Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pilger on American Democracy

There are few journalists who cut so close to the political bone like John Pilger.

The selection that follows is from his article entitled "The Danse Macabre of US-Style Democracy" (23 Jan 2008).

Pilger is absolutely on-point here:

"What struck me, living and working in the United States, was that presidential campaigns were a parody, entertaining and often grotesque. They are a ritual danse macabre of flags, balloons and bullshit, designed to camouflage a venal system based on money power, human division and a culture of permanent war.

Travelling with Robert Kennedy in 1968 was eye-opening for me. To audiences of the poor, Kennedy would present himself as a saviour. The words "change" and "hope" were used relentlessly and cynically. For audiences of fearful whites, he would use racist codes, such as "law and order". With those opposed to the invasion of Vietnam, he would attack "putting American boys in the line of fire", but never say when he would withdraw them. That year (after Kennedy was assassinated), Richard Nixon used a version of the same, malleable speech to win the presidency. Thereafter, it was used successfully by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and the two Bushes. Carter promised a foreign policy based on "human rights" – and practised the very opposite. Reagan’s "freedom agenda" was a bloodbath in central America. Clinton "solemnly pledged" universal health care and tore down the last safety net of the Depression.

Nothing has changed. Barack Obama is a glossy Uncle Tom who would bomb Pakistan. Hillary Clinton, another bomber, is anti-feminist. John McCain’s one distinction is that he has personally bombed a country. They all believe the US is not subject to the rules of human behaviour, because it is "a city upon a hill", regardless that most of humanity sees it as a monumental bully which, since 1945, has overthrown 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed 30 nations, destroying millions of lives."

Nuff said about the American presidential farce.

This post also appears at Indigenist Intelligence Review.



Dade said...

My friend, Ridwan, the truth of Mr. Pilger's comments cannot be denied. But, like you said in your comment on my blog: we have no choice but to live in hope against despair.

I derive what hope I have from men with greater minds than mine: Desmond Tutu, Jean Paul II, Mahatma Gandhi. If these men did not despair, I assume it is because they saw something, with their greater understanding, that I cannot. In short, I take it on faith.

Peace, dear friend.

Ridwan said...

Thanks kindly for your comment Dade.

I think Pilger's analysis is not about despair.

Instead, Pilger places into context what must be recognized in realistic terms.

There can be no real change, no hope even, in gestures and conformity.

Pilger's analysis presses toward meaningful democratic action.

The kind of action that drove Tutu and even Gandhi to stand against cyclical oppression.

I believe that there is a need for women and men of conscience to stand against the oppression that is American politics and its global reach.

The place to start is to remove one's consent from being represented by the American empire.

Be well Dade.