Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

We Are Either With Or Against Ourselves

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We are raised in America to question authority, yes, but told we do so because it is the mental exercise of the most noble American value.  It is, in a sense, our greatest American power.  It is the act of being American.  Thus, just to think as an American establishes our notions of identity and power.

Our aptitude of self-examination belies a widening, modern dichotomy.  Our blank check on questions has bounced.  Increasingly, an American citizen’s greatest asset is becoming his potential Achilles’ heel.  Ask, okay, but do not stray.  Question authority, but recognize that authority means what it implies.  Don’t forget your place, little citizen, allegiance always.

This is true of any nation.  History books erase blunders and applaud achievements, instilling nationalist pride in its youth.  Nationalism creates loyal, docile citizens.  Nowhere on Earth, however, do I believe this installment is more reinforced than in America.  In my youth, I was accustomed to hearing, or perhaps honestly told, that while foreigners might love their motherland they all would rather choose to live and breath as an American.  This is my home, the mighty U.S.A.  It, and we, are the best.  That’s what we are taught.  That’s our indoctrination.

It reminds me in many ways of the belief in God.  Ironic, really, as our nation was founded by those who didn’t ascribe to one monotheistic belief that we now bully the world from our own Christian soapbox.  Oh, not us, you say?  No, we are accepting, in other words all-loving; we allow our own to do as they please while helping the world free themselves to do the same, in other words all-powerful; we create freedom and democracy through our own action, thus we are the creators!

A spoon full of sugar didn’t help the bitter pill go down when I finally came to terms with my misappropriation of faith in both the U.S.A. and God.  Those were the staples of my childhood.  These two articles of constitution allowed me to believe all I had to do was BE and I would be considered GOOD.

The unraveling situation in Pakistan provides yet another example of the hypocrisy latent in American values, manifest in our foreign policy.  While we preach peace and democracy, we are uphold the barriers to it.  For over one hundred years we have backed hundreds of Pervez Musharrafs because we find it in our self-interest.  It was said, in this latest case, in the case of post-9/11 Pakistan, that Musharraf’s support was essential in fighting our war on terror.  It was, in reality, asking Musharraf to “pretty please” cut off his own hands.  Yet, our government told us time and time again that progress was being made.  It should be known now that progress, in American regime terms, means writing blank checks to nations incapable of ever paying dividends.

Believe me, after taking politics courses focusing on Pakistan, I understand the difficulties anyone faces in trying to progress.  Benazir Bhutto didn’t do a great job of it in her first two attempts, proving to have just as many corrupt cronies as Musharraf does today.  Yet, this isn’t the point.  The point is when will citizens in America say enough is enough to the rhetoric and start facing complex facts.  We should not and cannot be bullied by nations who have geopolitical leverage on us.

It is the same in the treatment of the conflict between Taiwan and China.  While Taiwan represents everything the West asks for in a progressive democratic nation, it is continually abandoned of support when striving for its self-actualization.  It cannot be supported because this would anger China.  We whisper our support to authoritarians while bullhorns blare our false determination to aid lovable losers.

It is the core of many conflicts around the world.  And while it may seem unfair for me to blame America for the circumstances of foreign nations, if we are going to talk the talk we better walk the damn walk.  I was raised to believe we are capable of finding complex solutions, capable of righting wrongs, capable of utilizing power to offer alternatives for the good of all.  I was brainwashed, but it felt brilliant.  It felt possible.

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Written by Miles

November 8, 2007 at 12:14 pm

One Response

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  1. Yes, we have much more than mental serfdom to aspire to.

    Lunch Admin.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:25 pm


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