"Now that the war is over...." - Here's a memory refresher, a May, 2003 interview of Thomas Friedman by Charlie Rose. Here's a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political writer talking with an award-winning host, and they're both totally, completely, 100% wrong. And yet nearly everyone was buying into it.
Most Americans felt angry (about 9-11), excited (in the leadup to the Iraq invasion), patriotic and victorious (during the first few months afterwards), and confused and tired (of it all) since then.
I, and those other hippie liberal tree-hugging commies, have just been horrified since Summer, 2002. Horrified at how atrocious America has been, and horrified that no one else, those who also knew the truth and had the power and influence to change the discourse, did a damn thing.
I was raised in the U.S. public school system, was a military brat the first 13 years of my life, learned (in high school and college) all about the wonderfulness and perfection of our democratic government, and entered adulthood thinking that America was truly the greatest nation in history.
Seeing now how my America has, just in my lifetime, murdered millions of innocent and good humans in Vietnam, Central America, Kosovo, Iraq, and god knows where else, I can never again feel proud about calling myself an American citizen. Had we never entered any of these places, we would still be as safe today as ever, and more prosperous and helpful to the rest of the world. Terrorists would still be only a blip on the screen, and some of the trillions of dollars wasted on the military would instead have gone towards alleviating world poverty and illiteracy.
But we are not a good nation. Beneath our mask of democracy and hope, we are a violence-hungry people who would rather shoot first and then re-write the history to justify our actions.
For proof, one needs to look no further than the fact that our nation's highest priorities are not the mitigation of suffering and disease, but instead making sure our soldiers have the best weapons and body armor to fight mostly made-up enemies, and stealing petroleum from our fellow earthlings.
As much as I cling to my progressive values and altruistic mores, I realize now that our species just didn't work out quite right. We failed to grasp the importance of administering our technological development such that it would not exceed our ability to regulate it. Starting with gunpowder and ending with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, we were always running to catch up to and grab the tail of their destructive powers, rather than steering their courses into a peaceful advancement of our civilization.
Humans are accellerating towards self-destruction via war, environmetal alteration and damage (including nuclear radiation), genetic engineering, and the inadvertent proliferation of deadly diseases through misuse of medical science (such as overuse of antibiotics). The fact that we all live in a state of denial only amplifies the deadly situation. And that doesn't even include what horrors we have done and continue to do to our planet's other species.
I will persist in living my life as always, striving to be as honest and charitable as I can, with an occasional self-indulgence, and to fight the "good" fight so that I can fall asleep each night knowing I tried to make things better.
What else can one do?
(cross-posted at Daily Kos)