America, more than anything else,
more than the proverbial land of opportunity, is very definitely something
else. This nation of ours appears to be, first and foremost, a land of
contradictions where, while the polls indicate most people feel the nation is
being led in the wrong direction, we seem inclined to follow the same Pied
Piper foreign policy.
Like it or not, in the US you cease to
be an American (or rather, a �good American�) in the mind of your family,
friends and neighbors the moment you deny the sacred dogma of inerrancy in US
foreign policy. It may seem irrational to some people -- either the statement
on its face or what iis implied by it -- but deep inside that is the
attitudinal belief of a vast majority of Americans I know and, I would venture
to guess, most Americans anyone might know. And yet, that �patriotic majority,�
so similar to me to the �moral majority� of time past, prefer not to think of
themselves in any way, shape or form as nativists, jingoists, or otherwise
exclusionary . . . convinced they are just down-to-earth regular folks: Main
Shortly after 9/11, political
America -- Democrats and Republicans -- decided that it was about time to set
aside their minute differences in foreign policy and act as a true united
front. After all, they could always maintain some semblance of independence in
the domestic arena, keeping a presumed differentiation alive and well . . . as
if the gross mislabeling of the conservative and liberal labels defined how
either party stood.
To our national detriment, including
America�s standing in the world, such an unnecessary and unwarranted united
front was adopted by our political duopoly without as much as the blink of an
eye; its ideas quickly permeating, and finding acceptance through much of the
citizenry of Main Street America. That citizen�s consent to relinquish rights
and freedoms, giving blind permission, authorization, license and sanction
allowing Bush�s White House to do as it pleased -- all too often in open acts
of criminality -- has made it starkly clear that even if we claim to live under
democratic rule, a so-called rule of law, our republic operates under a much
different rule: the rule of consentership. And we, the citizenry, are simply the consenters! Such role
reversal has made Americans the doting citizens of their Uncle Sam, an
embarrassingly felonious uncle at that.
Let�s stop being hypocrites! Let�s
stop blaming Bush for our own cowardice and lack of civic guts. Empowering a
selected -- not elected -- government; granting clearance for the neocons to
act; giving Bush the green light to invade Iraq; tolerating the usurping of our
rights and freedoms; and going along with blatant economic malfeasance that is
sure to bankrupt this nation, is unmistakably defining the highest level of consentership: what some of us would call the
ultimate political pass.
Could it be that we are consenting
because that is exactly what we want? That deep inside we know that someone
needs to do the dirty work on our behalf, and that there needs to be a price
paid? Are we really accomplices as much as we are consenters? Isn�t this a form
of a dictatorship by that antidemocratic triumvirate that rules our lives:
predatory capitalism, wasteful consumerism, and religious fundamentalism?
It�s beginning to look as if in
early 2008, consentership will continue to dominate our
Tweedledum-Tweedledee politics with Republicans and Democrats achieving renewed
solidarity in foreign affairs, be it the forever-occupation (or negotiated
presence) of Iraq, a non-stop continuing demonization of Iran and other
�terror-villains,� or the constant denunciation of any nation that challenges
our imperial hegemony and right to collect tribute in any way we see fit. Bush
will soon be on his way out, but rest assured that his replacement will be a
clone; or, as it is now starting to look, �a Bush in drag.� Perhaps we continue
to be led astray with the promise of a lesser evil approach in domestic
governance, but it will not be a lesser evil in the areas that are essential to
bringing trust and understanding among peoples of the world; it will not be a
recipe to achieve peace on this earth, just as the organic compounds were to
Of late, we have been looking at
what is happening in Greater Russia, and are totally befuddled by the
confrontational attitude of Mr. Putin. A man that not so long ago our own Duce,
after looking into his eyes, tabbed as his straightforward, trustworthy friend,
Vladimir. My God, can someone explain how our prophetic, infallible Bush was
able to get a sense of Putin�s soul and just a few years later have him turn
But we shouldn�t fret over Putin�s
reaction to our accustomed imperialist behavior, nor should we be surprised at
his popularity in Greater Russia. Just like here in the US, there is also an
apparent consensus in the neo-czarist land of Vladimir Putin, with an
overwhelming majority matching their consentership against our very own.
If we can be bipartisan in adopting -- preserving might be a more appropriate
word -- an imperial foreign policy, it�s understandable that the Russians�
newly found economic success and national pride have turned their political
behavior into one of consentership.
The US should not expect anything better after our �screw-you� behavior during
their cold turkey exit from communism, and now our insolence of trying to park
missiles at their borders.
Consentership may not be
dangerously consequential for small groups or nations that have no influence
beyond their memberships or borders. For an imperial superpower, it can turn
out to be the most extreme among political extremes, perhaps the worst form of
dictatorship. After all, we are consenting to the rule of a very few . . . and
those few have been granted the power to push the nuclear button at will, to
turn daylight into permanent night.
And we have the gall to criticize
some nations because we tag them as dictatorships!
� 2007 Ben Tanosborn
Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA),
where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at email@example.com.