas travel is definitely a class privilege in the US.  And while USians may meet people from overseas here, it really depends on where you live and work.”

And then this person responded to the previous comment:

“Yes, thanks for this! I really hate it when people use the fact or idea that someone’s never been out of the country as proof of how dumb and provincial they are. Hello, it costs about $1,000 just for the flight! Who can afford that? Not my family, that’s for sure. Not to mention the fact that the U.S. is really big, and lots of people live quite far from an international airport, so that compounds the complexity of international travel. The idea that people who haven’t been outside of the U.S. are ignorant on purpose, and their opinions should therefore be disregarded, is pretty classist.”

I can’t even bash the Tea Party without getting myself into trouble.

My clearly sarcastic, not intended to be a manifesto on international travel, remark was pointing out the idiocy of lambasting a place you’ve never been to or an economic structure you’ve never experienced. It’s like claiming chocolate tastes horrible when you’ve never had it. Given the activities that this day camp has planned for the children, it is clear that they are woefully lacking an understanding of socialism and Europe (among other things).

I don’t think you need to be a world traveler to have a “relevant” opinion. I think you need to have traveled in Europe to have a relevant opinion on whether life in Europe sucks.

*I’ve never visited Turkey.

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