History has shown again and again that Americans are right to complain about some of the things our governments does. It is not un-American to note that our country has often suffered through and had to work against the same type American governmental misbehavior and those who work to condemn the tyranny get demonized by government and the press as a rabble of no consequence.
In the Spanish-American War, business sentiment called for a war, the press whipped one up and we went on to slaughter Filipinos, in the name of democracy, yet far worse than their Spanish colonial masters had. Meanwhile US government contractors unscrupulous business' dealing outfitting the war effort led to ten times as many GIs dying from food poisoning due to tins of tainted beef than those that died by a Spanish bullet.
In World War One, Wilson campaigned as a pacifist to get re-elected in 1916, then did an about-face that threw us into a war where huge numbers of righteously indignant Americans openly resisted the draft. So, Wilson made it illegal to speak against the war in any way, which led to outrageous civil liberties oppressions. Afterwords, it was clear bankers and weapons manufacturers had trumped up the war for their own profits. Afterwords, people looked back on this folly and thanked their preferred deity we humans could learn from such mistakes.
And that's just two of the wars we said we'd learn from.
Yet when Iraq came along, the government - with the aid of the press - ginned up some fake story about weapons of mass deception, demonized Saddam so that Americans wanted to wipe Iraq off the map, until we jumped on the bandwagon, just like 1890s rubes. Then, when the whole thing fizzled as it was bound to, we quibbled over which act the underlings did that qualifies as torture and leave the policy-makers alone when they were the ones who made decisions to destroy the lives of millions while consciously selling those decisions to the American public based on lies. Meanwhile, government contractors make billions while building showers so shoddy they electrocute our soldiers. We wind up killing Iraqis at a pace far greater than Saddam and his sons ever managed in their finest rape rooms.
Nowadays, climate change, fiscal regulation, peace in the Middle East and addressing religious violence are all worthy causes and most Americans would in themselves support some interpretations of these issues. But now due to the violence in the Pittsburgh streets so reminiscent of 60s era mayhem, each of those issues now will to some seem unjustly radicalized, suspect, un-American. And that is a mistake on our parts, both our people and our press.
Meanwhile Wall Street is clamoring with excitement over their good news: strong 3rd quarter earnings will once again lead to outrageous executive bonuses for Wall Street, even though their business practices first impoverished the nation. Even though they enjoy their current fortune due to being propped up by the rest of us. So they are expected to spend as much as half of their earnings on compensations and bonuses. This year, Goldman-Sachs alone will have its profit measured in hundreds of billions. And where did they get that money? From the people they foreclosed the homes of.
And this doesn't even address the issues of climate change and ocean acidification. This list doesn't address the efforts of protest groups in Pittsburgh to call attention to China's civil rights abuses. You remember those? Tibet Conquest, Tiananmen Square, Prisoner organ harvesting, Falun Gong religious persecutions? Internet Censorship and governmental spying? The same old stuff we always said we hated. Remember how as children we were taught to always hate the Chinese governments for their inhumanity to their own citizens?
Until those governments became our favored trading partners and bankers. Now the American government turns a blind eye. It's supposedly better for American business.
These concerns were just a fraction of the driving issues that pulled tens of thousands to Pittsburgh last week. All of them now with their reputations tarnished due to the violence of a handful of hateful zealots. As a liberal I must tell my readership how sorry I am to see such behavior in my name and in the name of causes I believe in.
I cannot imagine how shamed some of you must feel following the Sept. 12th rally, which came off like a rightwing hate fest. Surely those folks shown in so many photos with the racist treasonous signs were a miniscule minority among the 50,000-70,000 loyal American activists who converged on Washington to make their love of country known.
Well, I guess it must be hard to defend some of those images your movement is now associated with. I know how it goes. With some behaviors there are no easy answers.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.
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Recently a Democratic candidate for Arizona's new Congressional District 4, Mikel Weisser has been challenging the right and raising a ruckus since the 1980s. Born the son of a nightclub singer, Mikel Weisser watched anti-war hippies getting beaten (more...
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