Sunday, 25 February 2007

Despite my misgivings about the current American administration, I must admit to having an odd affection for the American people as a whole. (I suppose it's a matter of hating the sin and not the sinner.)

Despite the difficulty in convincing non-Americans that they (America) are still a democracy at anything beyond face value, they were still responsible for bringing many of the elements crucial to the so-called modern democratic state together, including the pivotal concepts incorporated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. High water points in American history, in my opinion, have included the revolution of 1776 [although, as Howard Zinn and others remind us, the Revolution was directed by rich, tax-dodging, slave-owning white men], the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the era of progressive reforms, and the less hedonistic elements of the so-called counter-culture of the 1960s. [As Samuel Huntington observed, '[t]he essence of the democratic surge of the 1960s was a general challenge to systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, this challenge manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services.']

Unfortunately, they appear to have allowed their political system to be hijacked by automatons and now the margin of real difference between their two dominant parties is so small as to make no difference. Maybe that's what is so frustrating. They have had so much potential and they have squandered it. As the saying goes, no matter who you vote for the government always gets in.

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