Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why Are We Obsessed With Declaring that America Is 'Awesome'?

From AlterNet:

Fox News may be the poster child of this infantile anti-intellectualism but the same sentiments can be found on the Washington Post’s neocon editorial pages or in  the higher-brow New Republic. If you dare point out that America or one of its favored “allies” has done some wrong around the world, you’re an enemy “apologist.” If you regularly adopt a critical stance, you will be marginalized.

That’s why so many serious national problems have lingered or gotten worse. If we don’t kill the messenger, we denounce him or her as un-American. 

More here.

When you purposely live in a fantasy-bubble, one that makes everything you love always right, it is necessarily impossible to examine, analyze, and improve everything you love.  Loving America, patriotism, whatever you want to call it, clearly embraced by the political, business, and media establishments which own and operate the nation, and continually rammed down the public's throat, has put us into this position.  We can no longer do the important work required by our democratic republic.  We cannot "promote the general welfare" and all the rest of that good stuff in the preamble to the Constitution when doing so is tantamount to opposing the nation.

Patriotism, as currently culturally constructed, is bad for the country.

Back when I was teaching, I gave a kid a failing grade on a six week progress report.  I didn't fail him for the semester; I just sent home a bad progress report.  This infuriated his parents, who freaked out on me because I hadn't notified them before the fact.  Instead of taking the opportunity to get serious with their son about his school work, they came after me, the bearer of bad tidings, first in a psychotic phone call, complete with a father/mother tag-teaming, and then later during a meeting with the principal.  "He's a good kid!" they proclaimed over and over again.  I told them he was hanging out with known sleazy drug dealers, which was completely true, and might very well be on drugs himself.  This just pissed them off all the more.  Their little darling baby was perfect, so it MUST have been all my fault somehow.

The kid eventually passed my class, barely, and I never heard from him again.  One of his drug dealer buddies, though, according to the local newspaper, eventually ended up stuffed inside a car's trunk at a nearby gas station, alive, thankfully, but definitely headed in the wrong direction.

That's how all this patriotic bullshit works.  It's the same thing.  You love something so much that you refuse to see the reality, and, consequently, doom that which you love.  It's bad parenting and it's bad citizenship.  And it's exactly how things have worked in this country, at least since 9/11, but its roots probably go back much further.  It's willful blindness, and anyone who points out the reality is an asshole, to be dismissed, if not beaten in the street.

It's no wonder we're going to hell in a hand basket.  We no longer want to be citizens.