Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Daniel Patrick Welch: Love, American Style

Love, American Style


By Daniel Patrick Welch
From: http://danielpwelch.com/0311las.htm

Can the Brits feel the love yet? Exporting democracy, it turns out, means more than just showing unfortunate non-westerners the joys of having someone else write a decent constitution for them. We have now advanced to the point where we can tell even the land of the Magna Carta just where they went wrong. Apparently, they are so inept at running their own country that George Bush and his coterie of war criminals need to tell them just how to tailor democracy to American tastes.

The exported version, of course, is frighteningly like the domestic one. Free speech, first of all, is overrated, and is easily abused by misfits, peaceniks, trade unionists and other pesky troublemakers. Might we suggest a few important, um, improvements to make the whole thing run a little more smoothly? Really just a nip here and a tuck there. There you go-a Rolling Exclusion Zone would be nice. That way no one can ever get anywhere near a visiting head of state, even if he dragged your country into war and your people are plenty pissed off about it.

We'd also like you to basically shut down your capital, make our shoot-to-kill snipers exempt from your laws, and never have any negative image occupy the same TV screen (all for security, naturally) as our fearless leader. I guess I can drop the sarcasm now. This has got to be the most repulsive cabal ever to have seized control of the levers of power in US history. While we wait in vain for the fires of their hellish neocon psychosis to burn themselves out, they just keep getting worse and worse.

You would think that in the wake of revelations that the Bliar government begged desperately for Bush's cast of horribles to wait a bit before sinking its teeth into the oil-filled jugular of Iraq, that maybe-just maybe-Lon Cheney, George and crew might tread just a tad more lightly rather than swagger into town, oozing their misplaced and unfounded hubris all over London. You'd be wrong-again.

In fact, we're always wrong. Any vaguely humane assumption that might dampen our revulsion and cynicism is quickly dashed. Every time we indulge a human impulse to give these thugs the benefit of any doubt in any arena, we are reminded that there is no redeeming aspect whatever to this administration. But who's the wiser? Even with irony as rich as Bush and Bliar's mutual jitters about this visit, the only Americans awake enough to notice are the same crowd who noticed when a trillion dollars went missing at the Pentagon. Like I said, troublemakers.

Irony may be dead, but this safety obsession should raise more than a few eyebrows. It should be more than a bit alarming that the American pResident cannot safely visit his only ally in his gargantuan crime against humanity. I remember being within a stone's throw of the Nicaraguan president, surrounded merely by a few bodyguards in the midst of a civil war, and it begs the question of whether people like our good Boy George might be a bit safer if they were not so widely despised. But oh, wait, it's just because "they're jealous of our freedoms." Begging another question: if no one notices it, does irony still exist?

Peter Jennings bookended a recent newscast with two stories that should have made my head explode. Yet, in our new irony-free matrix, I merely shrugged. The lead story told of how the Americans in Iraq were "fighting back," hitting "suspected" insurgent hideouts, and so on. Leaving aside for the moment the thousand year old irony of "counterinsurgency" itself, the news ended with a nod to the Toledo Blade's courageous expose of US atrocities in Vietnam's Song Be valley three decades ago.

I had plenty of time to contemplate how much safer all this is making us as I waited in the ER lounge for a friend who had been shot in the head with a BB gun outside our school (true story). OK, I lied-I couldn't really shrug, with the irony liquefying my brain and leaking out my ears and nostrils. In the name of national security, these war criminals are making our world and our country incalculably more dangerous. Their macho swagger is not just an embarrassment, though it is that as well. Every month these people stay in office sets the cause of peace and security back a couple years.

And in the greatest of ironies, Bliar dreads the visit from his fellow occupier. Maybe Britain, having occupied perhaps more countries than Genghis Khan, should be jittery at the sight of its echo from across the pond. Centuries of brutal imperial terror melt away, and past becomes present. And why not? While they are securing the death of irony, the Bush junta might as well do away with the concept of time itself. Their war of terror in its current phase is desperate to find some wrinkle in time, a wormhole to another dimension where the time worn physics of occupation do not apply.

The string theorists of the Bush regime are wasting their time, aided and abetted by virtually the entire opposition party (notable exceptions Kucinich and Sharpton). Gravity still rules, and all imperial fantasy must needs return to earth. In this light, Bush and Bliar should enjoy their visit, perhaps with a song or two. George can quote from the Latin American resistance his own government spent the better part of the last century trying brutally to suppress: pueden cortar las flores, pero no pueden cortar la primavera. Tony can share songs from his own country's eight hundred year occupation of Ireland: "When the law can keep the blades of grass from growing where they grow/and when the leaves in summertime their verdure dare not show/then I will change the color that I wear in my corbeen/but 'til that day, plase God, I'll stick to wearing of the green."

They can reminisce about how their exports of "democracy" and the "rule of law" have brought smiles to the faces of those they have liberated. If they invited me, I would have shared my favorite anecdote about democracy. Watching late night election returns with a friend a few years back, our minds had all but been numbed into complacency when one candidate conceded with the requisite fought-the-good-fight-but-hey-that's-democracy shtick. My friend clicked of the remote with a snort: "Yeah, right, that's democracy: two virtually indistinguishable "candidates" spending a million dollars to convince as many people as possible that the other wet the bed when he was seven."

As far as the rule of law, Tony can dip again into his endless supply of Irish victims. I'm thinking of The Rebel, by Padraig Pearse: "Did you think to conquer the people? Or that law is stronger than life, or than man's desire to be free? We shall try it out with you-ye that have harried and held, ye that have bullied and bribed-tyrants, hypocrites, liars!" Sit back and enjoy it while you can, boys-there are a lot of songs yet to be written. Can't you just feel the love?

***********

© 2003 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit and link to danielpwelch.com. Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School. A writer, singer, linguist and activist, he has appeared on radio [intervie w available here] and can be available for further interviews. Past articles, translations are available at danielpwelch.com. Links to the website appreciated.

Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian , Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Ukranian links also available: click or visit danielpwelch.com


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...
More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>