“There are many respects in which America, if it can bring itself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to its size and power, can be an intelligent example to the world. We have the opportunity to set an example of generous understanding in our relations with China, of practical cooperation for peace in our relations with Russia, of reliable and respectful partnership in our relations with Western Europe, of material helpfulness without moral presumption in our relations with the developing nations, of abstention from the temptations of hegemony in our relations with Latin America, and of the all-around advantages of minding one's own business in our relations with everybody. Most of all, we have the opportunity to serve as an example of democracy to the world by the way in which we run our own society; America, in the words of John Quincy Adams, should be ‘the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all’ but ‘the champion and vindicator only of her own.’”
U.S. Senator James W. Fulbright (1905-1995) The Arrogance of Power, 1966.
Despite having met and befriended some fine Americans over the years, my long-held low opinion of the U.S. in particular and the American people in general — an opinion confirmed after I read Senator Fulbright’s book in the late 60s — has not only remained doggedly unchanged, but has in fact become more entrenched and pessimistic. Such entrenched pessimism stems from the inescapable truth that regardless of an illusory concept of the “American exceptionalism” that arrogantly presumes to present itself as the “superpower” champion of democracy and human rights, the U.S. is in reality the world’s biggest violator of the very ideals it so hypocritically claims to champion. This superpower which straddles the world with some 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad — Britain, France, and Russia combined have only about 30 foreign bases — has been responsible for the killing of more than 20 million people in 37 “Victim Nations” Since World War Two.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address to the nation.
Needless to say, Eisenhower’s warning fell on deaf ears and the latest Congressional homage to the military-industrial complex was recently payed in September to the tune of a $700 billion defence policy bill designed to maintain America’s position — with an endless War on Terror and military interventions including regime changes — as a global military power.
As a consequence of such largesse to the military-industrial complex and billions more in aid to a brutal Apartheid Israeli state bent on an expansion policy of Palestinian land grabbing to build more settlements for Jews only, the U.S. has become a nation where more than 50 million Americans live below the poverty line; where 48 million of them receive food stamps; where more than one in five children is on food stamps and living in poverty; where an astounding 15% of senior citizens live in poverty; where ethnic poverty rates are 28% for Blacks, 24% for Hispanics, 10.5% for Asians, and 10% for Whites; were being Black lowers one’s credit score by 71 Points; where a new AFL-CIO study on corporate salaries found that CEOs made 335 times more than the average employee who earned $36,875 while the the big company CEOs got approximately $12,400,000; where according to a Forbes survey 56% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their combined cheque and savings bank accounts; and where an observation once made in 1967 by Martin Luther King Jr. has become a stark reality: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
To make matters even worse, according to the most recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults (14 percent of the population) in the U.S. can't read; 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level; and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read at all. The prevalence of such illiteracy in the U.S. may explain why 62,979,984 Americans voted for Donald Trump — an egocentric mentally disturbed racist illiterate with psychopathic tendencies — to become President of a nation whose government’s first allegiance is not to the welfare of the American people, but to the Apartheid policies of an Israeli state guilty of barbaric crimes against humanity. Some of the wide ranging downsides of illiteracy — the U.S. Federal Outlay on education is only 3% — are outlined on the following link:
My continued scepticism regarding the American people’s ability to finally wake up to the reality of their dire straits and determine to do something about salvaging what little is left of their “American Dream” was recently justified when at a London restaurant I frequent, my friend and I met Danielle and Brian — an unusually civilised, intelligent, literate, and most likeable American couple from Westminster, Colorado — who were on their first visit to England. After the initial introductions and customary friendly banter we eventually got round to the subject of America. While they readily acknowledged their distaste for Trump and the fact that much in America needed to be repaired, they were nonetheless resigned to a hopeless inability to do anything about it. Such hopeless resignation by decent and educated American people represents the sad reality of the “American Dream” with its distant mirage of an “American Democracy.”