Welcome to the United States of Resentment!
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 25, 2008, 00:55

Change . . . holy change! If only we could be blessed with a light rain from the heavens that would wash away our prejudices, greed and dissipating wastefulness. Cleansed, Americans could then become one whole people instead of the many factions that now make up this nation of diversity; diversity not just in people but also in rights, hopes and expectations.

Let there be no mistake, ours is a nation where indignation and ill will run much deeper than we would like to believe, or dare broadcast for everyone to hear; and it is these real life-size grievances never addressed fully or with candor -- not just imagined ones -- that prevent us from attaining national cohesiveness. Instead, all we have done from time immemorial is to lie to ourselves and to others . . . just by adding patches. Ours has never been a Fourth of July America, the one that our State Department sells to the world, but a nation which has provided both: opportunity for some to realize a so-called American dream and, for others, the condemnation to relive an American nightmare.

Patches that cover up the problems of race, economic inequality and wantonly obscene self-indulgence are constantly being affixed to the American psyche as if telling us all that everything is fine with no reason to worry or complain. So truth is patched with lies time and again, as we are all asked to join in that proud chorus of �God Bless America,� an America that really belongs to a few, although most of us are deceived into adopting it as our very own. And the bullshit builds up, as do the patches, until the boiling cauldron overflows . . . then, the patches temporarily disappear and we come to blows.

Last week the media did its thing, and presented us with a reverend Wright made to look more like an irreverent Wrong exalting his black congregation with a blasphemous �God damn America.� No American flag pin adorning his clerical garb, just words of anger and rancor coming from his mouth. An embittered Christian pastor who tells it like he sees it . . . and that for tens of millions is really the America they live in and not the mythical America that we seem to be patriotically proud of. By so doing, Rev. Wright created political problems for a member of his flock, Senator Barack Obama, and his quest for the Democratic nomination . . . and the chance to occupy the White House.

Obama�s denunciation of Rev. Wright was one of form as well as substance, but it did appear as a conditional denunciation to the existing racial problems that still afflict this nation. And that is something that most conservative Americans just don�t tolerate . . . it has to be an unconditional denunciation, and total adherence to the philosophy that �America does no wrong,� or it�s no denunciation at all.

Even if one questions Obama�s path and ability to bring real change to America, he does appear as a person of reason and honor . . . unlike most other politicians; and that, of course, will hurt his chances of being nominated by his party; and, if nominated, of being elected. After all, he�ll be portrayed as just a letter away from the founding father of Al Qaeda. The lies and denigration against aspiring-president Obama will be in full force and the fascist bloodhounds will be combing the woods and the marshes looking for that half-Negro terrorist who dares tell us that we have racial problems to solve. It has already started. In Sunday's local paper, The Oregonian, an uncalled for salvo was dishonorably discharged by a reader: �Barack Obama stands by Rev. Wright with glee. President he should not be.� Jubilant delight not from Obama but from the Rovesque nincompoop who wrote such trash! But that�s what the senator will get, non-stop, if and when he receives the Democratic nomination to run against John McCain.

Black rage in America is real, very real, even if it remains patched. The American judicial-prison system is a disgrace, one which affects blacks uniquely and disproportionately, as do other institutions. When Mainstream White America, the America that controls power, fails to address these problems, should people act surprised if criminal trials really become political trials, such as O.J. Simpson�s or Mumia Abu-Jamal�s?

We have only touched on racial resentment -- which affects more than just blacks -- but it applies with an ever-increasing force to the broadening economic inequality and the accelerating disappearance of the middle class. Racial and economic rage affecting the �Other America� is likely to grow in the next few years, attaining super-majority status to demand drastic social, economic and political change in this land of ours.

It is not double vision that makes us see two Americas . . . it is only political blindness that makes us see only one. Distance between the two Americas needs to be dramatically narrowed or we shall continue to remain the United States of Resentment, and not the United States of America we should strive to be.

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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