If you are flying your flag on Independence Day, it better be upside-down. This is in no way a sign of disrespect: this is military protocol for a nation in distress.
When traveling abroad, the state of distress becomes abundantly apparent upon return to the states: you can see the stress and discomfort steaming off of people. They are worried about everything from their job security to avoiding foreclosure on their house to paying to get to work as gas prices rise closer to the international norm. They are distressed because they are forced to live in a world of savage competition, wherein their well-being brutally hinges on the success of the market.
They look and look for work and finally find some gig where an intermediary hires them for a “trial period” that can last up to a full year, after which they might get lucky and obtain health care and start accruing some measly vacation time. Then they are told to contact “human resources” if they have any questions.
It’s amazing how the self-confidence of individuals is destroyed when they are treated as a mere object, rewarded for a year of good behavior with health care: generally considered a human right throughout the civilized world.
So I can understand the stressed and moody nature of Americans: this is quite expected from people seen as little more than a number in the extremely mechanistic economy that has been constructed since the dawn of Reaganism.
But this barely scratches the surface of the problem.
People are afraid to dissent even in the most mundane manner. What passes for the left of the American spectrum is anyone who awakens to the idea that indiscriminate bombing of millions of people in all corners of the globe might be morally problematic. This is the “send in a check” crowd: their big idea for how to fight the man is by joining a bureaucratic non-profit. They don’t realize that all they’re doing with said donation is adding their name to a list so that they will continue to be solicited in the future.
Sure it’s become a la mode to hate on the president! But rarely does anyone launch anything resembling a complete criticism of the overarching problem: the violence of Americana.
By Americana, I mean the culture of manifest destiny and American exceptional-ism: the idea that the globe is ours to rule, and that violence is an acceptable means of doing it.
In the end, this violence has been our biggest problem.
It was the problem on September 11th, 2001 when 3,000 people were indiscriminately killed by religious zealots.
The zealotry continued and the violence escalated as the United States wasted no time in responding by indiscriminately bombing men, women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Violence continued to be the problem as the American imperial media machine launched a full frontal assault against reason, diplomacy and democracy: shutting out anyone dissenting against the American fetish for violence.
Let us not forget history!
Violence has always been the problem.
Violence was the problem when over 50,000 Americans died while our armed forces murdered over 1,000,000 Vietnamese in the Great Holy War against “Communism.”
Violence was the problem when greater than 200,000 Japanese civilians were instantly incinerated by the Great Bomb, despite the fact that Japanese forces were in full retreat. The Americans felt the need to show off their toy to scare the Communists, and two cities on the globe was a small price to pay to attain that great Freudian glory.
And let us not forget that the nation was founded upon the concept of violence. The Puritans, no longer fit to live in an increasingly Enlightened Europe, had to find somewhere to rest their heads at night. Of course, the native inhabitants of the New World wanted nothing to do with them, but they were never asked their opinion. They were just terrorized, moved and killed.
The same went for the laborers, stolen from Africa and not remunerated for providing nearly all of the wealth in the New World. The violence of the whip and rifle was brought upon these people in order that the white man could live as comfortably, nay more comfortably, than they did in their native country.
The great genocide of the native peoples of the Americas and the African slaves imported to work the land stands as the single greatest crime against humanity over the last 500 years. And it was upon this brutal crime that Americana was founded. It was this violence that started the cycle that continues unabated today.
You can see this violence in American cities, which are often on par with the least developed regions of the world for the utter despair inside of them. Offered little incentive for success, citizens of the urban ghetto are forced to fail: the only hope they see is via the brotherhood of gang warfare.
My boyhood home, Chicago, saw over 30 students killed on public school property during the last calendar year, 24 of them as a result of gunfire. While the murder rate has gone down throughout the city, it has gone up amongst the young, who have rapidly become the most marginalized sector of American society. The old are still clinging onto the paltry social safety net that once existed, from social security to decent pensions and the occasional medical care for good measure.
The young, meanwhile, understand that they are done. What do people my age (27) and under have to look forward to? – A rapidly declining currency and stock market, a vanishing social security system, the greatest stagnation of wages since the 1930’s, and the fantastic implosion of the oil empire that has maintained American well-being since the end of the 2nd world war.
The young are done, put a fork in them, because they can’t find a job that pays anything unless they have a degree, and then they have a job that can’t pay off their enormous student debt. And the college degree, after all, is nothing but proof that they have been socialized into perfect subservient citizens, as few Americans are capable of pulling off a truly liberal arts education.
But many, when faced with the choice between debt and a free ride, will choose a tour in the American armed forces. They will choose the route of violence rather than the route of hope. They will choose the route of Hollywood with its guns and explosions, only to find out that Hollywood had them good and duped. They will find that there is no glory in violence, especially when it’s violence for the benefit of a small elite portion of society.
This is why it is time to declare our independence from the violence of Americana.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
These rights are not unique to Americans, but belong to all members of the human family. And yet we continue to bring our epidemic of violence onto humans all over the world, from Latin America to the Balkans to the Middle East.
And obviously these rights are meant to extend to all Americans, and not be limited by race, religion and income. And yet the United States continues to dwarf the prison population of the remainder of the developed world: exposing huge portions of its minority population to a state violence that turns them into professional criminals rather than productive members of society. The Puritan roots have quite predictably developed into a surveillance society, where anything outside of the white, prudish norm is considered unacceptable.
And yet those outside of the white, prudish norm are in the majority! So let us declare our independence!
Let us declare our independence once and for all from the wretched rule of the Puritan business elite. Let us declare our independence from the violence of Americana, and put an end to her internal and external violence.
Let us ignore Barack Obama and listen to his preacher when he says “God Damn America.” Those words were not meant to divide but rather to unite. The vast majority of the population can come together beneath the words “God Damn America!,” because what has the violence of the American empire done for us?? What has being the most powerful nation on earth done for your average American?? What has all this bullying of innocent people throughout the world and in our own country done for anybody??
And so now is the time to declare our independence!
A true patriot knows the teaching of Thomas Jefferson, that “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
We know that recent history, especially under the autocratic control of the current King George, has been one of repeated abuses and usurpations. “Let facts be submitted to a candid world:
1) “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
2) He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
3) He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
4) He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
5) He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
6) He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.
7) For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.
8) He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.”
We cannot endure any longer the horrific nightmare of our current state. People from all walks of life agree, and I know this because the Internet has brought us together. Any time I publish an article of dissent, I am joined in a chorus of support of people from all regions and all backgrounds. I know that we have the capacity to defeat the violence of Americana in favor of a peaceful land of plenty.
It will not be easy and it will not be quick, but we can take some pleasure in making the first step. And this step is appropriately done on the fourth of July; it is the step taken by Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin in 1776. We have to begin by declaring our independence. We have to begin by saying “America! We don’t need you anymore! You have not been good to us, and for my health and security, we must divorce!” You wouldn’t stay with an abusive spouse and so you shouldn’t stay with a violent nation.
As the Empire falls along with its currency and its respect in the civilized world, so should its government. The dusk of the American empire should be a joyous moment for Americans, for at last we can declare our independence from the violence of Americana.