American Exceptionalism, Violence, and Racism: Time for some soul-searching…

Image result for american flagWe Americans like to pretend that we’re better than everyone else, and that we need to teach the rest of the world how to behave themselves, but we tend to make fools of ourselves in the process, exposing our hypocrisy to the world, only to become the object of ridicule. We lecture the rest of the world on democracy, when many times our own elections barely reach ten percent of the electorate—as if voting were the only manifestation of democracy in the first place…

Then there are all the guns, and violence, home-grown terrorism, and what-have-you, something we Americans know very well, as our country writes a new chapter daily in the American Book of the Dead. It seemed an abstract squabble over constitutional minutiae among paisanos until the terrorists all of a sudden have become ‘the enemy within’.

Some of these American terrorists are Muslims, true, but Muslims raised as Americans, and—most importantly—with a choice, a clear choice as to whether they want to be fun-loving beer-swilling tail-chasing Americans or fundamentalist Muslims ready to die for that cause. And they’re choosing self-sacrifice. Why? I suspect that there is more than Islam at play here, a general dissatisfaction with the global status quo.  Communists in 1960 had much the same zeal and much the same level of brutality.

First of all, I’d like to state all that not all ‘real’ Americans are so satisfied, either, with the degenerate turn our culture has taken over the last fifty or so years—sex, drugs and EDM—meh (I’m half-joking). But some of us take our philosophic pursuits seriously, and the American obsession of fun fun fun over all else just doesn’t always satisfy, not when we’re driving off the cliffs of over-population, global warming, internecine strife and intellectual decline.

To be an American is to be optimistic, almost to a silly degree, assuming that our ‘American way of life’ will prevail in all situations, and that God, Mom and apple pie will triumph in the end—always. Basically that means one thing—consumer-driven capitalism, i.e. toys. America has accomplished culturally what millennia of biology didn’t: to keep us as babies all our lives, neoteny, dumbing down all the while…

The Golden Age of Capitalism has occurred so rapidly that we can now see profound changes within our own lifetimes that previously would’ve occupied generations, centuries, or even millennia. It has yielded to the lucky recipients an abundance of worldly goods previously unimaginable, and a larger number of those recipients than ever before, also. BUT: not only is that not enough, it may even be counter-productive. It seems we need some challenges to make our lives complete, some trials and travails to give meaning. A migratory lifestyle once provided all that. Now we’re fat—but not happy.

And now we’re likely at the end of an era, maybe not, but likely, and uncertain of where the road leads from here. Terrorism and random violence are just symptoms of the disease we face, not the disease itself. We blame Islamic terrorists and imagine that they are “jealous of our freedoms,” but they’re not. They’re disgusted by them, some of which also disgust me.  Fortunately, it may not be too late, and there may just be a way out, if we’re diligent and diplomatic.  Be patient–and creative. 

(Hint: If you want to stop Muslim terrorism, then listen to what they say: “Stop killing Muslims,” pure if not simple, by hook or crook, by drone or by zone, Peshawar or Gaza. It’ll take some time. Start in Gaza, or all efforts might be wasted. Stop the racist wars, and then we can move on to the real problems of this world—poverty, inequality, and greed) But, if you want to stop American violence, then that’s another issue. Good luck with that.  May God’s love be with you…

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