Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Looking at ourselves from the outside
It's always enlightening to see how people outside the US see America. I found this on an Australian website while looking for articles to use for a paper for school:

Hal Wilson sent you several paragraphs of the usual simplistic slogans that we have come to expect from today's war mongers. He also used that tired term "anti-American" so favoured by the "with-us-or-agin-us" brigade. It's a useful label when trying to bully your way through a reasoned debate. I decided I'd beef out this "insult", so we know exactly what it means to be "anti-American".

10 Reasons to be Anti-American

1. They claim to be the greatest democracy in the world, yet only a small percentage of their population even bothers to vote. This means US governments gain power via pathetically small margins about 49,000 votes in the last congressional election. And this is labelled government by the people! Whats more, getting elected in the US now requires vast amounts money, and corporate sponsorship. Naturally this results in big business gaining more than their fair share of government help. Is that democracy? And does that give them the right to invade other nations in the name of their democracy?

2. Americans love trumpeting on about their love of freedom. However, they are currently dismantling a great many civil rights laws in their attempts to rid themselves of terrorism. At the same time, hundreds of prisoners of war remain in Cuba without legal representation, and with no hope of a trial. More murders occur in the US than any other Western country because of their freedom to own guns. The Bush government is keen to crack down on freedom of speech when it comes to sexually explicit material, something the vast majority of Americans indulge in. And sodomy is still illegal in dozens of US states. Is that freedom?

Whats more, the propaganda that says the terrorists hate our freedom is just so much bullshit. Its not freedom that these people hate; it's America's hypocrisy.

3. The Americans are supposed to be the good guys. Yet they have, over the last 50 years, engaged in numerous dodgy interventions in other countries, including Vietnam. On many occasions, this has involved supporting despots, and being accessories to mass murder. We have no proof that will allow us to believe they have learned from their mistakes.

4. The US champions free trade for everyone else. When it comes to steel, or their farm products, or any other US product with a vested interest, the rules don't apply.

5. They have consistently undermined the UN for the last 10 years at least, and then have the gall to say it is a spent force and impotent. Their unswerving support of Israel is part of this, to the point of defending Israel when it defies UN resolutions.

6. When other countries defy or ignore international treaties, they should be bombed. When the US ignores or abandons international treaties, they are asserting their rights as a sovereign nation.

7. The US public has an incredible ignorance of the outside world, thanks to their media, and an accompanying arrogance. When Bali was bombed, we didnt hear a peep out of them. Australia was mentioned in passing as being south of Indonesia. Chances are that most Americans won't know that Australia is about to be one of their few allies in the coming war. The less you know about the rest of the world, the more mistakes you can make.

8. The general neglect of the US's own people when it comes to education and healthcare is atrocious. Their system of funding sees terrible inequity in these areas, and reinforces cycles of poverty. The US should be looking to clean up its own backyard, perhaps using some of its defence money to educate its children.

9. The US consumes vast amounts of the world's resources, and its people are some of the most

affluent in the world. Yet they ignore their responsibility toward the environment (eg Kyoto) and see oil as a birthright. If the US had developed sustainable energy technology and industries, this war with Iraq would not be inevitable.

10. Jerry Springer.

Interestingly, Australia is also guilty of many of these transgressions (for Jerry, read "Stan Zemanek"). Perhaps the difference is that were not as proud of it as the US. Nonetheless, we too should be working to overcome our own hypocrisy and improve our own "democracy" and "freedoms".

Reasons to like the US

1. The Simpsons and Seinfeld.

2. Star Wars (except for Jar Jar Binks)

3. Squirrels

4. The ideals behind their bill of rights.

5. The Grand Canyon

6. The friendliness of everyday Americans


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