One can hardly dispute the fact that after World War II and into the late 1970s, America was the envy of the world. In fact, Republican demigod Ronald Reagan used a biblical phrase, “shining city on a hill” to describe America’s appeal to the rest of the world; before he unleashed extremist Hell on the nation. It is ironic Reagan is forever linked to that phrase because it was his administration’s policies and his political party that transformed America into what it is today; a mean spirited and violent haven for the greedy rich, the religious, and the hate-filled conservative movement.
Everything bad about America that the rest of the world sees increasing, and Americans feel, is purely Republican and it is truly pathetic that instead of despair and shame for creating what this country has become, the right wing and the religious thrive on what the world knows is bad about America; it is a racist, violent and religious extremist nation that conservatives consider exceptional.
Most people have one relative they keep their distance from to avoid being humiliated, but it is impossible for Americans to distance themselves from, or avoid, this country’s national embarrassment any longer. Republicans will not go away and they are getting louder, more hateful, more extreme, more racist, and more violent as their base cheers wildly and the world watches in stunned amazement. It is a sad commentary that every day there is a new, and more extreme, source of embarrassment for a so-called exceptional nation, and it is a wonder that any civilized person would ever want to come to a country full of hateful, greedy, and religious racists.
Last month after a Confederate racist gunned down nine African Americans in their place of worship, the world that already knew America was devolving into a religious conservative Hell-hole spoke out that Americans should be ashamed at the conditions in their country. For example, the people in communist China compared the United States to lawless Somalia and cited racism as fueling the level and frequency of violence. Claire Taylor of Gun Free South Africa said, “The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world” in promoting the proliferation of guns in an angry, racist, and religiously extreme population. And a Mexico City newspaper, La Jornada, wrote that “the U.S. has become a structurally violent state where force is frequently used domestically and internationally to resolve differences. Such a phenomenon reflects the feeling of extensive sectors about the supposed legitimacy of violent methods;” such as Republicans rejecting diplomacy for war with Iran on Israel’s behalf.
In Britain, a month after the Charleston massacre, a leading newspaper headline read, “Still A Racist Nation: American Bigotry On Full Display.” The story documented the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists protesting to preserved their cherished symbol of racism, the Confederate battle flag. One of the racists, an imperial wizard in the Trinity White Knights KKK chapter, boasted that he drove hundreds of miles from Kentucky – or as he put it, “Klantucky,” to defend white supremacy, and he echoed a sentiment popular among America’s bigots and evangelical extremists; “They’re taking our heritage from us. They’re taking the freedom out of America.”
What America’s main stream media did not report, but the world’s media did, was that while law enforcement looked on, more than 50 racists brandished Confederate flags and hurled racial epithets at minority onlookers. Some KKK members had planned to “hold a good old fashioned African American church burning” wearing their Klan uniforms to demonstrate how angry they are at losing their freedoms. All the while, the racists enjoy ardent support from like-minded bigots from other KKK factions across the country, the white supremacist National Socialist Movement (NSM), and Christian fundamentalists. Christian fundamentalists (evangelicals) are inexorably tied to the Ku Klux Klan and the NSM by their bible-driven hatred of gays, people of color, the poor, and non-evangelicals.
All of this extremism and hatred began permeating main stream Republican politics when Barack Obama was first elected in 2008 and is now the purview of its leaders. That is what President Obama finally had to admit, during an official visit to Africa no less, after evangelical hero Mike Huckabee compared the U.N. P5+1 nuclear deal to the President “marching Israelis to the oven doors.” President Obama can make jokes about Republicans, but he knows that not only is Republican extremism not the least bit funny, they and their base are why there is very little to be proud of in America. There is no doubt that the only reason Republican leaders and politicians around the country have embraced extremism openly is because they represent extremists whether it is the 2nd Amendment crowd, the white supremacy movement, the theocratic crusade or the greedy perpetual war advocates.
The President was likely embarrassed to tell Ethiopians a joke about a U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Rand Paul, taking a chainsaw to the I.R.S. tax code, the Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public works committee throwing a snowball in the Senate chambers to prove climate change is a hoax, or that indicted Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry wants even more guns in movie theatres after another mass shooting in a movie theatre; there is nothing more extreme than a bunch of ‘wanna-be’ good guys opening fire in a dark, crowded theatre. The President knows the civilized world believes America is off-the-rails extreme, but he also has to know that joking about it is not going to change the world’s opinion of this country. It is true that the majority of people from around the world comprehend that some Americans are not greedy, racist bigots, or religious extremists, but they are also very well aware that conservatives and Republicans are leading a dangerous and hate-filled movement that cannot exist without being at war against everyone who is not religious, not hateful, not greedy and not racist; both domestically and internationally.
Although it made the world news, in America there was hardly any mention of the Confederate flag-waving protests against President Obama the person, not his policies, over the past two weeks. In fact, there were two rather large incidents where Confederate flag-waving white supremacist groups waited for the President in Oklahoma and Tennessee to send him, other Americans, and the world a message that a significant portion of the population is driven by racist hate and think Obama has “taken their freedoms out of America;” precisely what their Republican leaders have preached ad nauseum over the past six years.
It is telling, and abominable, that more Americans think they live in an exceptional nation because it is inherently greedy, racist, religious to the extreme, and avoids peace like it is plague. While the rest of the world marvels that the richest nation on Earth, the so-called “shining city on a hill,” refuses to provide healthcare for all its citizens, will not repair its crumbling infrastructure, criminalizes homelessness, fights against clean air and water, legislates according to religion, and allows the richest 1 percent to keep the rest of the nation living in poverty, Republicans and their base still claim America is exceptional and will be better yet if they have complete control of government.
There are some Americans who understand that everything the Republican Party, and conservative movement in general, represents and fights to perpetuate is not only humiliating and shameful, it is contrary to what a civilized society should aspire to. The rest of the world sees America as a prime example of institutionalized racism, religious fanaticism, oligarchical greed, and “structural violence.” Regardless how bad, or extreme it gets, Republicans and their base complain that their heritage and freedoms are being taken away. As an industry colleague in India noted this weekend that it is a bad, bad sign that due to recent events America is now regarded as a dangerous and extremist nation and the people and politicians are not ashamed.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.