Friday, April 25, 2008

Somewhere outside the Realm of Stupid

Turned on CNN last night for a few minutes. Not sure what happened to Anderson Cooper but his replacement was conducting a contest in stupid. They had a 3-person panel discussing Rev. Wright (again) because apparently he gave an interview or something.

I'd just like to point out 3 things:

1. Obama wasn't there when Wright said "G*d Damn America" and has since rejected the remarks.

2. John McCain actively sought out the endorsement of Rev. Hagee, a bigoted evangelical who called Katrina God's punishment for New Orleans' sin and reiterated those remarks just days ago yet there has been hardly a peep out of the media over that.

3. Wright was and is right. There are two Americas. We have yet to achieve equality and there is much work to be done. The only controversial thing in this statement is the "God Damn" part:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people"


"God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

He should of course be ashamed for using the Lord's name in vain since as a preacher he should, you know, believe in the bible and stuff. But his argument has the ring of truth. We locked up hundreds in Guantanamo Bay, denied them of their fundamental human rights, and tortured them to boot. Our prisons are full of black men and women and instead of rethinking the dynamic that created that situation, we rush to build more. Our cities are decaying from within because of poverty and drugs and instead of looking for creative solutions, we continue a "war on drugs" that accomplishes nothing, costs billions, and incarcerates hundreds of thousands on relatively minor offenses. And that doesn't even begin to address the plight of inner city education, the hopelessness and despair that envelops communities that are forgotten and have little or no hope, or the increasing disparity between the haves and haves-not.

But no, we don't want to talk about that. Instead, we just want to say, "He said 'God Damn America'! He must hate America! He's unpatriotic! And, hint, hint, he knows Barack Obama! Can't let those uppity blacks take over the nation! Look what they believe!" Etc. And CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and everyone else are willing players in that game. For shame.

But even beyond our domestic troubles, what is controversial about this statement:

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye...We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost,"

These things are true. We did bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not because we needed to, but as a warning to the Soviets. We did support the apartheid state of South Africa and we do unquestioningly support Israel even while they expand settlements into Palestinian areas, create virtual apartheid, and refuse to honestly negotiate. And we have done more and worse here in South America and across the globe either out of our own arrogance or stupidity and then we are surprised that someone comes after us? Perhaps we, as a culture, don't want to hear the ugly truth about the bloody work we've done across the globe in the last 70 years. But denying something doesn't mean it doesn't exist and frankly, I find it heartening that at least some community somewhere in the Realm of Stupid is acknowledging our role in 9/11, in fostering inhumane conditions around the world, and ultimately, in withering the American Empire prematurely.

So we shall diminish for our politics lead us down the road of arrogance, ignorance, and deceit. Much like every empire before us, we castigate truthsayers, reward the fable tellers, and march on oblivious to our own impending doom. It will be a harsh blow to White America's sense of exceptionalism. But the blow will be struck, sooner now than many think for we have squandered the chance to cement the American example as different, as better than history. Instead, we have written yet another chapter in the long history of failed empires and uninspired ideas.


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