10
Oct
08

The Ugly AmeriKKKan

“It” had to happen. Of course “it” has deep roots and its inculcation and reinforcement has been ongoing, and “it” is nothing new. By “it” I mean that deep seated racism, fear, and hate mongering would come to the surface and out in the open in the U.S. presidential election. I do not advocate America-bashing, especially as I am talking about Amerikkka, a notion of nationhood predicated on ignorance of the world, white supremacy, and hatred for Others. Amerikka does not dwell inside America alone, but can be found in Canada on the front lines of barricades erected by First Nations in protest against land seizures, and can be found in France with state-sponsored Islamophobia, in the U.K., in Denmark, and so on. Amerikkka stands out these days most clearly as a NATO phenomenon, the alliance that has plunged itself into Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan now, bringing violence and hatred directly to a nation that never attacked any NATO member.

Things have taken an uglier turn this week, with Amerikkka intent on showing the world its ugliest face. In a Washington Post report for Tues., Oct. 7, 2008, titled “Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame,” we see some of the nasty evidence of what happens when unscrupulous and ignorant politicians, desperate to secure an edge against their own dismal failure, resort to race-baiting and fear-mongering. Sarah Palin, who when adrift comes across as a foggy tag cloud of buzz words, spoke in unusually clear terms when promising to propel hate:

Okay, so, Florida, you know that you’re going to have to hang on to your hats, because from now until Election Day, it may get kind of rough.

The Post takes us inside the rally:

Barack Obama, she told 8,000 fans at a rally here [Fort Myers, Florida] Monday afternoon, “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!” This followed her earlier accusation that the Democrat pals around with terrorists. “This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America,” she told the Clearwater crowd. “I’m afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.” The crowd replied with boos….

Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

The reception had been better in Clearwater, where Palin, speaking to a sea of “Palin Power” and “Sarahcuda” T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. “One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” she said. (“Boooo!” said the crowd.) “And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,’ ” she continued. (“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.)

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

The Nation provides us with even nastier glimpses into the McCain-Palin lynch mob rallies. Ari Berman in his article for Oct. 8, 2008, titled “McCain’s Ayers Attacks Backfire,” writes:

Sarah Palin was on the verge of inciting a race riot in northern Florida yesterday. At her rallies, the Republican faithful hurled a racial epithet at a black sound man, and screamed “kill him” and “treason!” at Barack Obama.

Boy, you guys just get it!” Palin responded. This reaction, presumably, was what Palin had in mind when she urged John McCain to “take the gloves off.”

The interesting thing about what has taken form on the political landscape in the body of Sarah Palin is the return to core Amerikkkan values: it’s not just Muslims who are the problem — Zionists don’t take heart just yet — but also Jews. This is part of the traditional core of the KKK value system, where Blacks and Jews were targeted as threats, as dangerous Others, as contaminants. And what do we read from a mainstream source such as TIME (“Does Sarah Palin Have a Pentecostal Problem?” Thurs., Oct. 9, 2008)?

Palin’s religious background must initially have been seen as a positive to McCain campaign vetters, who assumed that her faith would appeal to the conservative base of the party that has always been suspicious of McCain. But ever since she joined the ticket in late August, the Alaska governor’s various religious affiliations have caused headaches. First came reports that her pastor at the nondenominational Wasilla Bible Church was connected to Jews for Jesus, an organization that seeks to convert Jews to Christianity. Prominent Jewish leaders, including the co-chair of McCain’s Jewish outreach effort, have since demanded to know whether Palin also believes that Jews must be converted….

And finally, a videotape surfaced of a 2005 service at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church, the Pentecostal church that Palin attended for most of her life. In the scene captured on video, Palin stands at the front of the sanctuary while a visiting African pastor prays that God will help her gubernatorial campaign and protect her “from every form of witchcraft.” Later in the same service, the pastor complains that “Israelites” held too many prominent positions in business, a comment that has further alienated Jewish voters.

Of course to suggest that this reflects Palin’s beliefs is to engage in her same guilt-by-association tactics…but with one important difference. TIME is not some underground magazine. What it writes is very public, and read fairly widely, both online and offline. Unlike Barack Obama, who  engaged in gross overkill in condemning, rejecting, disowning, and repudiating those he was associated with whose beliefs are different from his own…we have heard only silence from Palin on these fronts. No rejection, no condemnation. She is free to define herself as against bigotry and racial hatred, but instead chooses silence about her associations, while defining the Other in fanning the flames of racism and bigotry among her own followers. Until she corrects the record, the message is fairly clear. This is a Crusader leading citizens (see the videos below) who seemingly have been radically separated from anything resembling good sense, civilization, and humanity, having been intellectually and morally brutalized by churches, media and an education system in the gutter and by generations of nurtured hatreds.

As I said, one could only hope that all of this was confined to the U.S. alone. The fact of the matter is that we can find this at home too. In my case, home happens to be Canada at the moment, and I have previously spoken of the hysteria whipped up over “Native terrorism” every time a group of Mohawk women gather with placards (see here).

It is difficult to deny that the U.S. has taken on many of the same traits of the so-called “failed states” it claims to see in the world: heightened domestic poverty, violence at home and abroad, religious fundamentalism, widespread ignorance, and a “lousy economy” indicative of a “lousy government” (that was John McCain’s own characterization of Iran in his first televised debate with Barack Obama, ironic words indeed).

When John McCain misspoke recently, referring to his fellow Americans as “my fellow prisoners,” he said a mouthful: this really appears to be a culture incapable of escaping itself, as if waiting for reform by the most drastic means possible: environmental breakdown, an economic depression, humiliation abroad, and perhaps civil war at home. It’s as if the people we see in these videos have given up all hope on themselves, submerging themselves in old and worn anger systems, seeking refuge from memory and reason in an anger that erases all doubt, remorse, and impending anguish. These do not look or sound like courageous, enthusiastic, progressive people. Instead they come across as goons, and mothers of goons, looking for a fight, possessed by criminal ideas.

When viewing some of the mob members in the videos below, I confess my weakness: it is nearly impossible to sympathize with the self-made plight of these people, and I wish they would face the calamities they cause worldwide with greater immediacy at home. If their self-harm could be contained at home, one might become more generous. At this point, whatever “tragedies” serve to erode the U.S.’ “great power” status can only, regardless of the alternatives and short-term consequences, herald a vast improvement to the global human condition. The only chance many Americans have of escaping their worst selves is to start by inverting the meanings propounded by their leadership: the parasitic oligarchs as some would call them, the ultra-wealthy and coercive holders of state and financial power. When the likes of McCain complain about “radical leftists,” it is precisely then that Americans should seek these people out, that underground of American self-criticism that seeks serious social transformation, Americans not Amerikkkans, ones whose courage deserves our support so that they will persevere.

“That One”

“That one” is a phrase one might use normally to refer to objects, or to criminals in a lineup, to children, to dogs…to slaves. That one: singular for “those people.” Just look at the sinister and maniacal look on McCain’s face as he says those words, as if to tell the audience: “See your golden boy here, he who dwarfs my manhood? Right, let me tell you something ugly about him…it.”

“Kill him [Obama]!” at McCain’s rally

“Kill him [Obama]!” at Palin’s rally

The McCain-Palin Mob, part 1

The McCain-Palin Mob, part 2

…and, the Ugly Canukkk

A news report filed by the CBC in the spring of 2006, featuring reactions against the Six Nations blockade at Caledonia, Ontario.

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