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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:28 PM
Original message
American Arrogance
This is something that I see evident in everyday life when talking politics and even here on DU occasionally. What I am talking about is the almost instinctive belief in American Superiority. Now I am not saying other countries have the same phenomenon, however, I can only speak of the US. It is not only the attitude displayed by most Americans against foreigners, but also presumptions about their own culture.

What is American culture? That is a question that confounds me, for I have no clue. Many would say it is the Flag, Mom, and Apple Pie, but with the exception of the flag, the other two obviously did not originate here. We co-opted those as icons, as are most of our icons and holidays, our very national identity is basically not grounded here, but in other nations.

A nation without foundation, we are young as nations go, and it seems to me we are either going through the terrible twos or the rebellious teenage years. Our claim to greatness is that we are a nation of immigrants, that hates them and their influences on our "culture". I am sure that if a poll was conducted today somewhere are 60 to 70% of people would say that democracy was founded here first and not in Greece.

It is a willful ignorance of our own history and the realization that we have so little of it, that, I believe, leads to extremes in our politics that, while not unique, are rare. American Nationalism is founded on principles that most Americans actually hate or fear, and that scares me. Think of the Gay Marriage debate, and the adherence to tradition that so many have latched on to. That "tradition" only exists in particular sects in the nation, conservative protestants primarily.

Americans make up for the lack in cultural identity by manifesting national pride in the mythical "American Way of Life". This includes, extreme religiousness, rejection of other points of view, either from outside our borders or within, a willful ignorance of what it means to be human, and above all else, materialism.

Patriotism is the religion of most citizens of the nation, a mixture of God, and the Holy documents of the Bible and Constitution. Many reject the notion that later non-Anglo immigrants had any influence on the nation, with maybe the exception of Latinos and African-Americans. As with any religion American Nationalism has its Saints and Sinners, the Founding Fathers as we call them, and with any religion, their writings are interpreted in many ways, sometimes straying far from the original meanings. The Religion of the US has changed meaning from Manifest Destiny, to now the myth of being the natural "leader" of the world.

This superiority did not exist in a vacuum, but was almost natural in the evolution of the nation. After the Revolution, the Young United States founded itself as a populace nation with few enemies to threaten it initially, and a strong ally. Within a century of its founding, the nation swept across the continent, content in its own superiority, and why not, only a few scattered tribes of Natives to worry about? Soon enough the continent was won, through bloodshed, and as such it instilled in Americans the idea that we are superior and shall one day inherit the Earth from the old empires.

Just a few observations, and if any Americans feel offended, sorry, I am one, and we should be our sharpest critics.
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eissa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. I understand the basics of what you're saying
I can't help getting worked up when a rw co-worker asks, in a very patronizing way, why "those people" (in this case, the Iraqis) can't just unite instead of being split along religious lines. In other words, why can't everyone just fall into place under our command. And the deliberate whitewashing or denial that there is any kind of split in our own country.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
73. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
91. Because the United States has never fought
a war over religion and religious expression on its own soil. Until they do, rwers will always 'armchair quarterback' on this issue.
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Resistance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think Mike Ruppert said ...
(of From the Wilderness, an excellent newsletter)

America is like a dysfunctional family, where the Dad is molesting the daughter and everyone knows it but doesn't say anything for fear of disrupting the image of 'family'.

I didn't say it as well as Mike did but you get the idea.
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_Jumper_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good post
Many Americans are also under the false impression that America is the only truly free country in the world. Perhaps "the free one" should be the name of America, not a US government-run channel in the Middle East.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. That is classic, and also not even recent.
America is the freest country in the world is a popular sentiment. I find it ironic, because the definition that most Americans have of freedom differs from that of the rest of the democratic world. It is more about landowner rights, and the right to protect yourself from "others" and also the right to be powerful. No human rights, but rights to domination and materialism. To be free of want, but not of need, that is the schizophrenic psyche of America.
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I Thaumaturgist Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. Americans aren't arrogant.
Any more than Russians were evil monsters. Most Americans are decent people that want to get along. The arrogance is at the top. It is learned over time as the elected leaders begin to feel that they know better than any one else.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Not consciously no...
That is the point, they are indoctrinated in this presumption of superiority, that it is like breathing for many of them. They are mostly not aware of it themselves, that is partly why the "Ugly American" is a popular persona abroad.
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Eureka Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. I hope I'm not intruding...
because I'm not American, however...

I agree with both of you. I have travelled extensively through the US, worked for a US company, met heaps of US citizens over here, and enjoyed each of those things greatly. I don't see individual americans as arrogant per se. But, there does seem to be a 'cultural arrogance' going on. My 'favourite' is when the US president is referred to as "leader of the free world", especially since bush* stole the white house. No leader there, especially of 'the free world'. And with that patriot act, well there goes the freedom bit too.

The statement itself seems to imply that the rest of us simply tag along (ok, so it's true with my govt sadly) and that america is somehow the ultimate example of how to be free. Sorry, but it makes me see red and shout "get fucked" very loudly.

America has a lot to be proud of though, so do Americans themselves.

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maggrwaggr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I disagree. I think most Americans are isolated
and they don't travel enough to have a view of the world that is remotely realistic.

Part of that is geographic, certainly, but a lot of it has to do with the media as well.

And fear on their part.

It's mainly about education.

And it's gotten much much worse lately with the likes of Fox News giving them their "window to the world"
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. That Isolation has lasted for 200+ years.
It is an integral part of the culture, and it is geographic, the US has never in its entire history, with the exception of 1812, been in danger of being conquered by a foreign power. They attribute that to their own strength, rather than the accident of geography, its a character flaw in many American minds. We had no serious competition until WW2 and after.
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mhr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #7
35. Less Than 7% Of Americans Have Ever Held A Passport
Read this somewhere last year.

If true, then this is indicative of the isolationist views many Americans have.

It is pretty easy to be snobbish when you have never been exposed to the greater globe.
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_Jumper_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #35
51. I've seen that figure several times
I bet 80% of that 7% are either liberals or economic conservatives that couldn't care less about Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan.
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OldGreyHippie Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
23. Unfortunately we appear arrogant
Very good point. I think it also extends to a lot of unfair generalizations (IE: All Middle Easterners are suicide bombers). The fact is the majority of people world wide pretty much spend their days trying to earn a living and send their kids to school and get on with their lives. One other observation, I wonder how much of the rest of the world is looking at the US as an "Evil Empire".
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_Jumper_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #23
52. "evil empire"
Imagine if the outcry in the US if the USSR ever did the things Shrub has done.
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #23
65. Hi OldGreyHippie!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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beanball Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
25. Americans
most of us are not arrogant its the pricks we elect to office.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. Look at polls about gay marriage
These people have no inkling as to what true freedom is, and that is shocking. There are other examples of the general ignorance of Americans but let me put it this way. A person can be smart, but in groups, they stoop to a level of stupidity that even rats envy.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #27
76. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #25
36. And we didn't even elect the *prick* who is currently in charge of us
:argh:
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maveric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
6. American superiority = Hate and Intolerance
Flame me all to hell if you wish but that seems to be what it equates to. The arrogant WASP culture is waging war against all those who are not from their nest. People are hated for their color, creed and ethnic backgrounds. They wave the flag and pound the bible and tell everyone who doesn't that they are unamerican and will burn in hell. That is more than arrogance. That is hateful grandiose at its worst and it will eventually be the downfall of all "american culture". Our nation and culture will perish like nazi germany and imperial rome unless we as americans modify our attitudes and come down from our ivory towers.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
8. Just think of the US as a stern father with many, many children

The children are America's properties around the globe, or as the terrorists call them, "other countries."

If the children do as they are told, and are careful to always put their Father first, they may be rewarded with privileges, like a limited amount of Father-approved autonomy, or even the privilege of defending themselves from their siblings.

When the children disobey, or put their own selfish interests above Father's, they must be punished. Some very naughty children try to get out of their punishment, and they must be punished more severely.

After an especially severe punishment, the naughty child's toys are taken away, and its privileges revoked, and Father keeps his all-seeing eye on the recalcitrant one, to ensure obedience.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I think the better analogy would be...
Think of America in the house, he just turned 17 and just found his dad's (UK) Machine gun. Exalted in the power of the weapon, he looks at all of his various cousins, and grandparents, even his parents, with suspicion. He's holding them all (the world) hostage, and if any step out of line, he shoots them without remorse. I believe that is a better analogy.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. Yours is indeed much better. Mine is just a capsule view of how

the majority of the US voting class sees it, although it is so deeply ingrained, many don't even realize it.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. True, many Americans view the nation as some type of...
benevolent Father figure, a god if you will. Never mind the fact that we are one of the younger nations in the world.
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michael_j_martin Donating Member (25 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
13. American Arrogance
My father used to say that the only country he would want to live in was America. This was from a man that had been in two countries, Viet Nam and America. He has since been to most of Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan. He still loves his home, but his eyes are now open.

This is the problem that most Americans have. We live in a huge country, where 80% of the population will live and die in their home state. The arrogance of Americans is a mixture of pride and lack of worldly experience. Unfortunately most of us are fed a steady diet of red, white and blue propaganda every day and don't go searching for the truth. But why should we take the initiative to expand our horizons when most people are happy with McDonald's, American Idol and sports television? Comfort breeds complacency. Nowhere is that more evident than our own country.

So my point is, what do you expect from a country of couch potatoes that didn't pay attention to the first 12 years of a mediocre education? Americans are arrogant because they don't know any better and aren't that interested in putting forth effort to learn the difference.

If any Americans feel offended by what I've said, I suggest looking around and trying to find evidence to the contrary.
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #13
66. Hi michael_j_martin!!
welcome to DU!! :toast:
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patricia92243 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:11 PM
Response to Original message
14. Most people think their part of the world is the best. And Americans are
not arrogent - Bush makes us all look like a swaggering fool to the rest of the world - but is not the case for the American people.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I would disagree.
As I stated above, Americans, at least a good percentage, actually believe they are better than everybody else. Its not so much the love of a place, but the need to adhere to Patriotism as a supplement to their worldview, anything that challenges that worldview causes them to cling tighter to their beliefs. It is arrogance, but most Americans honestly do not mean to come out that way. How many times have Americans you know put on a patronizing tone if talking about other nations? Or have a lack of respect for culture? Intellectualism?
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. So does everyone else in the world
Edited on Wed Mar-10-04 08:24 PM by Columbia
"...actually believe they are better than everybody else."

What's your point?
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I am not saying that we are Unique.
I doubt that the basis for most cultures are that they are innately superior to everyone else. Some yes of course, but is it to the extent of the United States, as a national identity? Remember I do not speak of other nations because I have little experience with them, as is true for most Americans. Yet I sense something profoundly wrong, as if sanity has fled from the citizenry. It disturbs me, why not you?
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Every nation is unique, but arrogance is natural and universal
Edited on Wed Mar-10-04 08:45 PM by Columbia
Most of the citizens of a nation will tell you that theirs is the best in the world. I've seen this attitude from Canada to Iraq. The United States is no different. We are only perceived to be different because of our power and influence in the world. Don't think for a second that other countries would work towards anything but their own self-interest if they had the same level of power.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Our arrogance manifests itself very strongly.
For example, I see Canadians and those of other countries make light on peculiarities of their nations. I have never seen that anywhere about America except on this board. Americans do not make fun of the Nation as a whole, it is rare. Most Americans are Nationalists, they just don't think about it much.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
32. So what?
I'm not sure if I share the same observation as you that Americans as a whole take themselves more seriously than any other nation's citizens do. I'm sure a case could be made either way. I don't really think it is a big deal either way either. I recall a lot of Canadians outraged when Conan O'Brien went to Toronto and some Quebec citizens were made the brunt of a joke skit. They didn't take too kindly to that.

"Most Americans are Nationalists, they just don't think about it much."

Again, that is something you could say in general about any nation.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Of minorities in nations, yes there are nationalists.
But here it is accepted practice. Some nations are even anti-nationalist. Memory serves of a time when students in Tokyo ripped the National Flag down in a protest at the surge in nationalism that they felt permeated the government. At the time I thought it unusual that there would be a protest against patriotism at all, now I understand. Americans seem to overcompensate in the patriotism they feel, accusations of being "Un-American" are rampant here, even on DU some would say that freepers are un-american. That behavior is sympomantic of the US as a whole, and is almost unique in intensity, compared to the rest of the world.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. Perhaps
I agree with you in part. Things like the naming of the "Patriot" Act anger me. As does "Freedom" Fries. However, I think a large part of this comes from simply being defensive as other countries have attacked this nation's principles over the years. People celebrating in the streets after 9/11 don't make Americans want to be more tolerant of other nations either. Although, this country does have some serious foreign policy issues, there is still a lot to be proud of and I don't see anything wrong with that.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Question, what principle have been attacked?
Also those people dancing in the streets are a small minority. Yet if Americans would have opened their eyes after 9/11 and saw the outpouring of compassion and sympathy, then perhaps they can let go of childish things. I remember a picture of flowers set at I believe the Munich embassy, and it had minature American Flags and small messages of sympathy written down, addressed to us. But the thing that most stood out, in my mind, was the ribbons lining the effigy, they stated simply "God Bless the World". That is the difference between us and them, they had victims in those towers too. Hell most Americans don't even know that. We were too busy working up to a Nationalistic hatred of Afganistan, singing, "God Bless, America" etc. Yet they realized that it is ultimately a human problem, beyond nations, and yet Americans are too blinded by our own pride to see beyond the Red, White, and Blue. I find that sad.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Ok, more politics than principles (see I/PA for more)
However, I don't think Americans are so immune from empathy and I don't see it wrong to mourn when your nation has been dealt a grievous blow either.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #40
44. Oh I agree with the second part.
However, one thing that seems to be one of our traits is short-term memory, most people in this country quickly forgot the outpouring of sympathy the world had towards us. And how Bush attempted to abuse it and squandered it. Also there is a difference between mourning and hatred.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. I agree with the second part of yours as well.
Regarding Bush.
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Voltaire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. On balance
If you looked at the history of the United States in its totality, there is less there to be proud of than one might think. The proof, as they say, is in the history books if you only know the correct ones to read.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #39
43. As is with other countries
The wrongs of the past are just that, the wrongs of the past. Learning from them and never making them again is key.

As for history books, they all give their own slant and bias in one way or another. I think a lot of the grievances brought up in history books critical of the US contextualize much on modern worldview and moral code versus those in the past. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20 and I'm sure that people 100 years from now people will condemn many actions we take today that seem right to us as a majority, but not to them.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Actually the writings of the founding fathers give them away.
At the time when they were talking about the innate dignity of man, and of freedom, equality and all those enlightenment ideals, George Washington was in the process of slaughtering men, women, and children of the Iroquois, to punish them for siding with the British during the war.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. The genocide of Native Americans is horrendous
But is nowhere near novel only to the United States.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #48
54. True, I do not dispute that
I am not "blaming America first" I am just pointing out what I view as idiosyncracies of our culture that are usually not seen in industrialised societies, nor have they been seen since in those countries since WW2. To recognize flaws means we can educate about them and ultimately fix them. Many of the changes we must make to survive as a nation involve our culture and way of life. You must go to the driving forces of these problems and find ways to change them. That is my goal.

Another note, and this is purely personal to me: I do not understand patriotism. It makes no sense to me to have pride without accomplishment, and being a citizen for me was not an accomplishment, it was my parents doing, not mine. Unless I influence an action or act on it myself, I see no reason to claim pride in the accomplishments of my forebears or of contemporaries I do not know. Nor do I believe in collective shame, if I had no influence over events, and infact tried to stop them through words or actions, then I should not be ashamed for the actions of others that I had no control over. That includes our history, I will point out flaws, so we may learn from them, teach them to children, so that false pride, and nationalism will not cause bloodshed again. I try as best I can to influence events, and won't give up. In other words, I am neither Proud to be American, nor Ashamed of it either. I simply am American by chance.
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #54
56. I see Americans as zombies who have been drugged by corporations
and their own government. Our 400 years of racial holocaust and entitlement mentality has been inflamed and exploited to Nazi proportions with a comparable body count. We are living in the birth of the Fourth Reich.

I sense you are trying to write in a gentle and politic voice. I agree with you generally but am much more alarmed and think the problem is much much much worse than you portray it.

See my post #42.
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #48
55. Combine it with 350 years of slavery and apartheid and that's 'special.'
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #55
71. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #71
78. Well, that's an argument that has changed my mind! Never mind...n/t
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dpibel Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 04:20 AM
Response to Reply #37
60. Pot/Kettle
I remember shots of American youngsters cheering in the streets as the first bombs dropped on Iraq in BushWarI. Any different?

Other countries have attacked this nation's principles? What does that even mean? Is that like the French attacking this nation's principles by refusing to rubber stamp the Fierce Warrior Chieftain's Iraq adventure?

Americans are right to be defensive because other countries say bad things (attack principles)? What about the country which declares that it owns the one true way of economic organization and doesn't merely attack other nation's principles, but attacks other nations.

To me, you're sort of exemplifying the topic: We are America, embattled on all sides by principle-attackers, yet we stand brave and proud.

It's just possible that some of the people, inside and outside this country, who question the bona fides of the US actually have valid points. But Americans don't want to hear that.

"My Country Right of Wrong," "America, Love it or Leave It," and "the American way of life is not negotiable" (first two, bumper stickers; last, G. Bush the Elder) pretty much exemplify the American creed. And it is nationalistic. It is jingoistic. And it's not inspired by some threat from outside. It's what we're taught from the cradle.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #16
61. there a difference between being proud of where you'r from,
and thinking that it is an actual fact that your particular nation is indeed, for instance, the most free nation (and thus literally "the best") in the world, while you'r not all that well informed about how things are elsewhere in the world.

I thought for a long time that this US freedom thing was just an expression of american pride about being american - no harm done. Untill i started noticing that many americans take it litterally, that is to say that they think even western european nations are in fact far less free then the US. Amongst the very little evidence that is presented is the US constitution.
Then i point out that the constitutions of western nations are in essence very much like the US constitution. Many seem surprised to hear that other nations even do have a constitution.
Then they point out that european nations are socialist, which supposedly is more or less the same as Stalin's version of communism. In reality Eu nations are at worst (or at best, depending on how you look at it), social democracies where capitalism is the dominating economic force. It's just that Eu is slightly less no-bars-hold capitalistic (slightly less RW) then the US - but that hardly constitutes socialism let alone Stalinist communism.

And then there's the fact that most americans do not ever see any foreign media.
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noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
17. i agree 100%...it's the dominant cultural paradigm
most prevalent in the dominant culture, but it also exists in every sub-culture. i notice this especially when i see other americans abroad. and i agree with you, america is not like the stern father, but more like a wayward teen. drunk on power and arrogance, and armed to the teeth.
and of course it's cultural and not about individuals per se. there are lots of great people in america...a lot of them also think america is the rightful center of the universe.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. You hit the nail on the head.
I was speaking of the culture, and it is beyond Bush, he is simply one who was raised in the greater culture that is taught in school. We have a fanaticism in our cultural consciousness that I am disturbed by. It is easy to imagine an orwellian method to creep in, that of "Hate Week".
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achtung_circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
26. As a Canadian I have a perspective that I hope won't be seen as
complacent.
In 1991 my brother in law married a girl in Iowa. We went down for the wedding. The girl's father asked me "do you have Chinese food restaurants in Canada?" The girl's mother told me that just because I didn't recognize a certain food didn't mean it wasn't Chinese. She was talking about Szechuan. It's hard to get stereotypes out of my mind when they are reinforced by real people.
I'm not saying that I'm the most cosmopolitan person around, but I would never have said anything like that.
There used to be a segment on "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" called "talking to Americans". Reporter Rick Mercer would take his camera and microphone around the States, ask people stupid questions and get stupid answers. It was kind of nasty, but where else would you have heard a Harvard Professor congratulating a country on getting it's first paved road.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, i guess I just get frustrated that such a vibrant part of the world seems to willfully close it's collective eyes to what is going on outside their oasis.
I have to stop prowling around FR, too. The disdain expressed there for "furriners" makes me ill and gives me a warped view of a country that, at least on an individual basis, is mostly full of nice people.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. No not complacent, I remember going to Cancun Mexico
Edited on Wed Mar-10-04 09:11 PM by Solon
I was always the outsider so to speak, the observer of the group. Anyways, it was Senior Trip and it was on the beautiful white beaches, etc. etc. What I found most profound is the lack of interaction that our group had with the people who lived in Cancun. They would ask the dumbest questions, and would get upset if unaccented "American" as they put it was not spoken. The exception was the Spanish class, they had a blast, all 6 of them, out of 50. How many nations actually try to forget the roots of their language so blatantly. Do Canadians lambast over the Americans butchering the "Canadian" language. Remember there is no suffixe -English in the descriptions.
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achtung_circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. For some reason there is no generally accepted "Canadian" accent.
With the exception of the Irish based Newfoundland accent everyone else believes that they speak accentless English. Nonsense of course.
The States is big enough, or diverse enough, to have regional accents all over the landscape (so to speak). I have fantasisied about putting someone from a Maine fishing village and someone from a Louisianna bayou in the same room just to see if they could understand each other.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. That would be a funny experiment, curious myself.
What I meant was that Anglo-Canadians do not call the English they speak Canadian, but here in the States, I don't know how many times people bitch and moan about those "damn furriners" not speaking "American" properly.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #26
59. I agree...
just 11 years ago, my school established a partnership with a school in North Carolina, so that students could become penpals. (I'm in Costa Rica)

And well, most of the questions we got from those kids were things like "do you have electricity?"... "do you know what a TV is?"... it was insulting!
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eissa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #59
63. Oh, that is exactly like an experience my mom had!
When she first arrived here from Iraq in the 60s she got a job at the local almond factory. The women there were just fascinated by this foreigner and would ask the most ridiculous questions, including "do you have electricity?" and "do you know what a TV is?", etc. One day, finally fed up with these retards, mom brought in a copy of an old entertainment magazine from back home. On the cover was a photo of a man and woman on the floor kissing (scene from a popular Egyptian movie at the time). The response from one woman: "Will you look at that...they don't even have beds!!" AAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #63
77. Deleted message
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silverpatronus Donating Member (520 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #59
68. did you ever get...
do you live in a house or a tree? do you have cars? what do you mean your money's different colours? do you know what the internet is?

i agree that some americans can be downright insulting to people from other countries. the outside perception of american insularity doesn't come from nowhere. americans are statistically proven to travel less outside of their borders than citizens of other countries, and also to know less about world affairs than citizens of other countries. i will try to look up the actual statistics and post them here...i don't like to make statements without backup.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:50 AM
Response to Reply #59
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #26
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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:04 PM
Response to Original message
28. Fish can't see the water they swim in.
:smoke:
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Crachet2004 Donating Member (725 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
30. There is hope for America, and there have been many bright spots in our
history. We are not perfect, by any means. I think the fluke of history, that we have been the only superpower since the fall of the Soviet Union, has not necessarily been good for this nation. Or the world. Our corporations and their military bodyguards need reigned in.

There needs to be balance. Absolute power corrupts. But new powerblocs are forming and balance will soon be restored.

And I have faith in the American people. Look how quickly they have been turning, on the war in Iraq...then think how long that took with Vietnam. Connectivity has gone a long way towards easing the parochialism that comes of isolation. And this trend will increase in the future. There is a great education to be had, online.

And while I don't think most Americans particularly want to lead the world, along with the other western democracies, we do. Most people feel like it is a duty, more than a 'destiny'. And of course, that may be called presumption by some. But even the outgoing Chinese Communist Party leader told a meeting of the Party (more or less), there was no sense swimming against the "Tide of History"

We are materialistic and have some religious nuts. But so are all the western democracies materialistic, and the world is full of religious nuts...on this, we have no monopoly.

And I think all nations are proud of their culture and feel at least a little superior to others, at least in some ways. Some of it is justifiable, some of it is not, in our case as well as others.

And as to our veneration of the Constitution, I at least, am glad of that! It is our final defense against oppression, and no tyrant will long prevail, as long as we have it.
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #30
42. Your faith in Americans is hopeful but they are clueless and misled.
Edited on Wed Mar-10-04 11:19 PM by JohnOneillsMemory
I appreciate your noble optomism but the facts are against you. And in case anyone thinks I'm a scorning elitist out to alienate people, understand that my view is that Americans are raised on lies from birth and indoctrinated 24/7 to maintain the lie matrix. In other words, "forgive them, they know not what they do."

Americans don't know what the Bill of Rights is or why it is an important protection against tyranny.

They don't know history, geography, civics, or science.

Around 50% still think Bush* is trustworthy! They have been raised to believe that they:
1) live in a democracy
2) compete in free markets
3) share equal opportunity for all
4) see their government spreading democracy and protecting the innocent around the world.
5) inherited the status of Best in Show among humans in 1776, 1945, 1991 and 2003 by winning the Revolutionary War, WWII, Iraq I and Iraq II.

These are all lies.
I call this Superman Jesus in a Cowboy Hat Syndrome.

This is why Ronald Reagan fit this movie-role-as-national-identity so perfectly for so many Americans who didn't know he was just another terrorist who starved his people and looked good on television.

This is how Americans were led down the path to Master Race indentity:

Ever since the US lost the Vietnam War, the social atmosphere has been very similar to post-WWI Germany. The hyper-nationalistic German people were told in the Summer of 1918 that they were winning the war. But in the Fall, they were told that they had lost and the victorious Allies economically raped them. They were stunned and angry. They looked around to find who among them had betrayed them and robbed them of their much-deserved victory over their inferiors.

The same thing happened in the US after Nixon was disgraced and the Vietnam War was revealed to be a quagmire of atrocities which had also ruined the economy. The Republicans have cleverly exploited this atmosphere, along with the Religious Right, for the last thirty years to bring us to where we are today, mired in the Culture War of blaming liberals, feminists, blacks, homosexuals, and dangerous Middle Eastern foreigners, pretty much the same targets as the Nazis. Ever wonder how 'liberal' became a swear word? Now you know.

In fact, there is a name for this late 20th century fascist movement:
Dominionism. It is an alliance between Christian Fundamentalists, Cold Warrior Fascists, and the Military Industrial Oil Complex, just like the Nazis.

And since I'm proselytizing this all over du, here's my synopsis on Dominionism again:

Religion is the biggest arrow in the quiver of the Culture War to hijack control of the biggest weapon on the planet, the US government. Television is a close second for filling the collective American mind with manipulative fearmongering. Combined, they are a 24/7 Nuremberg rally of adrenalin and endorphins, a daily drip of red-white-and-blue indoctri-Nation-alism.

'THE CHOSEN FEW' IS BEING MORPHED INTO 'THE MASTER RACE'
THE SAME WAY 'GET OSAMA' WAS MORPHED INTO 'GET SADDAM'! GET IT?

This is the basic model of this religion-fueled fascism:
Supreme Dictator Smiting Evil-doers Wrathfully Without Legal Restraints.
Sound familar?
Yup. George W. Bush as the American Ayatollah.

We are living in the closing minutes of a culture war that the American Taliban, called Dominionists, are winning.
The US Constitution (of-by-for the people) is being gutted and replaced with the Bible (Divine Right of Kings) to achieve a police-state where everyone who isn't with us goes to Guantanamo Bay to be tortured indefinitely with no legal rights. That is already happening.

The inflammation of the old anti-Semitic, anti-homosexual, anti-abortion, and anti-pornography 'passions' is part of a very real and documented campaign to make this country into a Hitlerian theocracy fueled by militarism and Christian fundamentalist religious dogma called 'Dominionism.'

Its teachings are the opposite of those of Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount. Instead:
Wealth=virtue/Poverty=sin.
War=safety/Peace=danger.
Monarchy=Success/Democracy=failure.

It is totally Orwellian and some animals are definitely more equal than others. In fact, some deserve to starve. Eugenics serves as domestic policy while imperialism is foreign policy.

'Might Makes Right' is WINNING over 'The Rule of Law.'
We are experiencing the return of eugenics (elimination of the 'weak') in our government's policies that looks very much like the old systems of feudalism, slavery and holocaust.
Have you noticed the body-count in the last three years with no end in sight?


Georgie's brain is much worse than you think and he's being used for terrible purposes. Here's a British clinical psychologist's researched analysis of the boy king. He interviewed Georgie's family, friends and such and determined that he was abused as a child and developed an 'authoritarian personality,' the root of fascism. Read it and weep for him and us.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1033904,00.html
(So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad?)-CLICK

And this personality is being exploited to further the creation of a Hitlerian Theocracy called Dominionism, which has been going on in this country for the last thirty years. Read it and wonder what the hell we're in for next now that Eugenics is domestic policy and Imperialism is foreign policy.
http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_5160.shtml
(God Bless America, The Constitution is Dead)-CLICK

If you'd like to read the full speech of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia back in the dark ages of January 2002 when he said that 'democracy interferes with the Divine Right of Kings and he's doing something about it,' read this and wonder what century we're living in and just what that Constitution was for, anyway.
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/scalia.htm
(God's Justice and Ours)-CLICK

Eugenics, isnt that a little dramatic? Social conditions have not improved in the United States since 1980.
Using data from the UN and World Bank, researcher Richard Estes created an Index of Social Progress that
Takes into account health, education, human rights, political participation, population growth, the status of women, cultural diversity, freedom from social chaos, military spending, and environmental protection.
In a list that included 163 countries, the United States ranked 27th. Estes, who has researched world social development for 30 years, found the pace of social development to be "on hold" since 1980, putting the U.S. on the same level as Poland and Slovenia in the current "report card. Yet the US defense budget is the size of the next 15 largest in the world combined.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-07/uop-ur2071703.php
(US Ranks 27th in World Social Progress)-CLICK.


How can they get away with it when everyone seems to be mad at Georgie and we're supposed to be able to vote him out of our White House? By fixing the electronic voting machines for 'the House.' Read this and decide which country to escape to this fall when Georgie is reinstalled, like a 'Manchurian Candidate' to finish the job he was sent to do: eliminate democracy, create a police state, and conquer the world as Superman Jesus in a Cowboy Hat.
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0225-05.htm
(Diebold, Electonic Voting, and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy)-CLICK

LATE BREAKING NEWS-FEB. 26 2004
Right now the Dominionists are introducing legislation to replace 'The People' as the authority in our democracys Constitution with God in a bill called The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004, exactly the opposite of what it really is, just like the Patriot Act, the Help America Vote Act, the Leave No Child Behind Act, and the Clear Skies Act. The legalities of the Christian Theocracy are being used to destroy our laws as if by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This is not a test! It is absolutely real and happening right now while the media are busy covering gay marriage and Mel Gibsons bloody crucifixion porn film, The Passion of the Christ.

on February 11 , 2004 Dominionist leaders in congress made their move; they introduced a bill in both houses called The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004. Among the sponsors of the bill are Rep. Robert Aderholt (Alabama), Rep. Michael Pence (Indiana), Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, Sen. Zell Miller (Georgia), Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).

The House version is H.R. 3799 and the Senate version is S. 2082. The bill limits the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts to hear cases involving expressions of religious faith by elected or appointed officials.

Although the claim by its sponsors appears to be that the intention is to prevent the courts from hearing cases involving the Ten Commandments or a Nativity Scene in a public setting from being reviewed, the law is drawn broadly and expressly includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0402/S00172.htm
(The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004)-CLICK

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Crachet2004 Donating Member (725 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #42
58. I agree that Bush and his cronys, along with the Religious Right are...
completely beyond the pale, and need to be defeated in the fall. But I also think it is going to happen. The voting machines bother me as well...printers need attached to them and legislation was introduced to do that...today, I believe?

Our corporations and their military bodyguards are similarly out of control and need reigned in. But with outsourcing becoming such an issue, I think people are going to start looking at the whole globalist agenda, already have, in fact. It will not bear scrutiny, and there will be no end to outsourcing without government intervention.

The "hyper-nationalism" after 911 was a natural consequence of the perception of being attacked...it has since faded, as has support for the war in Iraq. Americans do not want to conquer the world, nor can we. Look at Iraq. Were we to invade one more small nation, say Syria, we would be completely bogged down, for the forseeable future. But besides this, how can Bush make the case for further war? His credibility is about shot in this regard, I think.

We spend a lot of money, too much I think, but is the military really that powerful? Evidently not. I think instead, there is a lot of corruption, greed and missing money. And the American People are not going to stand paying for a military much larger...already there is talk of Social Security being cut to pay for the deficit. Do you think it will happen? I don't. The deficit is going to be cut instead.

Liberals were blamed for the loss in Vietnam, and this did power the 'Reagan Revolution', as did various forms of racism and bigotry. That revolution has empowered the conservative movement in the US to this day.

But I think it has now run it's course. We will see. Kerry IS a Liberal, if ever there was one...and I think he is going to win. Bush, with his attack and spend policies, crony capitalism, and internationalist/militaristic foreign policy, has completely dicredited conservative ideology in this country. Real conservatives hate him. How about John McCain, today!

The struggle for equality and civil rights is ongoing and often successful...though there is always more to do. Witness the debate on Gay Marriage today. It has not hurt the left at all. What was supposed to be a redhot issue for the GOP has fallen flat. I think issues of equality and civil rights in America are more difficult than many other nations, as we have so many different groups, some of them quite large. We are not homogenous, and in the past we have been quite parochial. But the overall progress, since the civil war has been FORWARD. With some fits and starts. The fact that we are even talking about gay marriage ought to tell you something. But as I say, there is always more to do. John Kerry will have something to say about all of that. If he is elected, I hope for great strides on this front, for as you indicate, it has been lagging.

As for the fundamentalists and their agenda...remember Prohibition? The people who brought us that are pretty much the 'Dominionists' you speak of. They can win the occassional victory, but America always comes to it's senses. Because America is not Fundamentalist-they are.

The legislation they support is part and parcel of an overall effort to change the Constitution. The effort also includes the Gay Marriage Amentment and the Arnold Amendment. If we would abandon our own attack on the 2nd amendment, the entire thing can be turned on it's head and work against the Right politically, as I have posted before, many times. The case can easily be made that the GOP hates the Constitution. We get to wrap ourselves in the flag and sing our own hosannas.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out with these nuts and their ambitions...always has. America was founded by what might have been called zealots. They have not taken over in 500 years, nor will they.

As far as talk of a 'Master Race' is concerned, they do not have the numbers. Also, Americans were the first nation to throw out the Divine Right of Kings. I don't see us going back anytime soon. These two ideas, not to be insulting, are actually laughable.

We all know the lower levels of our educational system is weak...that is how new Republicans are made, for the most part! lol
But our system of colleges and universities are the largest and probably the finest in the world-and that is where we Democrats come from...and a few republicans.

But I disagree the American people don't understand the Bill of Rights. Some would like it and the Constitution applied more evenly, but I think Left, Right and Center are agreed on the importance of these documents...what would we have without them?

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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #58
83. You show an example of exceptionalism in your post.
Edited on Fri Mar-12-04 01:50 AM by Solon
It indicates that you assume America was the FIRST to throw out the divine right of kings. That is wrong, you forgot the Magna Carta, or how about the United Provinces of Denmark, a republic. The United States was formed based on ideas that were formed in Europe, and first experimented on there.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:36 AM
Response to Reply #30
70. Deleted message
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:42 AM
Response to Reply #70
80. I have studied the rise of Hitler and am proud to be related to a man who
helped prosecute Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials.

My father's family is Jewish and some of my mother's family dropped what they were doing to join up and fight the Nazis as soon as they heard about them during WWII.

My mother (college history professor) was one of the Freedom Riders that went down south to help register black voters in 1960. She imbued me with a strong sense of civic justice and a perspective on how civilization has evolved and how government, religion, and technology have shaped the events that affect our values.

The single most formative event in my life happened when I was six years old. A friend showed me his father's WWII photo album from being one of the first GIs to liberate the Nazi concentration camps. I will never forget seeing photos of skeletal people stacked like cord wood.

I am keenly aware that that level of dehumanization can happen anywhere including in the US. I started protesting against immoral US government actions as a 7 year old in 1968 when I marched against the Vietnam War. I'm now 43 with 36 years of study with which to base my views.

I have traveled all of the US, Europe, and much of the Caribbean and Mediterranean and have some empirical data on cultural attitudes.

I have studied history, psychology, sociology, journalism, politics, and linguistics to understand my own very complex yet understandable species. I spend 3-8 hours a day reading and writing on comtemporary history.

Your venomous personal attacks on me and my morality "as a Jew and American" indicates either extreme youth or perhaps intoxification.

How old are you and what is your reference for comparing Germany between the wars and post-Vietnam America? Merely being Jewish?

Do more reading and less spitting. You'll feel better, I assure you.
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markses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
41. The notion that we are "young" as nations go is false
The nation state is not particularly old as a phenomenon. Both Italy and Germany are younger than the United States as nation-states, and most of the formerly colonized world is obviously younger as well. I'd expect that if it came down to it, the US is in the top 20% of oldest nations.

Now, of course, people will say "Rome" to argue that "Italy" is older, but this is a category switch - Rome was not a nation state, and one would be hard pressed to locate an actual nation state anywhere before the 16th century CE.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. Yes what you say is true.
However, what I meant was that, culturally speaking the United States is just starting out in cultural development. We did not start out as any type of landed people in the bronze age, as Great Britian has, we do not have that type of history. We are a nation of immigrants, with only the Native Americans having any claim to this nation being an ancestrial home.
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markses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #46
49. Most of the European nations have seen tremendous
Edited on Wed Mar-10-04 10:50 PM by markses
cultural changes over the last 400-500 years as well. England is especially shot through with the immigrants from its former colonies, as is France. Listen to Billy Bragg:

My mother was half English and Im half English too
Im a great big bundle of culture tied up in the red white and blue
Im a fine example of your Essex man
And Im well familiar with the Hindustan
Cos my neighbours are half English and Im half English too

My breakfast was half English and so am I you know
I had a plate of Marmite soldiers washed down with a cappuccino
And I have a veggie curry about once a week
The next day I fry it up as bubble and squeak
Cos my appetites half English and Im half English too

Dance with me to this very English melody
From morris dancing to Morrissey,
all that stuff came from across the sea

Britannia, shes half English, she speaks Latin at home
St George was born in the Lebanon, how he got here I dont know
And those three lions on your shirt,
They never sprang from Englands dirt
Them lions are half English and Im half English too

Le-li Umma le-li-ya, le-li Umma le-li-ya,
Le-li Umma le-li-ya, bledi gdesh akh! le-li-ya

Oh my country, what a beautiful country you are

Not exactly an Iron Age culture proliferating on the Thames, my man. Furthermore, the supposedly ancient cultures of the Middle east are in fact 20th century proto-nationalist movements in response to European colonialism (Islamic fundamentalism, for instance), having only loose connections to the supposed "historical" cultures that peopled those areas (which were themselves generally in radical contact with other cultures and thus in radical transformation). The fact is that all cultures (save, perhaps, the most isolated - say the Yanamamo) are "young," to the extent that all cultures are constantly in stages of transformation. So-called global culture today could not even have been imagined 60 years ago.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #46
50. Europe itself is pretty young, and the last few centuries have been its

15 minutes of (dwindling) fame on the stage of history. Doubtless, Genghis Khan is smiling down on (or up at) them.

It's devil-spawn cannot stay the inexorable course of the gentle twin zephyrs of Mendel and Math, however, nor oblige it to fade gracefully instead of being dragged out unceremoniously like an uninvited drunk at a society wedding.
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jeffrey_X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-10-04 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
53. Great post! Couldn't agree more!!
White culture is American culture, but American culture is not white culture.
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 12:28 AM
Response to Original message
57. What is American Culture?
Yes, I agree that what we see as the main theme - plurality and equality - first appeared someplace else: the French Revolution.

But I think that the main theme of American culture - really should be the U.S. Culture - is what is defined as the American Dream. And this is because this is a young nation with no history of classes. In the older nations of the world - Europe and Asia - the class system existed for generations and the only way to change the culture, to give everyone a chance at the top, was through bloody revolutions.

Here, at least in theory, everyone can become successful - regardless of the definition. Yes, many here will jump and claim that the culture here is racist, and bigoted, and chauvinistic with plenty of examples. But in the big picture, this country is more egalitarian than most countries.

I lived in California during the 90s, and most of the small businesses, most of the high-techs, were founded by foreign immigrants, many from the Middle East with "foreign appearance" and accent, etc. Yet they seized the opportunities that this culture offered them. When one visits a graduate school, the majority of the students in science and technology are foreign born.

Which brings me to the deep resentment in the American culture toward intellectualism, preferring, instead, the simple way of life. The "me Tarzan, you Jane" approach of the Republicans. The desire to view life as black and white, good and evil (again, leaving the definition aside for this discussion). The difference between liberals and Conservatives is that we tend to debate each issue to death while Republicans are happy to go through life never doubting anything, never questioning anything. And I think that this view of life in black and white with no shades of gray is what can be perceived as arrogance or superiority.

And I agree with many about the isolation, about the ability to live in blissful ignorance not knowing and not caring of what is happening in other parts of the world. If you live in, say Italy, you cannot afford not to know about the rising of fascism in, say Austria - Joerg Haider. Here one can. This is what has always puzzled me about the McCarthy era: how can such a mighty, large nation be afraid of "infiltrating" enemies?

This simplicity, even naivete can be seen with the "why do they hate us" that followed Sept. 11. We are so good and generous, we spread our rock and MacDonald and jeans around the world and "they" embrace them and yet they hate us.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:56 AM
Response to Reply #57
84. I would say that the only thing that the U.S. differs with Europe on
was class. First off all societies have class distinctions, always have since the beginning of human civilization. Our society is no different, what is different is that in most of Europe, that class distinction was through bloodlines, feudalism. We did not have that type of system on a broad scale here. That is part of the reason that it is hard for Americans to discuss class in a meaningful way, because it was never tangible to us.
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 07:19 AM
Response to Original message
62. The arrogance is a bit more militarist
Chances are that a non-american flag-citizen will be occupied by the
american military, and have their rights impinged by the american
empire, either by companies not restricted by justice, or by dictatorship supported by american lies.

America is 90% a massive army of empire occupying the globe with
the bullets aimed at most of the human race. Americans inside the
US see the police state part of the empire, the gestapo presence and
undermining of civil institutions.

Outside, people realize that their democratic freedom is not real,
and rather they are "ruled" peoples by the country of the big bases.

Then along comes joe american citizen who's a CNN view of america
walking down the street. If he supports the flag state, then he
himself is bearing arms towards those people, to injure them and their livelihoods.

If he disavvows the actions of the flag state, he will be safer
whilst amongst people whom his state persecutes.

The arrogance of americans could be tied to this gross ignorance of
the realpolitik meaning of a Roman Citizen in a meetup with foreign
people, and that ones government represents his goodwill towards those people as a empire-protection racket with satellite state status. This conundrum of a land of the free build on the repression
of all peoples and democracies.

The planet is occupied by an empire american people are generally
unaware of (and could care less about), and voila! Arrogance.

It is not a question of superiority. It is the FACT of the military
occupation and that all the body politic of the US stands behind
empire building and empire expansion on this ill-advised neoliberal adgenda. The democratic version of clinton was no better, the
miltiary has taken over the nation, that the executive is just
a barnacle on the side of the machine that answers to no citizen.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #62
72. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #72
81. You might atleast try to refute with reason. Oh come on, try! buh-bye. n/t
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 02:53 AM
Response to Reply #72
85. Pointlessly ignorant are we
Here's an excellent book for you:
The Sorrows of Empire : Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
by Chalmers Johnson

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0805070044/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-9631692-9515803#reader-link

If you can read, the book explains thoroughly the reality of the
military empire that has subverted civilian government.

Your "bunk" arrogance is feeling that you needn't make sense
to refute an argument that your propaganda brainwashing says should
not be true.

bzzzzzzzt... and for our next contestant! ;-)
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
64. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
ramapo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-11-04 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
67. Epitome of Arrogance - God on America's Side
The arrogance of our culture was neatly summarized during the last Democratic debate where the final question was (paraphrased), "...is God on America's side?".

A true believer in God should understand that God does not pick sides in international relations, national politics, or sporting events.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 12:27 AM
Response to Original message
69. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. 
[link:www.democraticunderground.com/forums/rules.html|Click
here] to review the message board rules.
 
Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #69
79. Logical Flaws permeate your post.
A few things, one, I did not mention any of the actions of the government recently, in fact I highly doubt you have any inkling as to how I think in that regard. I made no mention of fascism, police state or anything of the sort. What you are saying is hyperbole, I said that as an American I can only speak of America's flaws, and those flaws in American Culture. To be honest, you are an excellent example of that Culture of Exclusion that is so predominate here.
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dpibel Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 01:47 AM
Response to Reply #69
82. Paging Mr. Benchley
Somebody's competing for your spot on the front page.

I mean, is this classic, or what? Son of Bob?
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arrogantatheist1000 Donating Member (44 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 05:06 AM
Response to Original message
86. to some extent I believe it covers most of the western nations too
Of course you see it most manifested in America. But what I'm saying is for example most people believe that we will just walk over these terrorists.

However a logical look at it shows that no they have incredible resources at their disposal. The argument I seem to get from many people even here in Canada is no the enemy will lose because they are brown skinned.

Or some huge event will happen clearly an enemy of america, and some americans still think its some elaborate plot by the CIA. It is almost as if they cannot believe that a brown skinned person could come up with and implement such a complicated plan.

Or look at the religions. Most Americans think that muslims are 'mislead' or 'fooled'. Yet if you read their thinking on their own religion, muslims actualy have a more indepth understanding of islam, then american christains do of christianity. This is of course an average based on extensive reading I have done.

However I often quote things directly out of the bible and christians tell me that isn't in the bible. Or say they have never heard of that.

Yet at the same time they believe only if these islamics saw the light of jesus they would be 'saved'. Of course their church would have to be run by white men from europe, or else these brown skinned people would get confused and go back to their wrong beliefs again.

Think of the controversy over Indians 'stealing' American jobs. Most americans dont' seem to understand that Indian professionals are just as good as american professionals. Americans as an average seem incapable of seeing Indians as just as intelligent as they are as human beings.

I also get annoyed by the arrogance of americans in terms of military. In 1991 America and the rest of the world attacked a tiny bankrupt nation of 14 million. With a world wide embargo on that nation. And with the french giving america the codes to disable the iraqi air defense system for example. Congratulations you were able to deal with one of the weakest nations ever. And not even take them over merely expel them from Kuwait city.

But americans act like it was bigger then when the russians took out nazi germany. Which btw americans also take credit for almost single handedly winning world war 2 in europe. However any intellectual study shows that at most they were minor players late in the war.

In addition americans will not see any flaw in their government. Even many democrat Americans. For example they left many Iraqi Pow's to die in the heat of the desert, in gulf war 1. They bombed clear civilian targets like the television broadcasting building in Yugoslavia. Where 19 internation journalists were killed.

When america is attacked its 'terror'. Even when terrorists attacked the USS cole a clear military target that was 'terror'.

When america attacks it is liberation, or precision bombing with no collateral damage. Let me tell you families of dead Iraqis want revenge for their dead loved ones, just as badly as americans who lost family on 9'11 want revenge. Even though america said they killed them for 'liberation'.

Infact I was just reading about terminology in the current Iraq war. By definition someone defending their homeland against foreign invaders is a counter-insurgent. However we call the 'dead enders' and otehr iraqis 'insurgents'. When by the dictionary definition we are actualy the insurgents.

I personally would respect america more if they just said you know what we are desperately running out of oil and we need to move in and take it. Its going to be ugly but we are greedy.

I might not 'like' america because of it, but I would at least have some respect for their honesty. I believe one thing that pisses people off around the world is that its one thing for a government to tell us these lies.

We all expect the US government to lie. What is so annoying though is when the american people who largely know little or nothing about what is going on reiterate those lies and believe they are 'righteous' because of it. Ignorant displays of confidence are much more annoying then confidence that is actualy deserved. Hey you might not like that huge bodybuilder who brags but you respect his 'hugeness'.

That scrawny little guy who has his nose in everyone's business and tells everyone how stupid they are compared to him, always ends up with a broken nose though. Its human nature to find that very annoying.
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Blayde Starrfyre Donating Member (428 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
87. I am a Patriotic Liberal
I am a liberal as evidenced here by being at DU. I am also an American. I love America. I want to look out for my people. Why is this somehow incompatible? Let's take back the ideal of patriotism and nationalism from the bastards who wave the American flag in their left hand while using their right to sign a bill sending more jobs abroad.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 05:45 AM
Response to Reply #87
88. You attribute the emotion love to an inanimate object.
I find that illogical, you can love pets, and you fellow humans, granted their are levels of love, and differing relationships with other creatures, but the point is you can have a relationship with another, companionship, or being lovers, etc. Can you have that with a country?
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Blayde Starrfyre Donating Member (428 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #88
89. Come on
I can't love the sight of the evergreen trees and the Olympic rain forest? I can't love the sight of the Cascades, of Mt. Rainier? I can't love the mighty Columbia as I cross the Vantage Bridge?

Posts like this are counterproductive. All they do is alienate liberals with common sense.
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Columbia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-12-04 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #89
90. Aw, I love ya too man!
:pals:
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