Saturday, April 12, 2008

Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave

I confess that every time I discover just how closely the rest of the world is watching our presidential election campaigns I am amazed. I really shouldn't be, however. It's clear that the Bush administration has not only screwed up this country, it has screwed up the entire world with it's insane policies. That the rest of the world desparately wants a change in America's direction is not surprising at all. That the rest of the world has diagnosed our illness is also not surprising, even if it is embarrassing as hell.

An op-ed piece by Werner Patels (a Canadian writer) published in the April 11, 2008 edition of France's Agora Vox is clearly a paean to Barack Obama, but Mr. Patels also puts forth an analysis that is, at least for the most part, the right explanation of why this nation is as it is at this point in history.

Since 2001, Bush has seen dark and menacing figures lurking behind every tree. They do exist, but their numbers and threat have been morbidly exaggerated by the Bush administration - to the point where the whole administration sees anyone who enters the United States, particularly from Canada, as a potential terrorist - so much, in fact, that it is hard to find any conservative pundit or commentator in the US who does not slag off Canada on a regular basis. This obsessive view of the outside, non-American, world, has also been reflected in the raising of more and more barriers to trade and business. Eventually, this will hurt America more than anyone else.

Osama bin Laden did say that it was his goal to ruin the United States financially, and so far his campaign has been quite successful. In a way, it has been a psychological war, masterfully executed by bin Laden and his group. As anyone knows, fear can consume a person to the extent that he or she commits suicide. Countries are no different. Despite its show of power and might, America has become a scared little child that is being consumed by its fears - real or perceived. The way America has been closing off its border to trade and immigration from Canada is similar to locking yourself into the basement to prevent the bogeyman from coming after you. The only trouble is that, by locking yourself in like that, you are also shutting yourself off from the rest of the world, and your supplies will only last for so long. Stay down there long enough, and you will go crazy and probably kill yourself.

In most cases, the shut-in will not even have to commit suicide. Just lock someone who suffers from arachnophobia into a dark basement and tell him that he is surrounded by spiders. Leave him in there overnight and chances are that, by morning, he will have died from his fear. ...

The United States has not suffered an actual heart attack induced by fear, but a financial one. Because of his Osamaphobia, Bush has bled the federal coffers dry, leaving the next few generations of Americans saddled with a major debt. What is more, it could get even worse if Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney prevail and somehow manage to start yet another war - this time, in Iran.

I disagree with Mr. Patels' suggestion that President Bush himself suffers from Osamaphobia. If that were the case, Osama bin Laden would have been captured and/or killed by this time. No, Osama became the useful metaphor used cynically to accomplish what Bush and his minions wanted accomplished: a populace so frightened that it would willingly allow for a unitary president, the shredding of the US Constitution, and the enrichment of the war profiteers and oil companies.

And, to our great shame, for nearly eight years it has worked.

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Anonymous Karen said...

I was enjoying your countdown to freedom from Bush. Can you bring it back?

2:16 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Gee, since you asked so nicely, sure:

283 days.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous thatmichaelguy said...

Living in Seattle I hear from Canadians now and then. I'd like to hear more from them and this was a perfect place to start a dialogue

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Moving to Nova Scotia said...

It is very true what you say about the bad guys lurking behind every tree & using fear as a way to control the population. Until recently I lived in the UK and it was similar - but not quite so bad thankfully. The 'bad guys' ruin it for everyone and, if they were such bad guys why would they still be at large as you say. It does seem strange in these days of looming global disaster from the environment why there isn't more research into fuel cell vehicles where the only 'pollutant' is water! Maybe there is so much money tied up in the oil business that those in charge don't want us to be able to get rid of our reliance on fossil fuels........?

10:05 AM  
Blogger Toast said...

In his novel Russian Spring, Norman Spinrad writes of a United States in the early 21st century that has drawn in upon itself, voluntarily cutting off from the rest of the world, bristling with weapons, economically destitute, and terrified of its own shadow. Spinrad wrote about this country, which he brilliantly dubbed "Battlestar America", in the context of the Cold War, so he didn't see the cause of America's downward spiral coming. Sure did nail the symptoms though.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous elbrucce said...

One of the most revealing paradoxes of the whole war on terra is how the ones most loudly proclaiming "We shall not be ruled by fear" in the days immediately following 9/11 are those who have most ruthlessly propagated fear ever since.

3:40 PM  

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