Monday, September 18, 2006

Why I Hate America

Mickey Z wrote a great piece on "Why I Hate America". I just cannot believe how closely this reflects my feelings - except for the part about the troops (I'll have to write about that sometime). I in fact love a lot about this country - and I really chafe at the wingnut notion that people think that folks over on, DailyKos, Democratic Underground, Alternet, etc. "hate" this country. I consider myself an independent and I think that's just bullshit.

From the article:

When pressed, I sometimes reply: "I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole." But, after the laughter dies down, I have a confession to make: If by "America" they mean the elected/appointed officials and the corporations that own them, well, I guess I do hate that America-with justification.

Among many reasons, I hate America for the near-extermination and subsequent oppression of its indigenous population. I hate it for its role in the African slave trade and for dropping atomic bombs of civilians. I hate its control of institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. I hate it for propping up brutal dictators like Suharto, Pinochet, Duvalier, Hussein, Marcos, and the Shah of Iran. I hate America for its unconditional support for Israel. I hate its bogus two-party system, its one-size-fits-all culture, and its income gap. I could go on for pages but I'll sum up with this: I hate America for being a hypocritical white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

After a paragraph like that, you know what comes next: If you hate America so much, why don't you leave? Leave America? That would potentially put me
on the other end of U.S. foreign policy. No thanks.

I like how Paul Robeson answered that question before the House Un-American
Activities Committee in 1956: "My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?"

I'm partway through American Theocracy right now, but I may have to take a detour into Mickey Z's 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism, since that's something sitting in pile of books in the last Amazon shipment. I think Mickey Z sometimes takes a position further left than I would normally take, but I really liked this piece. He also addresses the exercise of freedom:

Needless to say, none of the above does a damn thing to placate the yellow ribbon crowd. It seems what offends flag-wavers most is when someone like me makes use of the freedom they claim to adore. According to their twisted logic, I am ungrateful for my liberty if I have the audacity to exercise it. If I make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, somehow I'm not worthy of having the freedom to make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. These so-called patriots not only claim to celebrate freedom while refusing my right to exploit it, they also ignore the social movements that fought for and won such freedoms.

I love this country - probably mostly due to lots of indoctrination I may have internalized by being raised here - also due to never living or even traveling outside the country. But that still doesn't mean that love cannot be critical when the reality doesn't live up to the supposed ideals or principles. People consider it their duty as close friends or family to call them out on bad behavior - the same goes for citizens with respect to their country. Calling America out on bad behavior doesn't mean you "hate" America.

I guess that's why we read each other's blogs. Based on your comments, I'd say we share more than a little of each other's worldview. IMHO, that's the best thing about the Internet. No matter how wacky our worldview or beliefs are among our friends and family, there's always other wierdos on the Internet who see eye to eye with us.

I think the genius of America is freedom/liberty. This is what allows our society to change 180 degrees on a dime. And every time we flip like that, we grow a little more.

I think further that the Internet has increased the pace of this change considerably. I think this for the very reason I mentioned above. Namely, all wierd thoughts find fellow travelers on the Internet.

And among all the wierd and wacky ideas on the Internet, some of them must be blindingly true. And, I believe, it is those true ones which will drive the next change in America.

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