by Joe Courter
A number of years ago, I had a conversation with a fellow of very different point of view than me. It was at the City of Alachua’s July 4 celebration, and he was with a Veterans organization that had a table at the event. When I mentioned I was looking for the Veterans for Peace table, he began disparaging them, and by connection, me. In pursuing a conversation away from the table, he proceeded to give me a window into his worldview. He firmly believed the USA was the dominant nation in the world, and it needed to stay that way. That the USA was right to overthrow the elected governments of Iran (1953) and Chile (1973) because it was in the USA’s interests. Obtain the oil that is under other country’s land? Hell yeah. The USA’s interests trump anything, because “we” must be the leader in the world, and anything less than that he was opposed to.
This gentleman’s “We’re number One!” wasn’t just jingoistic rhetoric; it was heartfelt belief, and I think about it now because I wonder if we are seeing circumstances where the world is getting ready to move on, and not just do as the U.S. says anymore. The dirty truths revealed about our county’s behavior in the last decades are resonating world wide, and more and more people around the world are questioning our motives. Is this most powerful military a force that is making the world better, or acting in its own interests? Is our monitoring of global communications a thing to tolerate? Is the U.S. economy a stable foundation for world currency markets? Is this country’s government itself stable, what with the government shutdown and gridlocked bickering?
Progressive minded folks here wonder if there is a graceful way for these problems to be resolved. Or are they only problems to those of us who hold the optimistic notion that we should be a better nation? Those that believe in dominance as a principle are not so troubled by this ethical quibbling; in fact, I think that is why there is so much active suppression of counter points of view, be it the past active disruptions of left activities with Cointelpro, or the high dollar corporate campaigns that affect our elections and legislation. It is what makes Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden such a danger to these people; all three have pulled back the curtain and exposed to the world what the power structure would prefer to hide. The agenda of dominance. It is our satellites and technological edge which allow the drone warfare; in Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space Command, the building proclaims “Masters of Space.” And all this is built to maintain world dominance, even while schools and infrastructure are neglected.
History is generally written by the victors, and this will be seen as a time of accelerated change. To what? Don’t know, but in this country, a lot of people at this point are sleeping through it, or avoiding thinking about it, or contemplating leaving the country.
We can’t let the troubles of the world wreck the one life experience we get, or dominate our sense of enjoyment at being alive. Be angry and outraged, yeah, but until, if and when, the shit really hits the fan, life is still good for most of us, and as citizens we should contribute somehow to make it better, whether helping others, educating, making and enjoying music and art, growing food, biking and walking in nature, sharing skills, organizing for better policies and building a sense of community where we live. Onward to 2014!