Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

Hmm, I appear to be concerned about America today. Or maybe I'm just amused, in some sick way.

Take, for instance, this commentary from Mathew Manweller bigging up the importance of the US election, and the apparent necessity of Bush getting in. What I found "unusual", for a pro-Bush opinion, is twofold:

1. It actually recognises that the rest of the world is looking at the US to see what they'll do next. Unfortunately, he also gets it completely wrong:

If we ... turn out the current occupant of the White House, the message to the world and ourselves will be two-fold. First, we will reject the notion that America can do big things. Once a nation that tamed a frontier, stood down the Nazis and stood upon the moon, we will announce to the world that bringing democracy to the Middle East is too big of a task for us.

Yes, that's right, the rest of us cower in shame because we don't aim high enough and big enough. Which maybe explains why 8 large nations resent American policies. Or maybe it doesn't.

2. It acknowledges an underlying insecurity inherent in American culture:

"Terrorists will know that a steady stream of grisly photos for CNN is all you need to break the will of the American people. Our own self-doubt will take it from there." (My underlining.)

Admission that strong-headed policies are merely to distract the home population from the fear inside themselves? Some might see it that way.

Coupled together, the two facets highlight an important part to understanding what George Bush represents - the fact that America as an "ideology" is about proving itself - not just to others, but to itself.

Of course, I'd be wrong to claim that it is only the US that suffers from such immaturity - I suspect that every nation has some element of this in its culture, and hope that all governments everywhere will some day be able to look at themselves earnestly. But here and now, it is most evident in the States, to the point where you can almost taste it.

Perhaps it's this insecurity that may ultimately put us all in unnecessary danger. But then, perhaps it's also the key to changing the fucked up world we have around us.

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