- "The American Dream has run out of gas. The car
has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams,
its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares
now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam..."
- --J.G. Ballard, British Author
- "No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge
of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the
true duty of patriots."
- --Barbara Ehrenreich
- My date of birth is July 4, 1975. I once told this fact
to an Army recruiter, and he replied that this was a sign from God that
I was meant to serve in the U.S. military. I think that if God were to
speak for Himself, he would differ with that assessment.
- I feel no shame in admitting that I am not a "patriot."
It makes no difference to me what country I was born and raised in, because
my humanity is not defined by my nationality. My American "heritage"
is as meaningless to me as the color of my skin. Why should I take "pride"
in my place of birth and residence? Doing so implies that there is something
undesirable about the rest of the world's citizens. And I have never looked
at a "foreigner" and said to myself, "Thank God I am not
like him or her."
- I can't help but think that my attitude is currently
frowned upon by a majority of U. S. citizens. For the last three years,
nationalism has been relentlessly fomented by the U.S. news media, festering
and metastasizing like the blackest cancer in our very souls. And no matter
what one thinks of the validity of the '04 election results, the fact remains
that a President whose defining characteristic is his stupidity is going
to serve a second term in office. And if the election was stolen (which
it almost certainly was), where is the outrage over the result? Unlike
the Ukraine, where hordes of citizens have marched the freezing streets
in protest of a fraudulent election, Americans seem as indifferent to their
fate as placid cows awaiting slaughter.
- With all of that stated, I repudiate the notion that
I am "anti-American." I don't hate the United States or her citizens,
and I would never deny the enormous benefits and privileges entailed by
the American lifestyle. I am grateful that I have ever experienced hunger,
abject poverty, disease, or torture. But my dispassionate view of my nationality
enables me to honestly recognize the numerous and devastating problems
endemic to my home country.
- I don't the hate the U.S., but increasingly, I feel embarrassed
by and for her. She has become the drunken friend at a party dancing naked
on a table, and you want desperately to cover her nakedness and restore
her dignity. You pity her, yet at the same time, she is pissing you off,
and you're tempted to walk out the door and pretend not to know her.
- I am embarrassed by the image America presents to the
rest of the world. Thanks to 21st century media, nothing that happens here
can be kept secret from the global community. Other nations catch a glimpse
of our culture and our way of life, and God knows they must turn up their
noses in disgust.
- Over the past 3 years, anti-Americanism has ignited like
a global conflagration. Many people blame this on the constant warfare
waged by the Bush administration, but remember that Bush is not the first
President to outrage the international community with his foreign policies
and use of military might. The difference between America in 2004 and,
say, the Vietnam era is that corruption in the Whitehouse is now both expected
and TOLERATED. The world community knows that Americans are indifferent
to the criminality of Bush Co., and hence, any last vestige of respect
they felt towards our culture has been irretrievably lost.
- We accept a criminal in the White House, because our
values and priorities have been twisted beyond all repair. If there can
be one defining word to describe the attitude of 21st century Americans,
it would be "egocentric." Every cultural plague destroying this
country stems from our neurotic and near-total involvement in ourselves.
This should surprise no one, since the guiding principles of our economy
are, "Every man for himself," and "Screw everyone but me,"
and "Win at all costs." These "values" are in display
at the highest levels of corporate power, where CEOs happily pillage the
life-savings of "worker bees" while simultaneously cheating on
their taxes, so they can meet a repugnantly decadent and totally illusory
"standard of living."
- This neurotic self-involvement is reflected in our lifestyle
choices, which generally range from gluttonous to hedonistic. The U.S.
has by far the highest rate of obesity, with 55% of the population classified
as overweight or obese. Paradoxically, we also have by far the highest
incidence of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Of course, this
is to be expected in a country where media perpetuate the illusion that
physical appearance defines a person's value.
- An extreme result of egocentrism is sociopathy, so it
is not surprising that America overwhelmingly leads the world in the production
of sociopathic pathologies. Although the U.S. sports only 3% of the world's
population, it has given birth to 76% of the world's serial killers. We
also have the highest rate of childhood murder and suicide among the world's
26 wealthiest nations. You will never hear these facts on the Fox News
channel or any other government mouthpiece designed to procure mindless
- These sociopathic "values" are presented in
every form of American "entertainment," which has spread across
the globe like the most virulent pandemic. Hollywood films, TV shows, music,
and video games portray murder and mayhem as fun and even admirable behaviors.
American "good guys" no longer need to be GOOD. Quentin Tarantino
and the makers of Grand Theft Auto have made sure of that.
- Let's not forget, the Americans most admired by the global
community tend to be professional athletes. More children in third-world
countries have heard of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods than George Washington
and Abraham Lincoln. And what does the world think when they see the Indiana
Pacers' Ron Artest, a man whose salary exceeds many countries' national
budgets, charging into the stands and swinging his fists at everyone who
looks at him cockeyed?
- This is a country where the people entrusted with protecting
our safety, including our non-elected officials in the Food and Drug Administration,
have sold us out for a fistful of coins and a pat on the head. It's a country
where our government has deliberately dumbed our children down to make
them more pliable and useful for God-knows what evil purpose. But again,
where is the OUTRAGE? U.S. citizens are too busy going to the movies, watching
sports, and planning their next Wal-Mart shopping spree to give a shit
what their government is doing.
- Of course, none of these facts are supposed to matter,
because we live in THE FREEEST NATION IN THE WORLD, where the democratic
process guarantees us personal choice. But when that process is subverted
and irrevocably destroyed by our most trusted and powerful leaders, what
real choice have we been left with?
- And this is the "way of life" that we seek
to impose on the rest of the world?
- Do not underestimate the intelligence of the global community.
They watch and learn and may even know more about us than we do of ourselves.
- I am aware of the microscope my nation is under, and
I am embarrassed. Aren't you?