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We, the  Exceptionals

by Rajani Kanth

American Exceptionalism?

Agreed.

Yes.

I can swear to it, having spent  most of my life here.

We are the exceptionals  (even if we say so ourselves).

*

To examine,  further.

We are defined , in one respect (of  this uniqueness), by our werewolf lusting after the chimera of ‘freedom’.

Which is oft synonymous with obeisance to another similarly  consecrated  delusion called

‘happiness’.

Yes.

We are free.

Nay,  free-er (than others).

In fact, we may be the free-est.

But,  in what way?

Let me  extol  some freedoms , amongst many,  that may otherwise  go unnoticed.

*

For starters, we’re ,  arguably, the least informed of all the major industrialised

nations, i.e., we are, ever so blissfully:  ‘fact-free’.

Barring the 1% of the educated ( I know:  but let’s exaggerate,  a little)  most of us know zip about the nature of the  outside world ,i.e.,  the many nations that our Intrepid governors own and operate (mostly, on their own behalf).

Mark Twain quipped that God invented war, so Americans could learn geography.

If so,  S/he (i.e.,  ‘god’)  was  much too hopeful.

We’ve been at war  93% of our history  – 222 out of 239 Years – Since 1776: with no solid gains, apparent as yet,  amongst the populace, even  as regards  simple geo-knowledge.

The idiotisation of the populace – a  normal desideratum of hegemony – is near complete.

*

Next, as the most Amoral of all human societies in the history of the planet, we are also, insouciantly:   ‘conscience-free’.

We must be:  since the government has conducted  wholesale slaughters of overseas civilians, in pursuit of state policy,  for decades now , with few  batting an eyelid, or missing a beat.

If Congress is any indication, as witnessed during the recent SOTU  address ,  the appetite for  even  more bloodshed is yet alive and well – and cheering.

As one views the political landscape, one can , daily, witness  gender combating gender, race fighting racereligion crossing religion, restroom pitted against restroom,   and so on-   as  diversionary, divisive, politics is ever  granted full reign – to  extra loud attention from the media: but few  there  to mourn the gruesome casualties  of runaway Militarism ( nor the innumerable victims of  the  Casino economy),   despite their horrifying  toll (of course, even fewer would be heard, if they did speak out ).

In fact, au contraire,  a TV news anchor , recently, nearly  soiled himself  praising the ‘beauty ‘ of our killing machines.

In some irony,  George  Washington University  had awarded him  an honorary  ‘Doctorate of Humane  Letters’ ( though  -I’d hope – not for that  choice quip).

More prosaically, we have, in wilful  misanthropy,  calmly murdered more than 20 million innocent civilians in 37 nations , since WW2.

And it’s far from over yet : for we are  still at war – declared , or not – with some 11 countries right now.

How many could  even name these countries?

And how many  know why:  or ,  even care?

No,   as yet , no inspiring  memorials to that holocaust:  few movies, few best selling novellas, few tv series.

No surprise, naturally.

We should know at least this , if we know anything of world history, these last  four hundred years: black and brown lives simply  don’t  matter.

But wait.

A red line may have been crossed, by now, in this regard.

We may have, finally,  gone beyond  bigotry?

Perhaps  it wouldn’t  matter any more,  in this brave new  Neo-Con World, even were  these foreigners to be  white (say, e.g., Russians) : we  would  still dispense murder (in the spirit  of  ‘equal opportunity’).

Of course, for the  sprawling defense-financial  complex, no scruples , of any denomination,  can exist: for there’s big  money in them thar missiles.

*

Then we  are, also, unmindingly, often unabashedly,   ‘truth-free’.

Indeed, the system ,  quite proudly,  flaunts its ‘post-truth’ nature.

That was, likely,  a gift from our Post-Modernist  English Departments ,  perhaps, steeped in quizzing all ‘narratives’ (yes:  injustice, iniquity, exploitation,   are but  so many  ‘discourses’)  as suspect?

The fact is plain.

Everything is  gamed, everything rigged.

The  sheer scale of  the rank corruption is breathtaking:  a case in point – a trifling $21 trillion went ‘missing’ in the DOD,  and the Department of Housing and Urban Development , between 1998-2015.

And, an  audit , called years later ,  is  said to  have, simply,  ‘failed’.

The ensuing silence, on the subject – from media or government –  is ear-splitting.

If that doesn’t  that make us Numero  Uno, and by a stretch! : for who else could  ‘lose’ $21 trillion,  and not give a hoot?

We may not know how it was lost, but we can  likely guess at who found it.

Chicanery, historically,  was ever an Anglo-Norman  ruling-elite penchant (vide., the hoary  ‘perfidious Albion’ characterisation), and was one of the Two  strengths that helped gain them world mastery (cannon was the Other); and the US and the UK  still  virtually lead the world in generating,  incessantly,   ever more blatant ,and bizarre,  weapons of  ingenious, grand ,  mass deception(s) : and, what’s more,   with  such efforts meeting with supernal success.

Indeed,  Media fabrications , in both countries set –  and  exceed –  the global gold  standard in the genre, as but daily fare: with only their governments  able to give them any real competition.

No wonder they’re   all so  riled up about Assange!

He ripped  off the veils, revealing the hideous ugliness beneath.

Oops.

The post of Liar-in Chief has not (yet)  been created,  but would make for some  sprightly competition  from many high luminaries, I would imagine:  from  Church, State , and Media.

It should , in fairness, be  made a Trans-Atlantic  tourney.

Maybe,  we might even  choose one,  annually, by  open election?

Why not?: it’d  be the American Way.

One must keep an open mind, of course.

It might,  as a contest,  well end in a tie (since we lack  the  old, 5  Sigma,  Pinocchio test) ?

*

Finally,  we are, also, and in  a significant measure, ‘culture-free’.

In fact, Philistinism might well define our present ruling geist.

Barring the autistic indulgences of the rich, expressed in the genre of  the Lincoln Centre, Broadway, et. al.,  and the  scant few who still function under the vanishing rubric of ars gratia artis ,   most of us live in a squalor of spirit that virtually defines a Modernist existence, shuttling between the binary placements of work and  home :with crass, even sordid,  hedonism  taking up any  residual leisure time remaining.

A personal  anecdote suffices.

In Kosovo , the UN, as part of its pacification mission,  sent  young Volunteers from  all major  nations to help.

On the first holiday granted them, here is what transpired.

Every other  young national went  out , exploring their novel geographic  and cultural  environs, all day.

Except our exceptionals.

They went (conspicuously, for being  few)  straight to the bar lounges: and spent the day in drunken revels , till closing time.

*

So much for some of the  little noticed ‘freedoms’.

But, perhaps, I left out a few?

Let me hasten to make amends: no, I  wouldn’t  wish to damn the  enterprise  with  faint praise.

Here’s a few other liberties we possess.

We  (plebs) are  ever free to starve (food-free), not have a job (income-free), be homeless (shelter-free), be sans health coverage, be broke,  or simply drop dead  from insufficient heat in a polar vortex winter,  sure : but  still  free to walk into the Plaza Hotel , any day,  or night, and order dinner, like any city nabob,  despite  those minor disabilities.

And none dare stop us: no, sir.

And , to be sure, the system  is , also, equally fair to millionaires (yes, the 1%  may  also not be discriminated against): they , too, can sleep under bridges,  or lie on hostile-design benches, as per choice, mixing  with the shelter-free – with no one looking askance.

Now that’s more than mere freedom:  that’s  real equality, in my book.

In fact, I’ll tell you wherein we are most equal.

It’s  where rich and poor can both ride, helter skelter,  in the same, out-of control,   Streetcar named Dystopia.

Only in God’s Own Country.

The cup, surely, runneth over?

So many freedoms, so little time…

*

So, there it is.

We are, truly, even staggeringly,  exceptional.

Q.E.D.

Who  would dare contradict that?

Certainly, not moi.

But one  gets  the mild impression that  a little dialing back of our special dispensation(s)

might  not be  a bad idea?

Of course, I didn’t  mention some rarefied  ‘freedoms’  that  yet elide us: the freedom to care, nurture, give, succor.

Recently,  a Good Samaritan  trying  to feed the poor  got  swiftly arrested.

But, who knows?

With incremental ‘progress’,  some day, in the far future,  altruism will not be  deemed a crime, and we’ll simply  be let off with a strong caution?

*

Consider who we are, then,  in  this short, pithy,  catechism form

A-social.

A-moral  –

A-merican ?

A-men!

But I  also wonder: could be  it’s only  thanks to the grace of  a  benign Providence  that we remainexceptionals (can you imagine the state of being , if the entire world took after us?)?

??

[©R.Kanth, 2019]  

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Professor Rajani Kanth, Author of Coda, and Expiations, is Trustee of the World Peace Congress

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