Saturday, November 20, 2004

"Americanism", Paralysis, and Progress

"Americanism", Paralysis, and Progress
"Americanism" means freezing half a nation, wholesale
Forecast for Progress: cloudy skies, freezing reign

What is this notion of "Americanism"? How has one half a nation become paralyzed?

"If George W Bush wins, according to a scientist I met, who escaped Nazi-dominated Europe, America will surrender many of its democratic trappings and succumb to its totalitarian impulses."
-John Pilger, Nov 1, 2004

Muscle, when not used, suffers from atrophy. Democrats have become 98-lb weaklings and sand is regularly being kicked into our faces by the bullies of the new Washington DC. We Americans who wish to exercise our freedom are being restrained by an abuse of concentrated power in Washington. Those who were once-free are becoming weak, despite our effort to maintain our personal liberties. Our voices are choked by the powers that be, with the bootlickers of the near-worthless mainstream media, and most disturbingly, in concert with half a nation-full of individuals who seem to wish to cooperate with those wicked powers.
"In a supposedly free and open society, the degree of censorship by omission [in the US] is staggering.....The most enduring silence is that which guards the system that has produced these catastrophic events. This is Americanism, though it dares not speak its name, which is strange, as its opposite, anti-Americanism, has long been successfully deployed as a pejorative, catch-all response to critical analysis of an imperial system and its myths. Americanism, the ideology, has meant democracy at home, for some, and a war on democracy abroad."

-John Pilger

Make no mistake, we American citizens can be 'anti-Americanists' and still be as patriotic as James Madison or Thomas Jefferson. "Democracy for some" will never suffce in a land that bases its heritage in the promise of sweet freedom.

Thomas Jefferson said, in all his wisdom, with tongue firmly in cheek, that "a democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." And then, with his good mind attuned to an ideology that, if faltering, would fall on the side of freedom, said: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

I hereby vow to be exposed to such inconveniences. Small degrees of liberty will not facilitate a strong and lasting nation. I will not abandon America, and I proclaim that I am pro-American while being an "anti-Americanist" for the sake of the good of my nation.

I love her, America, from 'sea to shining sea'. I won't leave her, as my divisive brethren suggest that I make a choice to love or leave her. I won't allow her to be laid to waste by those who allow the word "freedom" to roll cheaply out of their lips like three-hour old chewing gum to the waste basket as we await the next wad to go tasteless and useless to their lying tongues. I stand by Walt Whitman, who averred that "once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth ever afterward resumes its liberty."

A state of paralysis for meaningful progress in US foreign policy:
Iraq war has been wrong all along. How can we expect it to ever become "right"?

I respect every soldier that is doing their duty on the bloody streets of Iraq. I would rather be struck deaf, dumb, and blind than to sit here with my mouth shut tight and fail to point out that they have never belonged in that place, that they were lied to in order to obtain their loyal duty, and that we want them to come home now. Iraq was always the wrong focus, and I don't think John Kerry, as good a man he is, ever made that fact crystal clear. I think it's why he failed to get an overwhelming margin of support in the election. Many Americans were never made to understand the folly of the rush to this war (the media certainly never did their duty as truth-informers of a democratic society), and the American people were rendered paralyzed for lack of reality-based knowlege.

A continuum of paralysis:
The Middle East is the key. We know it. We've systematically ignored it at civilization's peril.

We all know what needs to be done to "settle up" on the terrorism issue. We need to resolve the Middle East crisis, and I don't mean Iraq, Iran, or Syria. I mean Israel and Palestine. A man can only look at his fellow man suffering for so long before he explodes with a pent-up rage. There are good people on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict who have suffered for far, far too long while we've sat here in big-sofa American comfort and paralzyed fear of offending the Jews. Heavy intimidation from hardline Israeli government should not deter America from her duty. An honorable, civil, and justice-minded American government would not be intimidated by false accusations of anti-Semitism. They would not rest until there was a path to Palestinian statehood, regardless of the never-ending violence between both sides. If we wait for an end to violence, we'll wait until the end of time.

Listen to this interview between John Pilger and Dori Gold, Senior Adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, and pay close attention to when Gold says 9/11 should have been a "wake-up call". He's wrong, you know. Terror wasn't born on 9/11/01, nor was it invisible before 9/11. Terror was a convenient tactic for some warriors to employ until it was tried on the American populace. A giant was, indeed, awakened that day, but history reminds us that tiny Israel and their Palestinian neighbors studied terror long before that fateful day.

If you think 9/11 had nothing to do with Israel and Palestine, I pity you and the entirety of civilization, because there will never be a necessary progression from a warring and hateful animal instinct; the progress that will be required to save us. We may as well blow ourselves up now to save some other power from doing it for us. We’re on the wrong path.

We've watched the Middle East burning with terror for nearly 60 years and have not been an honest broker for peace (although President Clinton really did try, attributing to great respect for him in the eyes of the world).

Paralyzed and wrong-minded, the Bush administration has paid only lip service to the reason for terrorism. If Palestinians began to hope that they were on a road to being an independent and supported state, 'terrorists' would be rendered obsolete and impotent. Why hasn't the Bush administration made an authentic, good-faith effort to begin a dialogue?
"What will happen if the nightmare in Iraq goes on? Perhaps those millions of worried Americans who are currently paralysed by wanting to get rid of Bush at any price will shake off their ambivalence, regardless of who wins on 2 November. Then, as during the civil rights campaign, the Vietnam war and the great movement to freeze nuclear weapons, will a giant awaken? One must trust so; the alternative is a war on the world."

-John Pilger

A paralyzed epilogue:

The word "paralysis" and "paralyzed" has appeared in my column today, quite a few times.

The writer James Joyce offered a strange and thoughtful exhibit of paralysis in the first paragraph of the first story in The Dubliners, titled "The Sisters". Joyce believed that the Irish society and culture, as well as the country’s economy, had been paralyzed for centuries by two forces. The first was the Roman Catholic Church, the teachings of which most Dubliners of Joyce’s day adhered to passionately. The second was England, which had conquered Ireland in the seventeenth century and resisted granting the country its independence until 1922. I cannot help but to draw parellels between Christian fundamentalism and the foreign policy known as "Americanism" with Joyce's own display of wretched paralysis:
"THERE was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind for I knew that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse. He had often said to me: "I am not long for this world," and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true. Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.'

The end of my story? Well - it's up to all of us now. Will Pilger's imagined "giant" awaken or will we sit back on our sofas, say we can't do anything more about it, and watch our liberties, the rule of law, and civilization, as we know it, be smashed under the new Washington DC?

My first attempt to loosen my frozen and atrophying ‘muscles of liberty’ would be to suggest that we, of like-mind, must find a brand new self-descriptive name, because the perjorative connotations of the term “anti-Americanism” will never win an election for us.