How “Americans” Live Today

Apparently, this is a documentary from North Korea. It highlights American pastimes like snow drinking and bird eating, common occurrences in a country raked by poverty. First, it’s kind of funny, then frightening, thinking that folks in North Korea believe such propaganda.

It reminds me of the story a political science professor told me – one day North Korea gathered its top intellectuals and sent them on a airplane trip to China. They had never been out of their country before. When they arrived in China and got off the plane, they were all shocked to see the sun was high in the sky. This flabbergasted reaction was caused by none of them expecting to see daylight. Although they were the regime’s tip-top smart go-to people, even they were taught the sun only shined in North Korea.

I don’t know if it’s true that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea really has that powerful of a propaganda machine. But, it might, and this documentary could be another example. At any rate, however, the hyperbole of what daily life is like for the average citizen of the west isn’t too far off the mark from what some people go through in the United States, or Canada, or Western Europe.

Sure, most folks have it better than people unlucky enough to be born under the rule of the Kim family. But, the footage still shows the tragic flaws within our system. People sleeping under advertisements for expensive consumer items? It happens. People lining up for food handouts? That happens too. Everywhere. All the time.

And until we all band together to create the social change necessary to give the most vulnerable people in western society real equality, we shouldn’t laugh so hard at North Korea. There’s people all over the world suffering from the consequences of systemic oppression, whatever the regime or propaganda machine. Even if we know the sun shines all over, we should all help make sure the light gets in.

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