A story in today’s “International Herald Tribune” caught my eye! (Andrew E. Kramer, ”Importing Russia’s Top Gun” , August 14, 2012). It reported that the Izmash, Russia AK47 factory was working around the clock to supply American customers with the famous weapon, shifting from the old police and military market to U.S civilian customers! It was all that was keeping the small town of Izhevsk alive. The US is the world’s largest market for both new and old copies of the gun. Since it started in 1947, a hundred million of these guns have been made, one for every 10 people on earth. Kramer even quotes satisfied American customers!
I was reminded that I learned recently that America’s defense budget is greater than all the other industrial societies put together. Imagine. But perhaps not for long? Putin’s Russia is using $613 billions of its new oil money to stay in the offensively defense game. Now one thing that clouds our “thinking” on these matters is the myth that America has been the most peace-loving country on earth since its birth. Tell that to the Arabs after Thomas Jefferson sent warships to the Mediterranean to control their sea lanes. Then tell it to the American Indians from the beginning, until the latest casino maneuver.
And don’t forget the black slaves—to distinguish them from tan skinned Mexicans who came later. Or the Hawaiians. Or the Filipinos, after they had painfully freed themselves from “warlike” Spaniards. Then, after Woodrow Wilson made world safe for democracy—and the Depression which logically followed , he sent the Marines into the Caribbean and Central America. How can we as a people be so deluded? Examine their New England pseudo-theological Creation myths. We have truly gotten away with murder, benumbed by our own fatuous delusions. Most mature democracies reject such lies, as they join the human race. It’s difficult in a culture that was based on slavery.
Now come with me to the 2012 Election, where the Tea Party morons hide their horrible hatreds behind pious piffle. They’re scared silly that black and tan and just poor Americans will vote their historical hysterics out of office. Consider LBJ’s “great society” palaver. Agent Orange for the revolting Vietnamese. But he did sincerely fight for their vote for the slaves who we had falsely presumed were“liberated” since 1865. He knew it would cripple his Democratic party.
But weak as he was to be sneered at by Vietnam War critics, his love for democracy was strong. We know what happened. The Donkeys switched places with the Elephants. The horrible moves that are being made to keep the poor“liberated” Coloreds enslaved is a tactical movement to react to LBJ’s putative liberation. I would go further: The neocon Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” judgment is part of the 1%’s desperate last ditch effort to consolidate the have’s shaky control over the have-nots. That is why the military and police power to become are flexing their muscle more and more against the 99%ers.
The Tea Party counterrevolution is a reaction of terrorized “haves”. They truly believe that they need AK47’s to guard their families and property from rioting colored havenots. Broken families have indeed created a murderous subculture. Alas, it is mostly blacks shooting blacks, as Patrick Moynihan warned us decades ago. And the Supreme Court’s irrational approval of unlimited donations by the haves is a desperate trick to keep the poor in their places, under.
Fareed Zakaria, one of my favorite wise men has a salient view of our predicament in this week’s “Time”(August 20,2012).p. 16. He notes that Congress first passed laws regulating ,licensing, and taxing guns in 1934. FDR’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, argued before the Supreme Court in 1939 that the Second Amendment grants people a right that “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists when the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided by law and intended for the protection of the state. The court agreed unanimously.”
When the Court changed 180 degrees Chief Justice Warren calls the new judgment “one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat the word fraud –on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” And he was a Nixon conservative. Zakaria concludes: “So when people throw up their hands and say nothing can be done about guns, tell them they’re being un-American—and unintelligent.” And unfair to the 1-%ers!
Zakaria is a 21st century deTocqueville, employing his Indian perspective to clarify a structural blindness that the American myth of Exceptionalism has infected all of US. So that when Lyndon B. Johnson uses his legislative skills to finally give the blacks the legal right to vote(to actually vote remained difficult if not impossible), the South goes GOP overnight, with the liberals flipping to the Dems. The NRA’s successful corruption of the Constitution “legitimizes” whites who fear that blacks will finally revolt so they arm themselves.
Until the false consciousness of Exceptionalism is confronted and rejected, we will betray our expressed ideals and continue to be reviled by the rest of the world never confused by the absurdities of Exceptionalism. We have many ignored “deviants” who can lead us out of this unnecessary darkness, beginning with the likes of slavery hating thinkers like Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and Twain. Not to forget a century of black American intellectuals leading US out of the sad desert of national self-delusions.