Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ten Fingers: Tour America 1

America Part 1

Open up your hands again, it’s time for another edition of Ten Fingers. This time, an orientation to America—the land of the free (as in liberty NOT money), and home of the brave (although it can refer to people other than the Atlanta baseball team).

This is America! Your fingers are amber waves of grain enjoying those beautiful and spacious skies. God Bless this place—it’s pretty cool.

Look at your left hand. Those are all the people who live within 50 miles of a coast. And your right hand is everyone who lives further away.

Ok, now six fingers. That’s how many white people there are. These fingers are steadily dwindling with over half of US births in 2010 attributed to children of minority groups. By the time I’m old the white people will likely only represent four-ish fingers.

One finger is black, one finger is Latino, and one half of a finger is Asian. The people who owned the land before us barely qualify for a tenth of a finger.

Both hands again. Make the rocking bull sign—y’know, with the two horns. Those two horns are the rural population of America. Over 80% of Americans live in cities or suburbs.

In America we enjoy our first amendment right to freedom of religion. So let’s start. One finger doesn’t identify with a religion, four fingers attend a religious service every week, and nearly six fingers pray once a week. Five fingers are Protestant; two fingers are Catholic; and half a finger is Jewish, Buddhist, or Other. Mormons—Mitt Romney and Harry Reid—account for one fifth of a finger; not bad for a religion the Army once tried to eradicate.

As for the second amendment, gun ownership is holding steady at about five fingers; contrary to popular belief there have been few, if any, regulations limiting gun ownership in the US.

As for states rights and representation, there are some interesting peculiarities. Every state gets a minimum of three representatives (two senators and one representative). Because of the way the Constitution was written, with an emphasis on states’ rights, there is the burgeoning difficulty of adequate representation in the legislature. A representative in Montana represents two fingers of people (about 977,000) as opposed to Wyoming’s one finger (about 532,000). Area is also a concern; some members represent only a fraction of a city whereas others represent an entire state like Alaska.

And that’s the first tour of America.