Death to America

Was recently engrossed by a BBC radio documentary of the same title. Whether it be expressed in such extremist language or couched in intellectual phasing the sentiment is the same. Anti-Americanism has become the popular world wide liberal intellectual standard.

Here in New Zealand there is a very strong underlying anti-American sentiment as well. There was shock when the twin towers were hit, but the resulting synopsis by your average kiwi was generally that America shouldn’t have been so surprised. It was comeuppance for meddling.

The reason I have found this documentary series so good is that it has not only served to confirm or debunk some of my theories on American empire building but that it has shown me how careful I need to be. I tend to pride myself on being tolerant, on being open minded and able to live alongside other cultures and races, however, in hearing others expressions of rage (rational or otherwise) against the USA I have often felt the same chord being played in my own mind.

That may be fine when there is a clear case of American exploitation but something tells me that I have to watch myself. And when others rage is turned to violence against the USA and its interests I tend to find myself vaguely satisfied and realise that at the heart level there is not a bit of difference between myself and them. The rational arguments against empire building give way to irrational stereotyping, anger, and approval of violence. I’ve crossed the line. It’s almost like racism. I have joined the extremists that I’ve abhorred on the TV.

So, I have endeavoured to rationalise my feelings towards America. I still maintain some very strong views on American foreign policy but I will not let the popular sentiment push me over the extremist edge, even if it is never acted upon.

This blog is sounding like a confessional but hey, we all have to start somewhere. =)

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2 Responses to “Death to America”

  1. Jo Says:

    Well said! very thought-provoking. I confess to the same chip on my shoulder. I was witness to a very frank discussion about this a few months back between two people in a nurses home. One was a New Yorker who lost a loved one in 9/11, who frankly said that she didn’t care what the military got up to, they had to do what they needed to to get the perpetrators; and the other a Pakistani doctor with the strong view that America (and the UK) staged this conflict with the intention of taking over the world (or something like that…). Although I couldn’t agree with either, both challenged my easily held assumption that America’s the blundering do-gooder in the world… I guess I still don’t know what I think about this all.

  2. Isabel Says:

    hear hear! Its true we have all being swept up in an anti-all-American sentiment which tends to make us hypocrites when it comes to tolerance and non-extremism.
    By the way, thanks for you comments you keep leaving on my blog John, it makes my day!

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