Friday, February 03, 2006

The state of the union is what again?

Generally I like to stay away from national politics in this forum. I’m not a democrat, I’m not a republican and as a whole I find it a waste of time to talk politics with anybody who feels the need to identify with a party – there just is no arguing with anybody who subscribes to the cultish group-think which has invaded all aspects of our political system.
I also don’t like to alienate readers who may or may not agree with me. But President Bush’s State of the Union Address got me all riled up: I hate being proven wrong and then having to say sorry for it.
I owe my apology to Professor John Muthyala, in the English department, for my allusion that Ameri-centricism was dead or at least dying and that the way we were discussing the topic was too static for something with such a dynamic nature. Although I have been wrong before, I have never so greatly underestimated the vast quantities of racism and nationalism that have become rallying points for the current administration.
Let me put my comments in context. The following are two excerpts from the address:
(1) To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, and fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands. Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of terrorism, and organized crime, and human trafficking, and the drug trade… and (2) …Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They're concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. They worry about children in our society who need direction and love, and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and about suffering caused by treatable diseases.
I could find it forgivable if President Bush had only listed homosexuals, through his reference to gay marriage, along with corrupt politicians, hurricanes and pestilence as the major domestic concerns – gays, the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, tally-ho! I could have just dismissed him as laughable when he claimed to be concerned about Katrina victims only days after placing limits on how the state could use the $6.2 billion federal grants to rebuild – not that $6.2 billion is a shabby job, it’s almost 3 percent of what we’ve spent on Iraq so far. But the fear-mongering, cold war reminiscent rhetoric he used to classify the world outside of America was nothing more than an insult to the diversity that makes this country run and all the benefits we reap from having a global economy.
Look again at that first excerpt. Those are some pretty powerful images. Listening to this, one would believe that our world is a desolate hellhole. Hmm, let’s take a closer look at this. Do we have rising HIV/AIDS rates in this country? Check. Do we have corruption, despair, poverty and an ever worsening drug problem? Check, check, check and check. Are young women and men kidnapped and brutalized in this country? Check. And did we do anything to stop the genocide in Darfur? Well, not really.
So, what am I trying to say? It’s not that I don’t like this country – I love America. It was founded on some very beautiful ideals. But we cannot afford to believe that we are a unique paragon of virtue in this world – that is true isolationism. This arrogance, this unhealthy mixture of ego and pride is what fuels anti-American sentiment. And, I’m sure it made me look like a fool in the eyes of my professor.

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