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As a regular commentator for PressTV (Iran) I am asked to give my perspective of American government, culture, and foreign policy. I am always identified as a former Green Party candidate for Congress. For the record, I have never praised their government, as I oppose all theocracies, whether they be Iran, Israel, or the state of Utah! If the country does something right or good, I acknowledge that. I have even acknowledged when Trump did/does something good, yet always for the wrong reason. Example: his not wanting to go to war with Russia and his opposition to NATO. Iran is also, along with the US, horrible when it comes to human rights and I have mentioned that. The death penalty being a major concern as well as Iran’s persecution of the LGBT community. I even throw a bit of Yiddishisms in, just to be snarky.
One theme I often touch upon is ‘American Exceptionalism’, a philosophy that makes America the strongest and weakest nation at the same time because it believes it is the best and anything it does it does with the help of divine providence. Every leader believes their country is the best. Every city believes it is the best. Just look at Baltimore City’s bus benches. “America’s greatest city” At one time it said, “The city that reads” but too many people were defacing it with ‘The city that bleeds.’ Good PR works only until it doesn’t!
If only the US would learn from Catch 22 when an Italian is talking to Captain Nately (Art Garfunkel) about how being a weak country like Italy is why it has survived and how a great country like America will be destroyed!
President Obama had to show how American he was, considering he was born in Kenya (sarcasm) by effusively praising America’s greatness. Every president ends their speeches, especially at the State of the Union, with God Bless America, even the probable nihilist Trump, cliché as it is, is meant that a god blesses America and not you, you atheistic, commie, Muslim peoples of the world.
What prompted me to write this piece was due to an article I read in Newsweek in which it reported on how Trump’s SS troops were destroying medical packs in Portland and how it is a war crime and a violation of the Geneva Convention. Of course they likely never wrote about this aspect of Obama’s crushing of Occupy, the torture of Chelsea Manning or water hosing in winter of the Dakota pipeline protesters. The lawyers can debate over whether what is happening in Portland, and soon a city near you, constitutes war crimes and whether it is covered under Geneva. That they even argue that these US federal troops are committing such a crime is unusual.
What is happening in Portland is also an example of American exceptionalism. When the US does something wrong, it needs to be pointed out, yet we ignore when our allies do it and when we do it abroad. Israel regularly targets medics during demonstrations. For months when Palestinian protesters were there at the border wall in Gaza demanding to be able to go home the IDF or Occupation army with their snipers took aim and successfully shot medics, identified journalists, people running back, and of course anyone with a rock that couldn’t even reach them. US media looked and looks the other way. But the US is special. We don’t do that; we only arm our allies to do it and give them diplomatic cover and more weapons. The Israelis are very appreciative of our support, so much so that they openly train our police forces in such human rights abusive tactics in suppressing peaceful demonstrations. The other obvious case is our pretense in opposing genocide or mass killings, as we are culpable in such crimes in Yemen perpetrated by Saudi Arabia.
But if the US does something wrong, we are the first to acknowledge it because we are exceptional. Just ask Chelsea Manning.
American exceptional is a disease, a cancer. It metastasizes with every new president, every new Congress. But could it be on the wane? Could Trump actually be the miracle vaccine? According to a Gallup poll, we are at our highest dissatisfaction rate for how this country is going since 2010, at 78%. Americans are waking up the fact that we are not (if we ever were) exceptional. So much has hurt our confidence in ourselves: recognition that all cops are bastards, the poor and people of color are disposable, and that so many are dying of a pandemic because our president and many governors, Democratic and Republican, focus more on a strong Wall Street over the lives of everyday people.
But not to worry. Our cancer is only in remission. Trump #2 just might be the next president. If Sleepy Joe takes over in 2021, he is likely to restore America’s over-confidence in itself. We will be back to our providentially approved selves. Our economy will be the strongest in the world. Our armies will be the most powerful, not the most moral, as Israel lays claim to that. We will welcome immigrants and their children with open arms to enter emptied cages. We will have a Green New Deal that won’t be green at all. We will be back to being exceptional and protesters will be forever treated with respect and our leaders will obey their Constitutional rights, because we are exceptional.