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American Exceptionalism: I Can See the Middle East from Here

March 1, 2011

The Arab World is doing what nobody predicted.  That is, of course, if you happen to be foolish enough to believe that there is actually such a thing as the Arab World, a pretty ridiculous description on its face.

jihadIn spite of the many years of frightening warnings from some segments of the media, the so-called Arab World is not planning or threatening Jihad against the Western World, and they are not planning on carrying out massive terror attacks.  They are not rallying under an ideological blanket of extremist Islam, and they are not swearing allegiance to the Taliban or Al Qaeda.  Somebody’s been feeding us a line of crap!  What these people want is a reasonably comfortable way of life and a modicum of something called freedom.

“When governments and the privileged take everything… there is nothing left for the people.    Literally nothing, beyond the predestined summoning of an indestructible will.” – L. A. Walker

The leaders of many sovereign nations in the Middle East and North Africa are facing populist revolts.  Others have already succumbed to public demonstrations and demands for governmental, social and economic change.  Well, it all sounds pretty impressive to me and I am very curious to see what develops given that these people, and these nations, have for so long suffered atrocities and tyranny at the hands of corrupt and twisted totalitarian leadership.  Their rebellions are now toppling their persecutors, not unlike the great American tale.  Exceptional.

wisconsin riotAccording to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:  American exceptionalism refers to the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations. In this view, America’s exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming “the first new nation”,  and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire.  Although the term does not imply superiority, some writers have used it in that sense.  To them, the United States is a “shining city on a hill“, and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.  Exempt?  Really?

power lustIf I have a concern about this definition it is my belief that some of us in this nation believe that they are actually exempt from many things: from Wall Street, to Banking and Housing, to Corporate Special Interests.  If you have wealth and influence in America you can steal and even kill with impunity.  America’s power brokers benefit from the privilege of exception.  This reality is just like an autocrat in a distant banana republic.   Therein lays the problem.  Clearly, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney believe they are exempt from punitive or legal actions stemming from the deaths of countless Afghans and Iraqis, along with the wounding and maiming of tens of thousands and killing of thousands of our American brothers and sisters.  Clearly, many within this nation believe that America was justified in the course of war in Iraq.  They suppose that we were spreading freedom and intent on freeing the Iraqi people although they never asked for our assistance.  So we undertook a ten year war, while at the same time, our nation continues to provide diplomatic, financial and military support to more than a handful of other murderous, cruel and ruthless dictators in other countries in the imaginary Arab World.

I can’t imagine that we are only now (as a result of the many populist revolts) discovering that so many of our so-called allies and global business partners are also brutal and vicious tyrants.  What a shocking revelation!  Some are dressed as and call themselves royalty. Some are costumed as military officers (despots in drag) who continue, with American support, to consolidate their power and victimize their people.

great dictatorAlthough I have been forced to confront such horrors numerous times in my life,  I have always found it deeply troubling when dictators and despots slaughter their own people.   So often it is the case that such sins against humanity come following the most insensitive and blatant exercise of suppression and deprivation.  I have visited the Middle East, Africa and many other areas of this world. I have seen starving people on the streets.  I have been made aware of brutality inflicted on the people by police and government forces.   I am aware of the massive concentrations of wealth and power at the expense of the poor masses of people.  And I have seen the systematic control and victimization of various demographics within populations for religious, racial and cultural reasons.  I have seen the impacts of the propaganda machines and the powerful influences on elections when government rule is a simple tool of manipulation.  I have a clear impression of the deprivation of freedom is.

tyrantYes, the wealthy, privileged and powerful do expect and are provided exceptional treatment.  All of the wrongs that have been suffered by the people of the Middle East and in many other deprived societies around the globe can also be seen on a daily basis right here in the United States.  All we are really talking about is putting a diamond studded collar on the same rabid dog or changing the lipstick color on the same pig.  So where is this shining city on a hill?

What really makes American Society different than any other?  We lie to our own people.  We kill our own people or we send them off to die.  We extort and steal from our own people and we create laws to facilitate the economic and physical demise of our people.  We cultivate the social, intellectual and economic suppression of our citizens.  Currently, we are undergoing the most reckless and sweeping consolidation of wealth and power by the nation’s wealthiest and most privileged families and corporations.  This is a wealth and power grab that is being supported and excused by  a collective legislative Judas as they contrive plans to strike the masses of Americans with additional blows to their dream for a comfortable way of life.  Like the people of the Middle East did for decades, we continue to cheer our leadership.   The political puppets who have long victimized us are continually reelected and held up as role models, as if their representation on our behalf is, or ever was… exceptional.

partnersI think our Congressional Leaders should be required to dress up as tyrants and royal despots before they can enter their hallowed chambers.  They might as well look the part, given the horrors that they continue to rain down on the American people.  What is taking place in America is not so different from what we are seeing around the world.  It is some twisted form of government that is not of or for the people.  It is just simply disgraceful.  Exceptionally disgraceful.

Exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.” I’m glad I did not make that prediction…

Leon A. Walker

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