Monday, April 22, 2024

A cry for Rome, before the Fall …. 

America is not losing to its foreign enemies, rather it is falling victim to its self-inflicted, domestic wounds.

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Ever since Barrack Obama’s presidency came to the fore, we have witnessed a rhetoric in America scarcely seen before. A loathing for what America stands for, on all counts. Not that the U.S. is infallible or that its system is a beacon to the world, but the amount of anger, of contempt and of hatred that the Obamas (the President and his wife) carried against the very fabric of America was simply astonishing. “People who cling to their guns and to their bibles” was how Obama described his opponents. If one reads the unwritten subtitles this meant, White, Christians, who believe in the Second Amendment. Let us dissect this narrative.

White settlers built the U.S. as we know it today starting from the landing on Plymouth Rock. They were Christians fleeing the horror of European religious persecution and looking for safer and more prosperous shores. None of said promises were guaranteed, but they forged their destiny in the wilderness out of sheer will and the vow to never live under tyranny, again. The tyranny that early Americans were fleeing was a triple-headed European Demon: The Absolute Monarchy, the Overpowering Church, and the Privileged Landed Gentry. Irrespective of the odds, those White, Christian, gun-toting settlers took on the most formidable superpower of all times namely, Great Britain. They did not shy away from an asymmetric fight, nor did they excuse the excesses of the British because they hailed from the same race or religion. They exposed naked tyranny as having no color or creed. By waging their Revolutionary War, the early Americans did not stop till their country was freed from occupants no matter how much cloaked in regal attire or enshrined in a similar Anglo-Saxon culture and common law traditions. The Tree of Liberty had to be watered by the blood of patriots, and so it was.

Back to the anti-American venom of recent times. This self-hatred monologue was repeated in the speeches of Hillary Clinton when describing Republican supporters as “deplorables”. Again, the unwritten subtitles meant the same crowd but more so. This time around, the attack added a touch of class warfare. It pitted the elites of the Coasts (East and West alike) against the Fly-Over States. As if to be American, in the eyes of Hillary Clinton, was to be essentially an Ivy-Leaguer, a Cappuccino-sipping professional, and someone with uber liberal views on everything from abortion to globalization. Views that were in synch with the crowds at Davos but not in Denver. People like her, lived off State largess and promoted continuous welfare to minority groups, not in the spirit of empathy, but because they needed to stay on the Federal payroll to vote Democrats. And, if locals were not enough to support the party’s platform, the Rio Grande would be wide open to accommodate millions of illegals who would toe the line.

From the wombs of this elitist anti-Americanism came the crass populism of Donald Trump. The backlash was inevitable if not predictable. Trump, in his counter-rhetoric harangued his voters with the idea of “Making America Great Again”. Here, the unwritten subtitles translated into a message filled with undertones of xenophobia, paranoia, and a delusional concept of a manifest destiny for grandeur by the sheer miracle of being American. All the deeds that America had done to the world -from the Marshall Plan to NATO, to the Apollo mission and the Internet, and from the fall of the Berlin War to the War on Terror- had to be repaid, with accrued interest. As if America was a banker who for years disbursed cheap loans to the planet and Trump, was its chosen debt collector. As long as Europe paid for NATO, and Russia stopped sending gas via Nord Stream 1 & 2, and the Saudis paid for their protection, and China paid for taking America’s jobs, the globe would be rebalanced and, America would become great again.

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When one is faced with a U.S. that either constantly apologizes for its excesses or repeatedly seeks reimbursement of its deeds, one’s natural reaction is to dismiss such perspectives and look somewhere else for leadership. More so, when the world sees an America fatally obsessing over cultural issues from Wokeness to the Rainbow Coalition and from gun control laws to abortion rights, and lately, dissenting about Hunter Biden’s cocaine addiction vs. Trump’s porn stars addiction, the world realizes, and rightly so, that the U.S. has lost its moral compass and is no longer entitled to either lecture or scold the rest of the world.

Ariel Durant was a Russian-born American researcher and writer. She was the coauthor of The Story of Civilization with her husband, Will Durant. Her greatest quote was: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”. 

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