Excellent Article from Mickey Z

I think this is an excellent article, so I’ll quote it here in full rather than send you off to another link.

“Why do you hate America?”

This is a remarkably easy question to provoke. One might, for instance, expose elements of this nation’s brutal foreign policy. Ask a single probing question about, say, U.S. complicity in the overthrow of governments in Guatemala, Iran, or Chile and thin-skinned patriots (sic) will come out of the woodwork to defend their country’s honor by accusing you of being “anti-American.” Of course, this allegation might lead me to ponder how totalitarian a culture this must be to even entertain such a concept, but I’d rather employ the vaunted Arundhati defense. The incomparable Ms. Roy says: “What does the term ‘anti-American’ mean? Does it mean you are anti-jazz or that you’re opposed to freedom of speech? That you don’t delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias?” (I’m a tree hugger remember? I don’t argue with sequoias.)

When pressed, I sometimes reply: “I don’t hate America. In fact, think it’s one of the best countries anyone ever stole.” But, after the laughter dies down, I have a confession to make: If by “America” they mean the elected/appointed officials and the corporations that own them, well, I guess I do hate that America-with justification.

Among many reasons, I hate America for the near-extermination and subsequent oppression of its indigenous population. I hate it for its role in the African slave trade and for dropping atomic bombs on civilians. I hate its control of institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. I hate it for propping up brutal dictators like Suharto, Pinochet, Duvalier, Hussein, Marcos, and the Shah of Iran. I hate America for its unconditional support for Israel. I hate its bogus two-party system, its one-size-fits-all culture, and its income gap. I could go on for pages but I’ll sum up with this: I hate America for being a hypocritical white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

After a paragraph like that, you know what comes next: If you hate America so much, why don’t you leave? Leave America? That would potentially put me on the other end of U.S. foreign policy. No thanks.

I like how Paul Robeson answered that question before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956: “My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?”

Since none of my people died to build anything, I rely instead on William Blum, who declares, “I’m committed to fighting U.S. foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast, and I try to be an ulcer inside of it.”

Needless to say, none of the above does a damn thing to placate the yellow ribbon crowd. It seems what offends flag-wavers most is when someone like me makes use of the freedom they claim to adore. According to their twisted logic, I am ungrateful for my liberty if I have the audacity to exercise it. If I make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, somehow I’m not worthy of having the freedom to make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. These so-called patriots not only claim to celebrate freedom while refusing my right to exploit it, they also ignore the social movements that fought for and won such freedoms.

There’s plenty of tolerated public outcry against the Bush administration and the occupation of Iraq, but it’s neither fashionable nor acceptable to go as far as saying, no, I do not support the troops and yes, I hate what America does. Fear of recrimination allows the status quo to control the terms of debate. Until we voice what is in our hearts and have the nerve to admit what we hate … we will never create something that can be loved.

Mickey Z. and this original article can be found at http://www.mickeyz.net.


7 thoughts on “Excellent Article from Mickey Z

  1. amen to that.

    only, i would leave if given the chance to. and will if i do. I wouldnt mind walking down a 2000 year old steet in Italy for the rest of my life. one can hide away in a country from a foreign policy, one cant though, hide in this country without being affected by both its presidents bad choices, and its populace.

    Logan

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  2. Isn’t that giving up? And don’t forget how much Americanised life is moving to all edges of world.
    I often fantasised about moving somewhere away from people, humans, but then I realised it’s just hiding. I don’t know. What can one person do? Pretty much nothing but protect him or herself.

    What a waste of conscienceness.

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  3. Hiding? Leaving? Going somewhere else? Exactly what does that mean?

    There IS nowhere else. Earth is it! So stay where you are it is as good a place as any to find out what you are; to ‘know yourself’.

    Do not delude yourself regarding so-called ‘Americans’; As if they are somehow a special kind of human being. They are human and that is all that matters when it comes to making bad decisions, having self interest and having such self interest to the benefit of you and yours and the detriment of others.

    And yet I still obstinently refuse to accept that anyone, anywhere, ever, does anything with the express purpose of doing harm. There is always a reason that they themselves see to be good, and if not good then at least necessary, no matter how misguided they may be.

    This is the state of humankind and we are all a part of that whole.

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  4. Hiding? Leaving? Going somewhere else? Exactly what does that mean?

    There IS nowhere else. Earth is it! So stay where you are it is as good a place as any to find out what you are; to ‘know yourself’.

    Do not delude yourself regarding so-called ‘Americans’; As if they are somehow a special kind of human being. They are human and that is all that matters when it comes to making bad decisions, having self interest and having such self interest to the benefit of you and yours and the detriment of others.

    And yet I still obstinently refuse to accept that anyone, anywhere, ever, does anything with the express purpose of doing harm. There is always a reason that they themselves see to be good, and if not good then at least necessary, no matter how misguided they may be.

    This is the state of humankind and we are all a part of that whole.

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  5. Thats the ‘it was a good idea at the time’ theory… people do commit bad acts all the time, sometimes horrifically so, and the more horrific, the more powerful the justification… but bad things still happen, and we know it at the time. I know that from experience.

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  6. Thats the ‘it was a good idea at the time’ theory… people do commit bad acts all the time, sometimes horrifically so, and the more horrific, the more powerful the justification… but bad things still happen, and we know it at the time. I know that from experience.

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  7. I dont think its giving up at all. I have spent my time here in america, and now i want to live elsewhere.

    We see for instance the different mentalities that are carried with an area of people based on where they are in world, this is evident in california, and new york. These places are more liberal, with people who are more open to things. Im talking in general here. so is the same with other countries, i want to live in italy just the same as i want to live in new york, to expierence what its like to live there.

    I talk about italy in such a way that its not all about how bad america is, but no matter what anyone says, italy is older, and has much more of a history to it. that alone is why i really want to go.

    Yes, people are people, no matter where you are. but some places breed or attract different types of people, just like we say that a lot of rockford is conservative, or that people from cali are less conservative. Some places in the world can have nude beaches, some places have more art, some more music. Its the culture that reflects the mentality of the people.

    I dont think its wrong to want to move away from something one knows all too well, so that they may live amongst people who have a different culture and a different way of life.

    I know i can make a difference right where im at, but i cant single handedly change a culture of people, turn them into less conservative, and make them like art. One cant remake a culture.

    But certain places give rise to certain types of people, as america is known over the world for seeming to be not caring and cold because of our “3 feet of personal space” syndrom. its the culture of america, our media, schools, government, and society, make us (most of us) see certain mentalities and beliefs more so than in other places of the world.

    Bottom line, if im going to live in a place that lets christianity run it, i might as well live where there is more open minded people, with more art and expression; as well as a history thats thousands of years old. i would rather live near the vatican than in america.

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