Bourgeois Deviant

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Retro Post 1

Just to get some of my old bits onto this site... Some points are still salient. Enjoy.

Dark Cloud Over America: Day 9 (the faint silver lining)

The rats are leaving the ship! Is the ship that is federal American government half full or half empty with water to herald the retreat? Asscroft handed in a multi-page letter of resignation to the Shrub and is headed for the hills. Clearly dillusional, he actually had the temerity to say "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." Too many bare breasted statues in Washington for his weak little heart to take, more likely. Others are following suit. We will see who we get stuck with next.

Then we see this cartoon... Can we say Pat Oliphant rocks? We agree with his take on the situation completely. Here's the thing: Our current system of government, albeit tilted a direction that we don't like at present, is one that was literally hundreds of years in the making. Take some ancient Greece and Roman Empire, a hearty cup full of Magna Carta, add a healthy pinch of Enlightenment thinkers, maybe sprinkle a little Martin Luther in there and slide that concoction into a Dutch oven circa 1600's to early 1700's and let it cook up to 1776. Glaze with a U.S. Constitution and garnish with some Jefferson, Franklin and Washington and you have yourself a phat democracy! Best enjoyed with some John Quincy Adams on the side.

To extend this metaphor train obnoxiously further... If you have ever made bread, you know it takes time and patients. Lots of effort, too. That is democracy for you. America seems to be trying to pawn off a cheap, Wonderbread version on Iraq and Afghanistan. The world knows we have ourselves some delicious Tuscan whole wheat over here, so why would anyone settle for Wonderbread?

We fear the loaf of U.S. democracy either has mold or is growing stale.

More to the point, a democracy is learned and earned, not bestowed. We have a system of government that commands appreciation because of the well documented history of blood, sweat and tears that went into creating it. It is that context and history that only (most) Americans and like established democracies can appreciate. The world of Islam has no comparable history and little impetus to try to get their communal psyche geared to that perspective. (Though they do have plenty of blood spilled, you have to admit. Thank you Crusades!) All that and we are blowing up everything of theirs in the name of democracy and security.

True story time: A group of Spanish conquistadors approached a peaceful tribe of pueblo Indians and the conquistador leader, in his native tongue, decreed to the Indians standing before him that they had about a minute to convert to Christianity or they would all be put to the sword in the name of God and whichever Spanish Monarch was reigning at the time. There was no effort to translate or learn about the people they were addressing. Just the decree. The conquistadors slaughtered the entire community. Substitute Christianity for democracy and modify the rhetoric and this appears quite familiar, doesn't it?

Who would have thought Iraq and the old American west would have so much in common?

posted by A. L. Deviant at 1:19 PM

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