Thursday, February 01, 2007

Growling and Snarling

The United States of America. For over two centuries if you were else where and said you were from there, people were jealous. And they were admiring. Even geopolitical foes couldn't get past that. Today?

This is not to say that we have not meddled in other countries' affairs, ask a lot of South America about it. This is not to say that we didn't keep slaves for nearly a century or that we didn't abuse American Indians or crush labor. We did all of that and some more. Excluding slavery, most of it was the international norm and we were actually somewhat better behaved in our misbehavior.

Acknowledging that stuff doesn't change the regard we were held in. The world saw many things to aspire to in the US, starting with a successful revolution. Here we do not see just how extraordinary that is, in the other ones they slaughtered each other and usually wound up with a tyranny as bad as what they overthrew - or worse. We took the best of English Common Law and fixed it up into one of the best models of governance ever seen. New to the face of governing was the concept of inherent rights, rights that predate government and that government is precluded from interfering in. Even in our seesaw economic model of capitalism for most of two centuries good thinking, hard work, and risk would move you up the economic scale. Our press was a rowdy lot, they quarreled with the governing, poked and rooted and were generally rude to the elites or fawned on their favorites while others kicked them. When we came to the aid of our friends and allies, that's what we did, aided them. We did not seek to set up a hegemony, we did not create colonies.

Today there is envy, third worlders want some work and to evade our laws all the while being just what they were. Most of the world sees a bully. Most of the world sees legal hypocrisy. Most of the world sees torture. Most of the world sees a government run for the elite, for the benefit of wealth and power. Most of the world sees a nation hocking itself for cheap junk and skill and work are for monkeys. Most of the world sees wealth disparity matched only in some totalitarianisms and health care that could be mocked by the third world. Yes, we're seen as the powerhouse of the world when it comes to weaponry and soldiers, but we can't seem to make anything else. Once our vehicles were symbols of power and quality and affordability, today we fall all over ourselves to buy foreigner's cars, built on a market of government tolerance of dumping and market subsidy. We negotiate "free trade treaties" that amount to US subsidy of child labor, slave labor, environmental destruction, and totalitarianism - sending our skilled labor into the toilet while we bring in serfs. The world sees us behaving in this manner. They see us more interested in stupid TV competitions than our own governance.

What do we say? What do we do? What do we tolerate from those we elect? What do we tolerate from those who use OUR airwaves? A giant in the world is reduced to this? Stop to think, that's only one paragraph, not a catalogue of what we've let happen to us. If you're not growling and snarling, what are you doing?

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