Death in a strange land: The enigmatic USA

December 19, 2012 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 



I once wrote that no columnist should leave out of his/her repertoire an opinion on Michael Jackson. Whether you saw him through positive or negative lenses, he was simply one of the intriguing personalities in the world. It would be an incomplete career in the life of a public commentator if there are no thoughts on one of the most uncivilized atrocities in modern times, the killing of twenty tots by a gunman in a school in the United States
In societies torn by civil war (Rwanda comes to mind), children are massacred by opposing sides. Nazi Germany’s extermination of the Jews (along with the enslavement of Africans) remains the largest blot on civilization since the origin of Homo sapiens. How in peace time, in the 21st century, in one of the most scientifically developed territories on earth can a gunman walk into a school looking for little children, four, five and six years of age to kill? One can only conclude that in that country, something is deadly wrong with its inner fibers
This columnist here is unapologetic in his view that the United States of America is one of the great democracies of our time. Don’t tell me about Russia, whether under communism or Putin. Russia is one of the woeful failures of modern European civilization.   Don’t talk to me about Cuba. Any country that can have a leader who fell just months below achieving 50 years of being in power is a total failure.
China is not my cup of tea. It is an unfree society. Don’t tell me about the Third World. Leaders there show scant regard for freedom, justice and rights. The Third World loves to criticize Europe and the US, but where are the essential freedoms in the Third World that our ancient ancestors fought so hard for?
The reality is that outside of civil war in the Third World in today’s world, some of the most unspeakable crimes occur in this impressive country named the United States of America. If the US should declare that the peoples of the world don’t need a visa to enter its borders, the US population will jump to six billion which is the numbers on Planet Earth. Yet this land that people the world over want to go to is a very strange and disturbing country.
Too many characteristics in the culture of the US lead one to embrace the theory of declinism. Declinism is a concept in International Relations that argues that the US Empire, after reaching its zenith at the years following World War 2, is in decline and is about to be overtaken by other states in both economy and world influence.
Is this latest massacre of the 20 tots the largest indication to date that the US is on the verge of becoming just an ordinary nation that was once great as the European empires were?
Too many things are fundamentally wrong with the US that are danger signals in the 21st century. One such egregious stain is America’s gun culture. A nation has to be insane to allow a citizen to just walk into a store and buy some of the deadliest mobile weapons technology has produced. What does the average citizen in the US want with two machine guns in his/her home? The mother of the young man that killed those twenty babies had four guns in her home. This great nation is the only land on Planet Earth where citizens who have attained legal age can buy any type of guns they want. It is time the US realize that such behaviour is bordering on an uncivilized throwback to Genghis Khan
Then there is the anomaly (using a mild word) of the worship of wealth. The US military budget must be close to a trillion. Imagine what the national budget is like. This is a stupendously rich country that most intellectuals would regard as post-modern, yet abominable poverty exists in the US.
The American wealth is concentrated in less that fifteen percent of its population. Yet Americans elect politicians who are shamelessly against gun control and those who are wealthy beyond one’s imagination. In the last presidential election, the two candidates were the exact opposite in terms of possession of wealth.  Mitt Romney said that half of American wants to be looked after by the government. It was a contemptuous dismissal of working America. Yet this man lost the popular vote by only five million (60M for him, 65M for Obama). You would have thought he would have been devastated. Can the US survive in the not too distant future?

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