Wednesday, August 20, 2014

USA: Of "American Exceptionalism" and tarnished brands.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
The above artwork was done in the spirit of the Obama "Hope" poster by Shepard Fairey (which itself was subject to litigation by the way), and depicts current Texas Governor Rick Perry in his mugshot. On the one hand, this can be seen as a "democratic act" a la "no-one-is-above-the-law", but Perry was supposed to be one of the candidates for the 2016 elections in the US, and this in itself bodes well badly as to what kind of politicians are running there and what kind of governance this will enduce (the "oops" moment in question goes back to his failed presidential bid of 2012 when he forgot during one of the debates with fellow Republican contenders the name of the third government agency he would shut down if elected).
But the above pales in comparison to what is happening in Furgeson, Missouri, with protests, chaos, and riots which followed the killing of an unarmed (and reportedly with hands up in the air) Michael Brown by a police officer.
The notion of "American Exceptionalism" - an unwavering faith in the country, a "USA! USA!" shouted during every Olympics when other nations would try to snatch the gold medal from the rightfully-deserving American team, the "America the beautiful", the "land of the free, home of the brave" - were put to the forefront by Ronald Reagan to an America trying to get over the (Nixon) Watergate scandal and the Vietnam war blunders.
And should you think this notion has gone out of style, look no further than Hillary Clinton (supposedly the front runner of the Democratic Party for the 2016 elections) who still parroted that notion on CBS very recently only to repeat the notion in her interview with the Atlantic saying "we don’t even tell our own story very well these days” which makes it look as if - with the right narrative (think pre-emptive attack on Iraq with fake evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction) - the whole thing would be fine and dandy again.
Of course it's all pretending that the Snowden NSA revelations did not happen, or Julian Assange never existed, or that the US sided with every wrong side in recent history, or how powerless they are in all international conflicts to impose their view (including the oh-so-loved-ally Israel whose PM Benjamin Netanyahu said to the US "don't ever second guess me on Hamas again").
However it is sobering to see US enemies having fun at their expense publicly, such as Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin who tweeted the following photo:
Source The Guardian
Even Egypt is lecturing the US as to how it ought to handle the crisis in Furgeson (crowd control is a kind of a speciality for Egypt perhaps), and there's a general feeling of glee and hand-rubbing. All such acts of international schadenfreude would have been unthinkable a few years back.
The bully of the neighborhood is still delusional about his grandeurs, but to everyone else he is a down-on-his-luck slob living in times gone-by.
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