I recently happened across an article that was originally published in The (Amman) Jordan Times, and was re-posted on C&L under the title Oh, America! The author was unnamed, but in the body of the article he pointed out his background as a journalist in the USA, as follows:
I left England to do my master’s degree in America. I worked on the staff of Martin Luther King. I wrote a foreign policy column for nearly 20 years for a famous American paper and was selected for that role by one of the greatest editors of modern times, an American Jew who told me the day he took me on, at the age of 33, to “write what I wanted, when I wanted”.
He then describes America as he sees it. The entire of the article is quite compelling, and is as able a summary of today’s American “dilemma” as I’ve seen anywhere. The author’s opening salvo reads:
The United States of America has a “culture of ignorance”. Around half of all Americans appear to feel no shame about that being so.
In the south the total probably goes up to around 65 per cent, whereas in the north (and including California), it goes down to 35 per cent.
It is a rough and ready way of putting it, but it is the other 50 per cent who voted for Obama.
Obama-types are less religious, more scientifically orientated, less racist, more pro healthcare for the poor, more aware of the world outside, more convinced that war solves little, and knowledgeable to the extent that they know their immediate neighbour, Canada, does a much better job of making a good life than their country does.
It’s the “culture of ignorance” half that is now pushing for a tougher military response to the menace of Daesh, of pumping up military muscle power vis-à-vis Russia and of persuading itself that more troops in Iraq could sort out what eight years of military occupation did not and could not.
It is this half which tried to sabotage America’s economic recovery after the 2008-9 crash by demanding tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts in social welfare for the poor, and refusing to study or countenance Keynesian uplift economics.
[. . .]
“So I love America. But I also despise America.”
He ends the article by stating what is to my eyes the obvious conclusion:
America teeters on the edge of abandoning reason.
Obama has tried to fight this. He has partly won and partly failed.
Sad to say, it is doubtful that any successor will do better.
The bottom line is that as far as I can recall, I have never run across a more precise and concisely written analysis of this nation’s dark side, the side which presents itself daily as the political movement — the Republican Party — that is born of and supported by our “culture of ignorance.” The devolution of the American politic across the last 35 years is most certainly stunning to those who have dared to pay attention, and the ultimate consequences clearly are of devastating impact to any who are not blinded by ignorance, greed, and/or irrational hatreds.
The sad fact remains that America’s dark side is on full display virtually ever day of every year, and for all the world to see. Just yesterday I took a quick peek at a couple of websites and quickly found this small handful of darknesses attributable to both the “culture of ignorance” and the culture of political corruption which together so often motivate the conservative right side of our political spectrum. Here, in no particular order, are examples of what would be seen, by any sane culture, as pinnacles of nefarious behavior. I’ve included a few pertinent lines from each of the links, lines which serve to clearly demonstrate the ignorance and corruption that is on such wide display all across this nation.
“President Obama is a Muslim. If you’re a Muslim, your god is Satan; if you’re a Muslim, then you are criminally psychotic. This is the plan to destroy the human race. This is something that Allah wants. (T)he only way for Allah to be greater than the God of the Jews and the Christians is to kill every last human being on the face of the earth, that’s the plan of Islam.”
“Ultimately, he [Satan] will enable you to be sexually ensnared and enslaved in a web of perverse bondage and spiritual peril. You will be a slave to Satan and his minions. You will be left empty, broken and destitute. This is where we are…
“We’ve … found a secret memo coming out of the Justice Department. They’re now going to go after 12 new perversions. Things like bestiality, polygamy, having sex with little boys and making that legal” ~ Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
“I’m sorry to say this, but it’s over. Satan has control.”
In a major victory for Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled early Thursday morning along partisan lines to halt the investigation into whether the newest Republican presidential candidate illegally coordinated with right-wing advocacy groups during his 2012 recall campaign.
Saying they want to “prevent the chilling of otherwise protected speech,” the Court’s four conservative justices ordered that the probe be terminated, and that those working on the case “permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation.” They also emphasize that anyone connected with the alleged crime is not longer obligated to cooperate with investigators.
Pastor and radio host Kevin Swanson of Generations with Vision [has] expressed nostalgia for the Pilgrims’ approach to homosexuality, when it was punishable by death.
“A Christian perspective ultimately brought the death penalty upon homosexuality between roughly 350 AD and roughly 1850 or so, for about 1,500 years that form of life had pretty much been eliminated except here and there, it was in the closet, but it was almost unheard of for over 1,000 years, until recently. Of course, now you have a massive, massive increase in this kind of thing.
“I say this is a really bad idea for somebody to stand up against the laws of God. Realize that this is a brave venture, this has been about a 30 year plan, a 40 year plan maybe, to completely consume America with a pro-homosexual agenda, and I just don’t think it’s going to last, I think you are going to see Jesus Christ coming up against this kind of thing . . .”
America has indeed become a nation that is, it seems, far easier to despise than to love. Is it possible to reverse the trend? To reorient the politic? To educate the ignorant? I have my doubts.