(Above: Plaque at the foot of Lady Liberty)
A common theme is apparent to much of the peripheral world. Core (economically advanced) countries are overwhelmingly aggressive in their foreign policy, often using coercion or subterfuge in markets to expand their wealth. To do this, many times they make an enemy for the country’s populace to rally behind. In the U.S. following 9/11, Iraq became the target of this aggression despite the events unfolding in Afghanistan, where an old conflict with the Soviets some 35 years back led the U.S. to fund the Taliban in Pakistan, a collection of young college students who would oppose the order in the Soviet Afghanistan. Among these men was an Osama bin Laden, who operated in tandem with information agencies. A divide between the two led to the eventual rise of Al Qaeda, which to some extent fractured into fringe groups, with a disrupting presence in Iraq and Syria following the Kurdish uprisings.
So…what can we learn from this? We learn that a neoconservative tendency to justify their actions as “goodwill intervention” is a time-tested way to try to rally a nation.
Well, the internet exists and we can talk about this. It’s a rouse. The reasons for invasion are numerous, and liberals, conservatives and independents of all varies political beliefs will typically always have mixed emotions on what exactly that is. What is certain is that major terror attacks in the U.S. supposedly bring us together against a common enemy. For awhile.
The truth is…it has a little to do with our economics. We seem to stop caring the longer any incited conflict advances. That is not circumstance. The reason is that the U.S. citizenry generally lacks any unity. There are major cultural differences across the U.S., all inspired by regional history. However, over the past few decades we have seen that undergo violent transformation into a cultureless market of consumers.
This consumer culture is destroying our social relations. Look at Black Friday news reports. People are literally killed on this day. Over useless things like televisions and toys.
So what is wrong? We are spoiled and valueless. So how do we fix that?
Let’s look at another country. For all intents and purposes I will choose a nation with a pluralistic society and a unified identity. I would say a good one to observe is Brazil. In Brazil, there are a large number of white, European folks of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Natives also live among the general populace (many are also left to their devices, but corruption in government has allowed foreign logging companies to damage their claims). In addition, Africans from the slave trade of colonial times past also call it home, and receive a good deal of equality compared to other countries.
So why is that a thing there and not here? Does Brazil need to tackle a developing Levantian country to coax them into resource trade and global participation? No. Brazil is culturally homogeneous (natives who live apart from society excluded, obviously). They have a mutual understanding of their roles in society. They have a similar outlook with a relationship to food (mama’s home cooking beats a cheeseburger any day). They have similar dress and customs, and celebrate native culture as something important. There is no colonial regret. It is in the past, and now is what matters. It was an unforgivable past, but it’s likely this social trait has more to do with religious inspirations more than anything (inference).
So if much of Brazil would rally against an oppressive government or foreign aggression, why do we Americans always hear awful things like “conservatives should die” or “liberals dont want guns that makes killing them easier”.
What the hell kind of talk is that? Also, why do these polarized peoples BOTH support a federal government they KNOW isnt helping? Just to sate a couple value issues? Republicans say they love Jesus and you have to say you love Jesus too or you’re going to hell. Democrat liberal types absolutely must push things onto these others like transsexuality or homosexuality without ever explaining why or trying to rationalize it through a way the other may understand. In a lot of ways, the so-called “right” do not follow what they preach and the so-called left, tolerant as they are, smart and educated as they are, are too dense to see they have horrible tactics and no sensitivity to differences within their own country.
So I propose a new Enlightenment. We should demand increases to education. We should make religious studies a thing, but not force it on them. Maybe even awaken the old Enlightenment concepts of art, literature and these practices. Right now, the U.S. needs a facelift. If you live in the south and are a proud Christian, take up a brush and easel and make something! It doesnt have to be good. We just need to share in our own experiences. If we were founded on the ideas of democracy and a nation for every man, why is it we do not explore it? We are losing culture to a materialistic, consumer obsession where our items define who we are.
Liberals are right about one thing. White Americans lack culture. It is declining. However, let’s not just say them. Afro-Americans are as well, and popular media can point that out pretty quick. Asian Americans retain a portion if their homelands, mostly due to filial obligations. Latinos are questionably the most enriching and entertaining migrants we get, and they bring life to wherever they go- party, too (seriously, has anyone ever attended the parades in Texas and California on holidays?)!
So why are we blaming others when we all know the issue is with our society and our obsession with “stuff”?
The issue is not a loss of traditional values. If having to respect someone else in a place where we prided ourselves as being a safe haven for all, it would make sense. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to be an ass. In tandem, if you fear “Christian morality” is leaving the nation, I have two things to say:
1. It was never a Christian nation. Tons of evidence exists to suggest Ben Franklin was an atheist, Hancock and Jefferson were Deists (Jefferson was very aware of the Quran, too). Tristram D., early MA senator was a Christian of protestant observance and John Adams even had a copy of gnostic literature in his library!
2. If you’re afraid we need to “crusade for Christ” in the U.S. or lose that identity, and ignore the previous point, I have a bone to pick. Isn’t our faith LITERALLY ALL ABOUT ACCEPTANCE? If it were a Christian nation, we should accept a man for his skin. We should love our wives and cherish them. We should not speak ill of others. All these things are a disgusting warping of the colonial values many European colonists had. A sense of superiority bred by backwards societies who worship Kings before God. Don’t be partisan and obsess over men. Worry about your development as a person. Others will envy you for trying to become a better, more understanding person. Even if they don’t get you at all.
So understand this. Many slaves brought here were Muslim. Some were animist (believes in spirits in nature). Many Europeans who came here were darker and Catholic (Mediterranean). Many were pale and hailed from the Germania parts or the UK. In the 19th, Chinese came to help build our railroads due to a labour shortage. Indians came from India to assist with farm projects following the end of slavery and the massive labour shortages to follow. Our nation required men like M.L. King to bridge a gap. It needed people like Chavez to earn them what the nation claimed to give everyone in the first place.
If we want to fix our own, let’s ask…how has history shaped us and how can we implement our learning into something we can all look at and say, “yeah, we all did that, didn’t we.”
Look to the arts. Don’t let corporations or your government control them. We are better than they are. The farmers, the unemployed, the factoryhands, service workers, industrial workers, musicians, artists, educators…you make it possible. Not the people who employ and direct you.