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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/1/14

The Image That America Projects To The World: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

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Message Michael Payne

America's image in the world has been in a steady decline ever since the U.S. government's attack on Iraq and the subsequent launching of the War on Terror. Numerous world polls indicate that even European countries have lost a great deal of respect for the U.S. And most damaging of all is a growing world opinion that America has become an aggressor nation.


America's two distinctly different faces, or what might be called it dual personality, is reminiscent of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel of the 1880's, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in which a well-respected doctor is transformed into the cruel, remorseless Mr. Hyde.


Dr. Henry Jekyll was a well-respected physician in Scotland, a seemingly very normal person but one who, unbeknownst to his patients, friends and acquaintances, was struggling with a condition involving dual personalities; he was battling between the good and evil within himself. 


Jekyll, in trying to suppress the evil urges within him created a serum, or potion, that he thought would alleviate the condition. However, it did not work as planned and, in fact, gave birth to the violent Mr. Hyde. What follows is a constant struggle when one or the other personalities emerge in given situations. In the end, as the potion becomes less and less effective, Hyde grows in power and Jekyll realizes that he will become Hyde forever.


We might think of the U.S. government of decades ago as the respected and distinguished Dr. Jekyll. At some point, somewhere in the early 1960's, the U.S. government began to develop an overly aggressive persona that clashed with its previous relatively peaceful state. At that time, unbeknownst to many Americans, a struggle was being waged between these two elements of the government; as we now know, those who possessed the war mentality won out and thereafter dictated this nation's policies and actions that led to a long succession of wars and military actions and the building of a military empire.


This Hyde war mentality does strange things to the minds of many of those who run this country's machinery of war. They have convinced themselves that all the wars since World War II that they have initiated are all entirely justified. But they could not be more wrong because in no way can they even begin to try to justify the wars against Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan in the same way as the war against the Axis Powers -- unquestionably the last honorable war in which America was involved.


Jekyll is illustrative of that side of America that created the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Social Security and Medicare; that gave women the right to vote, and passed the Civil Rights Act; the America that led the world to victory in World War II, put a man on the moon and created the internet.


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