A DANGEROUS LIVING MYTH
As another election cycle approaches its apex, I continue to be amazed at the self-congratulatory streak that runs through the larger U.S. culture. We pride ourselves on our alleged embrace of such lofty civilizational principles as democracy and fair play; my studies of U.S. history show that, although those principles inform the design of much our legal and societal infrastructure (e.g. our constitution, our court system, etc.), in practice our nation as it exists today is built on something far more complex, and something that has more often than not been far short of lofty.
Even if this is true, you ask, why is this important? Isn’t all well that ends well? Aren’t we still the greatest that’s ever been, and aren’t we the best the world has to offer? Good questions, I respond. I answer that what has come before leads to what we have today. If, as a nation, we have a history built on inequity, oppression, and massive, societal cheating, then our present will be full of the same. If our history is written (and taught) in denial of its negative aspects, then we will be in denial of the negative that happens today.
In my view, that societal denial is responsible for us continuing to sing our own praises, even as our ‘democratically’ elected governments have unleashed their economic, ‘intelligence,’ and military dogs across the globe for the past century or so, spreading death, misery, and poverty (directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly) all in the name of our enrichment. If you are unaware of this phenomenon, then I suggest you Google the following names– making sure to add the words “U.S. involvement” to your entry: Salvador Allende; Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh; Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier; Anastasio Somoza; WTO and World Bank in Bolivia; Fulgencio Batista; and the list is virtually endless, so I’ll stop there.
You don’t need a laundry list of U.S. foreign involvements to know just how wrong our shiny, spotless view of ourselves has been, though. Remember the “Indians”? Remember slavery? Remember Jim Crow? Remember how African-Americans were denied their legal, constitutionally guaranteed voting (and, for that matter, human) rights for over a century after the spilling of ‘white blood’ in the Civil War ostensibly paid White America’s debt to the Negro? Well, if you have trouble remembering those things, then you’ll likely have trouble understanding, or even acknowledging, stories about how Jim Crow made a comeback in the presidential (s)election of 2000, especially in Florida. Furthermore, if you even happen to see a story in the U.S. media about the impending shenanigans that are being set up for the November, 2004 presidential election, then you’ll probably accept the shallow dismissive tone of such a story at face value and move on to the gossip page.
It says a lot about our culture that indepth reporting of our electoral corruption can’t be found in our own corporate media. The following report, which details some of the plans being made for stealing votes (again, mostly black, and again, mostly in Florida) in November, was run in a newspaper in Scotland. Now, I’ve been to a wee corner of Scotland, and it was a beautiful and charming place that I would love to revisit and explore much further. However, I find it shameful that important news about an election in my own country should have to travel all the way from there for me to read it. Anyway, I give you the link. Read, and if you have any sense of decency, feel free to cringe: