Monday, October 09, 2006

Am I Anti-American? ...

My random musings must be ruffling some feathers. Today, I got my first "hate mail", basically saying "Go to Thailand, you anti-American b*tch!"

Obviously, the author didn't give much thought to his/her writing because I have no idea what might have triggered it but I'll address it just the same.

Am I anti-American?


Am I anti-corporatism?


Am I anti-nationalism?


Do I disagree with American foreign policy?


None of that constitutes "anti-Americanism".

Here's my take on it, for what it's worth. Cultures usually develope in any society for the benefit of the power elite. Whether it is the US, North Korea, Thailand or Lower Slobovia. Pick yer poison.

What I see happening is a lot of division which is sanctioned and promoted by the social system itself. Competition, self-advancement above all else, rampant and blind consumerism, materialism and nationalism all serve to keep us at each other's throats, seeing each other as obstacles to overcome instead of fellow human beings to cooperate with each other and with other people of the world.

I see American people and families being driven into the ground by constant financial insecurity and hyper-busy lives because the culture demands that we be "on top". The idea that we should live more human-centered lives takes second place (or tenth or twentieth) to market-centrism. Human beings are valued only if they significantly participate in the economy. That is why so many are fall through the cracks and are left homeless, people dying way too soon because they don't have adequate health care and babies killed in their mother's wombs because they are either an inconvenience or because the usually-poor single mothers can't afford them. The majority of Americans can not afford a university education. Consequently, many people are in mind-numbing jobs that bring no satisfaction or meaning. I see increasing violence because people can only be drained just so dry, pushed only so hard, before they finally explode. I see a people and a culture on the brink of self-destruction. I see a culture with hollowness at its core.

Do I want to see this happen? Absolutely not! Only the innocent will suffer when the house of cards finally tumbles down. Would I like to see some kind of national revival, a turning around of these conditions. Heck, yes!

By nature, I believe Americans are probably the most generous, compassionate people in the world. I hate what I see happening.

I did my time on the front lines. I was politically active throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. I was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement and participated in many social causes. I supported candidates in elections. I have traveled this country to get involved in and support necessary social movements. On occasion, I still get involved in something. One thing is certain: I still care. I may have burned out on activism but, by damn, I still care!

If that makes me "anti-American", I guess I plead guilty as charged. However, my personal opinion is that the ones who are anti-American are the ones who couldn't care less about the destruction of the American people. That would include greedy and amoral corporations, the military-industrial complex and the "culture warriors" who want to take back everything we fought for in the past.

Since I have chosen to move to Thailand, does that indicate that I care more about Thailand more than here? Nope. Not really. I care about Thailand, sure. It's not a mutually exclusive thing. It is possible to care about all people, not just one or two. My move means I am getting older. I'm tired. My health is not all that good. It is time for me to lay the mantle down and leave it to the younger folks. The younger generation is quite capable of handling it. There is a grassroots activism growing as I type this on college campuses. They'll do a good job. I spend quite a bit of time talking with younger people. They're awesome, powerful, well-spoken, well-educated and are ready to do the work. It's time for me to rest.

May all experience equality, safety and freedom from fear ~

Thailand Gal


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