Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools, by Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder is half Canadian and half American. When I read this I thought she can't say that, but I think she speaks for billions of people around the globe. Her Counterpunch essay is reprinted in full.

There is something I am going to try and explain here after watching the Democratic National Convention this evening that will invite the scorn of many of my friends. But the words are gagging my throat and my stomach is twisted and sick and I have to vomit this out. The anti-americanism in me is about to explode and land god knows where as my rage is well beyond reason. And I, by heritage, half American in a way that makes me “more” American than almost anyone else in this country except for the true Americans, the American Indians, am in utter denial tonight that I am, as you are, American as well.

I am half Canadian, I was brought up there, with very different values than you Americans hold, and tonight — after the endless spit ups and boasts and rants about the greatness of American militarism, and praise for American military strength, and boasts about wiping out ISIS, and America being the strongest country on earth, and an utterly inane story from a woman whose son died in Obama’s war, about how she got to cry in gratitude on Obama’s shoulder — tonight I feel deeply Canadian. Every subtle lesson I was ever subliminally given about the bullies across the border and their rudeness and their lack of education and their self-given right to bomb whoever they wanted in the world for no reason other than that they wanted something the people in the other country had, and their greed, came oozing to the surface of my psyche.

I just got back from a rather fierce walk beside the Yellowstone River here in Montana, trying to let the mountains in the distance reconnect me to some place of goodness in my soul, but I couldn’t find it. The scenery was as exquisite as ever, but it just couldn’t touch the rage in my heart. The visions of all the dead children in Syria that Hillary Clinton helped to kill; the children bombed to bits in Afghanistan and Pakistan from Obama’s drones, the grisly chaos of Libya, the utter wasteland of Iraq, the death and destruction everywhere caused by American military intervention. The Ukraine, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, you name it — your country has bombed it or destroyed its civilian life in some basic way.

When I heard all the Americans cheering for the military and the pronouncements of might coming from the speakers in the Wells Fargo Centre, I loathed you. I loathed every single one of you. I knew in my gut that what I was taught as a child was true, which is that YOU are the enemy. YOU are the country to be feared. YOU are the country to be disgusted by. YOU are ignorant. And your greed and self-satisfaction and unearned pride knows no bounds.

I am not an American tonight. I reject my Puritan ancestors who landed in this country in 1648. I reject the words I voiced at my citizenship ceremony. I reject every moment of thrilling discovery I ever had in this country.

You people have no idea what it is like for people from other countries to hear you boast and cheer for your guns and your bombs and your soldiers and your murderous military leaders and your war criminals and your murdering and conscienceless Commander in Chief. All those soaring words are received by the rest of us, by us non-Americans, by all the cells in our body, as absolutely repugnant and obscene.

And there you all are tonight, glued to your TVs and your computers, your hearts swelled with pride because you belong to the strongest country on Earth, cheering on your Murderer President. Ignorant of the entire world’s repulsion. You kill and you kill and you kill, and still you remain proud.
We are fools.


Peter Pan said...

Joe Bageant... and now Margot Kidder. Their eyes are open.

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Magpie said...

Although I never met him personally, I became a fan of Joe Bageant after reading "Deer Hunting with Jesus".


Ignacio said...

A lot of USAians oversees are shocked when someone tells them they are not 'exceptional' and that USA is not the 'best country in the World' (not by most sane standards at least), this comes specially true from liberal minded americans who many times at core are also possessed by the same kind of magical thinking even if they are not aware as their 'conservative' counterparts.

Peter Pan said...

I would recommend JB's writings for everyone, and specifically for Canadians who are uncertain of the difference between Canadians and Americans.

Marian Ruccius said...

Hey, Margot Kidder can say this because she is American, but Canadians specialize in -- we have a competitive advantage in -- hypocrisy. We just got rid, after 10 years, of a government that was far to the right of Obama, and which marched to footsteps of AMERICAN republicans. We abetted the coups in Haiti and Honduras, spent a decade as the hardest troops in Afghanistan (in Kandahar), worsened the lot of our first nations, exploited the tar sands (some of the dirtiest oil anywhere), were the most rabid supporters of Netanyahu and Israeli west bank colonialists, were the world's leading opponents of Kyoto and subsequent climate change measures. Our current government is sucking up to Ukrainian ultra-nationalists to appease the huge Canadian population of Ukrainian origin, and we are walking in lock step with the NATO-EuroConsensus in provoking Russia (we sending units to Latvia, in an empty show, since there is nothing we could do to impede Russia). I could go on...

Margot Kidder, y'know, I know where she is coming from, but it is better to conceive this in class terms than in national ones.

Peter Pan said...

Harper did some damage, but he was stymied by Canadian culture. I'm not happy with the sycophantic posturing of the Canadian government, but that's all it is. It's not representative of the Canada I live in. Harper flushed our international reputation down the crapper and he did it without the support of a majority of the public. The current government is in a similar situation - a majority of seats without a majority of the vote.