Thursday, November 29, 2018

Shattering Truths about the USA

A few shatteringly uncomfortable truths for those of us in the USA, before we enter Holiday Mood proper (it's not yet December!) A question at Quora the other day:

What's the most widely held misconception about the United States of America that you know to be false?

Ron Wiseman (A Most Viewed Writer in Politics of the United States) answered, quoting a piece by Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Mr Dabashi's article, in full is a sobering read. Mr Wiseman has given me permission to use his answer here. Quotes from Mr Dabashi's piece are highlighted in the blue paragraphs, below.

The full article by Hamid Dabashi is: What if Donald Trump is What America is all about

What's the most widely held misconception about the United States of America that you know to be false?

Perhaps the belief that Donald Trump doesn’t really represent America's values. Perhaps he really does. Administrations from both parties have committed atrocities going all the way back to our American Revolution.
"Trump and Trumpism are as American as mom and apple pie - and an entire racist and xenophobic history of the US is there to verify it. And if the structurally corrupt Democratic Party under the leadership of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer are supposed to be the alternative to that truth, then the Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Yemenis brutalized identically under both Republicans and Democrats may have something to say about the matter."

Another relevant quote

"One quick look at the red-blooded electoral map of the US after the midterm elections shows this, in fact, is certainly not - as liberals love to say - a divided country. It is a solidly and unmistakably racist, sexist, xenophobic and violent country obsessed with domestic gun violence and foreign conquest with a few pockets of wishy-washy liberal resistance here or there.

From Brazil to Saudi Arabia to Israel to the racist, xenophobic, proto-fascist parties in Europe - they all have a solid ally in all the three branches of the US government.

From the earliest stages of the rise of Donald Trump I have argued that contrary to the liberal contingencies of opposition to his brand of blunt and fascistic politics he is "the real deal": American politics stripped to its bare essence, shorn of all its democratic pretensions and neoliberal niceties.

For eight years Barack Obama was the face of the duplicitous politics of shedding public tears for schoolchildren being shot in the US, before retiring to a back room at the White House to send more arms to Israel and Saudi Arabia to slaughter Palestinian and Yemeni children."

America is what we do. What we do is take from the poor to give to the wealthy. What we do is incarcerate the highest percentage of our population than any other country. What we do is throw teargas at women and children who are running from a life of pain and squalor. And what we don’t do, is collectively feel bad enough to fix any of it. That is us.


Wisewebwoman said...

The thoughts I haven't dared say aloud for many, many years. This is the true face and it is terrifying and awful and says so much about all of us. Using Trump as the fall guy for what we know in our hearts is the real story and continues to be to whatever cataclysmic fate awaits us all. We are all complicit.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Yes, our current President has caused much pearl-clutching among so-called liberals here, but those "liberals" do not care to take a clear-eyed look at themselves and what they have been supporting for decades, under a variety of presidents. Trump hasn't done much of value, but he has offered a clear picture of what "we" really do stand for.

The article quoted is harsh, but it's a good thing, once in a while, to have a light shone into the murk. Nothing will change though - not yet anyway. Something will cause change to occur, though I doubt it'll be during what's left of my lifetime.

Twilight said...

Received by e-mail from "JD" in the UK

"But we knew all that anyway, did we not? We have known about it for 250 years! :)

It is not the people who are violent by nature, but their leaders from the Founding Fathers onwards.
I said it all here before and after the music-

If you look at the English speaking former colonies it is the US which is the odd one out; Canada, Australia, New Zealand are all relatively civilised but the US.......?
That is why I always say you should hand the country back to the Crown and apologise for the mess your 'leaders' have made of things. :) "

Twilight said...

JD ~ Yes, some knew it, I guess, but have, most of the time, tried to balance it against other facts - the assistance given to Britain & Europe in World War 2 by the USA for instance; and the fact that ordinary people here are not all violent psychopaths, but people trying to make a decent life for themselves and their families. They have been apathetic though, or, as I often say 'misled' and gullible. Those who like to think that they are 'liberal', because they vote Democrat, have been blinkered to what their chosen leaders have been doing all along. They now enjoy having a fall-guy to blame.

LB said...

Some knew it, though it took some of us longer to see, thanks in large part to the courageous prophets and truth-tellers among us. Then there are those who either can't or won't see ~ which sadly, seems to be most folks I come in contact with.

Maybe it speaks to our unconscious and shared need to believe in something/someone BIGGER than ourselves ~ who will encourage and inspire, guide and protect us, just as any loving parent or creator, family or community -either earthly or spiritual- would. We see what we want to see.

Twilight said...

LB ~ "We see what we want to see" - never has a truer fact been written, LB!

R J Adams said...

Every word of that article is true. I spent nearly fifteen years in the US and it is exactly the conclusion I arrived at, and couldn't wait to get away from. There is an inbuilt arrogance in American society generally that states, 'we are the best', 'we are the greatest', 'we are the chosen', 'we are superior to every other nation'. It's taught in every school from grade to university. Trump is the supreme manifestation of that inbuilt arrogance, a Beelzebubian example of the 'stuff you, I'm alright Jack' syndrome that epitomises America today and makes it the most dangerous nation on the planet. Yes, there are good people in America, I met many of them, but the social ideology doesn't allow their sentiments to flourish. If not obvious before, this became obvious to all at the last presidential election: the Trump or the Clinton - take your pick, there was nothing to choose between them. And nothing in it for the people, from either of them. Just lies, lies, and more lies, with the ignorant and the desperate ready to believe them because there was no-one genuine for them to put their faith in.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Yes, the 2016 election was clarifying in many ways. The people complained about stuff, then, when a guy was available for nomination who offered solutions to their complaints, but because media and the Clinton mafia ignored, and deliberately de-railed him, the people couldn't see or didn't care what was going on under their noses. I find it hard to forgive this. I was shocked at the kinds of people who bad-mouthed Bernie, back then. Anyway, he might run again, but really his age, by 2020, will be against him. USA lost its chance and I've lost all patience with politics here.

R J Adams said...

Yes, and it's much the same in the UK these days. Now they're saying there could be another referendum to decide whether Brexit should continue regardless, given that Parliament is probably going to throw out the agreement that's been reached with the EU, or to remain in the EU after all. It's a total fiasco!

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Yes, things in the UK, re Brexit, continue to amaze. They say a referendum would take too long to organise, unless EU would allow extra time before the chopper is due to fall in March next year.