As a Kiwi – I’m calling that remark out as complete bollocks.
The US has been referring to itself as the greatest nation on Earth ever since I can remember. America is like a big flickering TV screen that draws the rest of the world into either stupors of allegiance or apoplexies of fury. No nation on the globe can afford to be disinterested in what America has up its sleeve, or what its packing. The US is militarily forceful, economically powerful, ideologically potent, culturally influential and politically commanding. There may have been a time where we could have given the United States of America a hat tip for being ‘all that’ but that time is not now.
Since the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and other sovereign states, since the economic crisis of 2008, since the scourge of Reality TV, America has suffered from its decline in moral authority. No one can argue that the US has might and influence, but power without morality is simple despotism and right now the US is lurching dramatically away from the democratic ideals it so loudly proclaims as its life blood. America has cashed in its democracy for a cynical, soulless oligarchy.
And that has an impact on the rest of the world. Our economic systems are being contaminated by the inequality that is so resoundingly normalized in the United States. We are being dragged into wars not of our making. The Christian Right is infecting and inflaming the churches with its outrageous condemnation of minorities, our local television content is being erased by an endless vomitus spew of thinkless drivel, and our politicians are being reduced to ridiculous sycophants in the face of American Presidential hubris.
So don’t tell me that I don’t get an opinion!
Besides which – I’m a Mormon and that means that I get my spiritual and religious marching orders from Utah. I’m (culturally at least) part-American.
Unfortunately the international community has to pray that the good sense of the American electorate will prevail and they will avoid voting for idiots. George W. Bush was a spineless cretin and the consequences of his regime on the lives of millions of people will ricochet through families in the US and beyond for generations to come. Obama is aspirational, smooth and elegant, but he’s been weak where more strength was required.
And now we non-Americans will be subjected the choice Americans make at the polls in November, and the pre-show circus has many of us dumbfounded.
Interestingly, what I have seen is a new wave of political consciousness emerging. Across the US border the Canadians opted for a progressive leader in Justin Trudeau. In the UK the Scottish National Party swept away the British Labour Party with its young socially progressive policies that speak to the need for economic equality. In New Zealand the current right wing National government ministers can’t go out in public these days without sexual devices, organic material or insults being hurled at them. A growing intolerance for the neo-liberal hijack of Western democracies is escalating.
Except, it would seem, in the US where a heated cohort of the politically and economically and socially disenfranchised is rallying around Trump. Of course he loves it, and so does the media – its all spectacle and America loves the show! But it’s a dangerous show.
The US has created a beast that it will struggle to rein in. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both provide a remedy that offers radical change. The difference is that Sanders’ position is morally robust, philosophically profound and utterly fearless. Trump’s message is morally bankrupt, philosophically impoverished and utterly fearful.
But Trump’s message is catching because it doesn’t require thought or intelligence – it just requires feeling. Trump offers a simple but inflammatory language to the complexities of social marginalization. While he is blaming the most vulnerable for the American’s messes, those who are responsible are enjoying their corporate winnings at their holiday homes in The Hamptons.
I’ve listened to the both the GOP and the Democrat candidates. I have to admit struggling with the GOP debates and speeches because they are meteorically senseless. The Republican old guard ought to be worried about the Grand Old Party because it seems to have dramatically hemorrhaged intellect.
I love that Hillary is a serious female candidate – but I don’t trust her – she’s too motivated by her own political aspirations. She doesn’t strike me as someone who would occupy the Oval Office with enough vision, intellectual sophistication and moral commitment to put her soul and body on the line for the radical change the USA so desperately needs.
The way I see it, America’s, and the world’s best hope is Bernie Sanders.
A nation that so fiercely speaks of freedom must have a leader who understands what freedom truly requires of its seekers. And Sanders is the only candidate with the integrity to speak to what the US requires to drive a course shift from its current dissipated descent into the abyss of moral decline.
So as someone who won’t get a vote in November – give Bernie a tick so we non-Americans can breath a bit easier.