(And, An Assessment of the Contemporary U.S.)
What if there was an al Qaeda sympathizer in the United States assessing the country. And, recommending which presidential candidate would best serve al Qaeda's supposed chief goal (the destruction of the Posturing Satan)?
Call such a person Al Kada. That report might go like this:
Assessment of the U.S.
The following is based on years of formal and informal education and study. Attention was given to the use, misuse, interpretation and (mis) application of core values, principles, the collective practices and aspirations of "the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Knowledge gathering was been done in consecrated and secular temples. This included churches and synagogues, cults ( hard to distinguish them from religions some times).
And the real religions of shopping malls, bars and night clubs, fast food outlets, museums, sports stadiums and fields, movies, video games, speed dating, freeways and highways, cities, suburbs, gated communities, ghettos and barrios (inner city and small town). The media observed were radio and television (commercial / non commercial, Public Broadcasting System / National Public Radio), newspapers, movies, magazines and the Internet.
These people are, for the most part, neither free nor brave. Oh, they kill efficiently and have some of the best-and most over priced-weapons in the world. Which they use often and well. But, they are so frightened that any "threat"-real or imaged-will quickly send them thousands of miles away to deal death. The collective national behavior is that of a short sighted, rash, over armed, self-centered, impatient and scared bully with bad judgment.
Citizens primary wishes are to be safe, sated and saved (guaranteed eternal life where, evidently, you do none of the things you enjoyed in life). The nation's primary goals are acquiring material goods and prestige.
Any situation where the U.S. does not have an overwhelming clear advantage is a threat. "Threats" can be cultural, economic, political, religious or military.
* Unwillingness of "patriots" to serve in the wars they accept or approve of. Only approximately 0.5 % of the U.S. population currently does military service.
* U.S. citizens basically "support the troops" by saying they support the troops as they ignore:
• Multiple tours of duty done in Iraq and Afghanistan;
[Note: I think the term "troops" has become a verbal tool used to help depersonalize and dehumanize military people who are fighting, being wounded or killed. The official government policy has been to minimize-if not eliminate-media coverage of coffins arriving in the U.S., wounded personnel or the funerals of military people killed in combat.]
• Mental injuries military members suffer indefinitely;
• Some military commands and installations discharge personnel returning from combat zones with PTSD and call it a "pre existing condition." Are poorly evaluated people entering the military or . . . .;
• Military families strained by repeat separations; National Guard members losing jobs, hones and businesses after being federalized and called to active duty (e.g., when hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, most of Louisiana's National Guard was in Iraq);
• The dollar costs of wars(not currently being paid for but left for the children and grandchildren of current tax payers to deal with);
• The rise of an ultra conservative theocracy that intends to increase its influence on politics and secular life;
• A crumbling national infrastructure (bridges, highways, subways, aqueducts, sewage pipes) that needs repair or replacement.
* The U.S. has more military commitments (supporting business interests, political designs and druthers, and a desire to "save," direct, awe and dominate the world, etc.) than it has personnel or weapons systems to work its will and way. In addition, Americans are xenophobic, culturally limited and frightened of other nations' economic strength and ability and military strength (potential, actual, benign or malicious).
[Note: Other peoples and nations share these faults but the actions of the U.S. have a greater effect on the world. Americans believe their own propaganda and see "dangers" and "threats" everywhere.]
* The U.S. has shifted from a producing economy to a consuming economy. While some "third world" nations attempt to raise their living standards by using their natural resources and manufacturing capabilities, many U.S. firms increased their use of "outsourcing" and "off shoring." Other "first world" nations' currencies are sounder and their ability to produce well made and attractive products is, overall, equal or superior to U.S. goods and services.
* Many U.S. companies use and exploit the cheap labor of "undocumented," non unionized, illegal immigrant labor.