Ruminations on the crazy people we are, by a retired teacher/musician. Can't get the "requests" out of my system after years of barroom/lounge/restaurant/party gigs mining 100 years worth of the musical mother-lode.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

National Identity(s)

Who are we?

We once were the good guys, no question.(Our history had been full of exceptions to that identification, but our redemption was in our always making the effort, as a whole people, to improve, to overcome the worst in us. And we did.)

But now, who are we.I remember WW2, when images of the enemy were aired about, and though they were somewhat overdone, in essence, they were right.For what they had done to the world, I had no problem seeing Nazis depicted as huns, or Japanese as monkeys. Truth is, they had carried on like bloodthirsty savages and animals. We, on the other hand , were depicted as the saviours of humanity. And, outside of some general staff decisions, our guys, the grunts in the field, were out doing precisely that, saving humanity.

But now, who are we? And when did it happen? Secret government (keeping secrets from the Congress, no less,) rationalizing torture as a national policy, forging ahead with a war based on the fervor of post-9/11 speechifying, creating a political climate full of hate and deception, institutionalizing propaganda as government P.R.

Blame those who created it, and blame those who stood mum while it all happened, because their political habit was never to do anything too risky. I am as mad at the latter as at the former.

Lady Liberty must surely have tears in her eyes. Seriously.

Today's punny:
What is an American?
1) a torturer? ,or
2) a hoagie?, or
3) a sit-back-on-his-ass-have-a-great-time-kindaguy,
who wouldn't know a voting booth from a urinal?
Not so punny; sorry, too pissed-off.

Ruminations for 3.30.06 all done.


At 8:44 PM, Anonymous beavermama said...

Well, I for one am too much of an optimist slash skeptic to agree completely. While our American role in the world may have seemed cleaner and purer in times past, I tend to think that would not have been the case if we had as much access to information as we do now. The CIA was created long before Iraq, and was formed with the idea that we as Americans needed to be able to do sneaky shit without Joe Average knowing about it -- because he couldn't possibly understand. Also, we as a nation avoided any involvement in WW2 until we had no choice but to be the hero (it would not have been in our national interest to have Hitler running all of Europe). Americans have done crappy things in the past, and will continue to in the future. Our government has paid for and sanctioned abominable stuff in the name of national interests all over the world -- this is why we are loathed by so many -- not just in the Middle East. What makes us great is not something that has been lost, but something that has survived time and again, despite the shady deal-making we've done to secure "stability" in places where we had big investments. It's our country's generosity of spirit that exists outside of Washington, DC. THe willingness to put down bullies (like Hitler and Saddam Hussein), even while our "guys" may not know where Iran is or how selfish our government has been in it's meddling over there.
Maybe it's because I grew up, not in the greatest generation, but in the Reagan Era. This too shall pass. And we as Americans will continue to be responsible BOTH for the dirty deals our government is responsible for, and the valiant effort of our citizens to do what's right for the world. Sorry, but like I said, I'm an optimist.


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