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When pressed, I sometimes reply: "I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole."

"Why do you hate America?" This is a remarkably easy question to provoke. One might, for instance, expose elements of this nation's brutal foreign policy. Ask a single probing question about, say, U.S. complicity in the overthrow of governments in Guatemala, Iran, or Chile and thin-skinned patriots (sic) will come out of the woodwork to defend their country's honor by accusing you of being "anti-American." Of course, this allegation might lead me to ponder how totalitarian a culture this must be to even entertain such a concept, but I'd rather employ the vaunted Arundhati defense. The incomparable Ms. Roy says: "What does the term 'anti-American' mean? Does it mean you are anti-jazz or that you're opposed to freedom of speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias?" (I'm a tree hugger remember? I don't argue with sequoias.)

When pressed, I sometimes reply: "I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole." But, after the laughter dies down, I have a confession to make: If by "America" they mean the elected/appointed officials and the corporations that own them, well, I guess I do hate that America-with justification.

Among many reasons, I hate America for the near-extermination and subsequent oppression of its indigenous population. I hate it for its role in the African slave trade and for dropping atomic bombs on civilians. I hate its control of institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. I hate it for propping up brutal dictators like Suharto, Pinochet, Duvalier, Hussein, Marcos, and the Shah of Iran. I hate America for its unconditional support for Israel. I hate its bogus two-party system, its one-size-fits-all culture, and its income gap. I could go on for pages but I'll sum up with this: I hate America for being a hypocritical white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

After a paragraph like that, you know what comes next: If you hate America so much, why don't you leave? Leave America? That would potentially put me on the other end of U.S. foreign policy. No thanks.

I like how Paul Robeson answered that question before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956: "My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?"

Since none of my people died to build anything, I rely instead on William Blum, who declares, "I'm committed to fighting U.S. foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast, and I try to be an ulcer inside of it."

Needless to say, none of the above does a damn thing to placate the yellow ribbon crowd. It seems what offends flag-wavers most is when someone like me makes use of the freedom they claim to adore. According to their twisted logic, I am ungrateful for my liberty if I have the audacity to exercise it. If I make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, somehow I'm not worthy of having the freedom to make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. These so-called patriots not only claim to celebrate freedom while refusing my right to exploit it, they also ignore the social movements that fought for and won such freedoms.

There's plenty of tolerated public outcry against the Bush administration and the occupation of Iraq, but it's neither fashionable nor acceptable to go as far as saying, no, I do not support the troops and yes, I hate what America does. Fear of recrimination allows the status quo to control the terms of debate. Until we voice what is in our hearts and have the nerve to admit what we hate...we will never create something that can be loved.

Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.

Originally posted to coolobserver on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 02:22 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk

    I enjoy your essays on Counterpunch too.

    (-7.88, -6.10) "Susan Collins is worse than garlic breath and stinky old socks together" me, out of context

    by Nulwee on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 02:21:41 PM PST

  •  Meh (18+ / 0-)

    You hate America because it was stolen recently.  The Norman English stole Britain just as much, and the Chinese stole China (they call it 'unification') and if you aren't a native of New Guinea, some other group of people lived where you do before your people got there.

    I hate people who think it is easy to know what good and evil is in others, and people who think they can tell anything worth knowing about another person by the passport they carry.  But, truth be told, it all isn't anything I didn't hear long before you from some guy giving out flyers outside a Jello Biafra concert.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 02:25:08 PM PST

  •  On behalf of America. . . (10+ / 0-)

    the feeling is mutual.

    Don't blame me -- I voted for Weicker.

    by LarryInNYC on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 02:32:57 PM PST

  •  Are you one of the right wingers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hhex65, InStride, The Angry Rakkasan

    that has infiltrated DailyKos?

    Perhaps Lulu should add you to her list?

  •  I Hear You (0+ / 0-)

    Believe me, I hear you loud and clear.

    If "America" were anything but a word I might hate it too; the rest I agree with and then some.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 02:46:40 PM PST

  •  It's not a matter of "hating" America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    object16, skrekk, Autarkh

    It's a matter of changing how you see America and how you teach the history of America.

    You really can't undertand America unless you put slavery and black Americans at the very center of the historical narrative, not on the periphery, not as one important narrative among many, but as the privilaged, central narrative.

    A good example of how this is done would be something like A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Another one would be "Sundown Towns" by James Lowen.

    A good example of what needs to be struggled against is something like "The Progressive Tradition" by Richard Hofstadter. Hofstadter is a great history but the chronogy of this book runs from 1890 to 1940 what's commonly known as the "nadir" of race relations and Hofstadter never mentions the loss of the vote by blacks in 1890, the open support of Woodrow Wilson for the Ku Klux Klan, etc.

    Right now when it comes to looking at it's history, the United States is about halfway between Germany (which came to terms with the Holocaust in the 1960s and 70s) and Japan (which has never confronted its invasion of China.

  •  America is a terrible country (snark) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DigDug, Drgrishka1

    after all, how many other countries give you the RIGHT to write what you just wrote?

    Today's Kossack - fighting charges of anti-semitism one Jew at a time.

    by dmsarad on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 03:10:41 PM PST

    •  Reporters Without Borders (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urizen, skrekk

      Actually ranks the United States fairly low in terms of freedom of the press.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      53rd.

      •  Not too persuasive (0+ / 0-)

        RWB compiles and publishes an annual ranking of countries based upon the organization's assessment of their press freedom records. Small countries, such as Malta, and Andorra, are excluded from this report. The 2006 list was published on 24 October 2006.

        The report is based on a questionnaire sent to partner organisations of Reporters Without Borders (14 freedom of expression groups in five continents) and its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists.[13]

        The survey asks questions about direct attacks on journalists and the media as well as other indirect sources of pressure against the free press. RWB is careful to note that the index only deals with press freedom, and does not measure the quality of journalism. Due to the nature of the survey's methodology based on individual perceptions, there are often wide contrasts in a country's ranking from year to year. The ranking also states it takes into account pressure on journalists by non-governmental groups, for example the Basque terrorist group ETA in Spain or the Mafia in Russia, or pressure groups that can pose a real threat to press freedom.

        Today's Kossack - fighting charges of anti-semitism one Jew at a time.

        by dmsarad on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 03:22:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why not Explain Why? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Urizen, skrekk

          Instead of just cutting and pasting a long section without comment?

          The problem with your argument, that the United States is the only country where you have a right to say that it sucks, is obviously absurd to anyone looking at it.

          But even worse, it shows an astonishing blindness to the recent restrictions of freedom of the press, speach, and the attacks on civil liberties under the Bush administration.

          Currently, the United States is probably the only western democracy without habeas corpus. The Patriot Act seems untouchable. Gitmo is still open and humming along. Bush openly admitted on national TV that he used the NSA to spy on American citizens and he hasn't been impeached.

          That's not "hating America". It's just reality.

  •  Let's look at this screed point by point (6+ / 0-)
    1.  I hate America for the near-extermination and subsequent oppression of its indigenous population.

    Given the fact that most of the extermination happened long before "America" came to be, perhaps you can direct your complaints to Spain and UK.  (And maybe France for good measure).  Also, if you are intent on blaming the present-day country, perhaps you can extend your feelings to Canada, and other North and South American countries.  Just a thought.

    1.  I hate it for its role in the African slave trade and for dropping atomic bombs on civilians.

    Again, perhaps you should address your complaints to the UK.  And also to the African countries whose chiefs willingly participated in the slave trade.  As for atomic bombs, perhaps you could split the hate and aportion at least a part of it to Japan who refused to surrender and insisted on killing as many soldiers as possible.

    1.  I hate its control of institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization.

    Of course, without US these organizations would not exist at all, but why let that stop you.  I wonder how you feel about the fact that US is the major donor to the UN funding anywhere between 20 and 30% of its budget?  If itis asked to contribute that much, is it notr reasonable to expect that it will exert influence accordingly?

    1.  I hate it for propping up brutal dictators like Suharto, Pinochet, Duvalier, Hussein, Marcos, and the Shah of Iran.

    I see.  So what's US to do.  Propping up dictators - bad.  Toppling them - bad.  Sanctions - bad.  Ignoring them (and the plight of their people) - bad.  In your world, how is US to win?

    1.  I hate America for its unconditional support for Israel.

    See above.  Support Israel - bad.  Support its neighbors - also bad, because they are all brutal dictators.

    1.  I hate its bogus two-party system, its one-size-fits-all culture, and its income gap.

    Start a different party.  You hate not the system but the fact that you are simply unable to convince others.  Well, sorry, that's your problem.  "One-size-fits-all culture?"  Really?  have you ever been to say, New York City?  

    1.  I hate America for being a hypocritical white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

    White Supremacist?  you gotta be kidding me!  In a country where a black man has a real shot of becoming President?  What other country has elected a racial minority to an important position, pray tell?  As for capitalist, you are of course always welcome to move to say Cuba or Venezuela where everything is much more "equal," that is if the government favors you.  Do that and then give us a report on how you like the "non-capitalist" society.

    •  Point 7. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk

      Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia (I think). Really now, let's not go overboard either way. I would expect that the diarist hates the rest of the world as well as the US; generally when folks vent this way, there's still a whole lot left behind. But there's little point in venting over the rest of the world --- you don't speak their language.

      Nigeria is often at the point of civil unrest because minorities get into high office. Fiji has had a number of coups because the Indian minority has gotten the prime-ministership. Really, our current racism isn't so monstrous compared to the rest of the world, but we ain't no shining light either. I wouldn't be congratulating ourselves on the fact that Obama has a shot.

      Germany has a female in charge. England had Thatcher. France has Segolene, who has a better shot at the top than Obama. So I guess the diarist is right about the patriarch bit? ;)

    •  USA and the UN (0+ / 0-)

      I wonder how you feel about the fact that US is the major donor to the UN funding anywhere between 20 and 30% of its budget?  If itis asked to contribute that much, is it notr reasonable to expect that it will exert influence accordingly?

      Oh, poor USA, having to pay so much for so little influence!

      Actually, I think the USA gets a fairly good deal. It gains significant economic benefit from hosting the UN headquarters, and the 22% dues ceiling (compared to the USA's 30% of world GDP) means it pays a lower per-GDP dues than many other wealthy nations. On top of all that, the supposed funding is largely theoretical since the USA owes more than a billion dollars in arrears, with no reduction in sight. And whatever US money is spent towards the UN seems to be mostly aimed at making sure no UN project ever results in the purchase of a single condom.

    •  Good Rebuttal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Captain Infidel

      Except as noted by someone else for point 7.

      Would add to point 2: Ask those who were at Iwo Jima and were slated for the invasion of Japan how they felt about the bombs. My friends dad, 5th Mar Div on Iwo, said he felt the bombs saved his life. Didn't feel he'd be lucky enough to survive that hell twice. Some estimations I've seen are that a million Japanese were saved by Truman's decision.

      But of course I am sure the author of this diary would probably blame America for starting the war in the first place by enacting sanctions against Japan for their slaughter in China and expansion in Indochina.

      Two possible slogans for the author to adopt:
      America; not perfect, but the best thing going.
      America; please excuse the mess, remodeling to begin January 20, 2009

      Humanity will truly advance when all religion is finally seen as the mythology it is.

      by Boisepoet on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 11:46:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read a book on the invasion plans (0+ / 0-)

        for mainland japan.

        We were expecting a MILLION allied casualties.  Japan was training women and children and old people to stab allied soldiers with bamboo sticks.  sounds kookie, but these are the same people who's women and children jumped off cliffs rather than surrender.

        Sorry, sometimes you have to choose between us and them.  Both my grandfathers' and my stepgrandfather's lives were probably saved by dropping the bombs.  I'm ok with that trade.

        You do what you have to.  

        "Don't pray for an easier life... pray to be a stronger person." - on the wall in the Rakkasan Gym.

        by Captain Infidel on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 12:50:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  No one has ever asked me that (0+ / 0-)

    I guess because they don't want to be smashed in the mouth.

    My heart goes out to all who suffered needlessly because of this ruinous occupation. End it now.

    by Paul Goodman on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 03:13:25 PM PST

  •  there's a better way (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dj angst

    an adolescent lashes out at his or her parents shouting "I hate you!"

    because the teen is too immature to process, understand and take responsibility for all the things that are upsetting, stifling or frustrating in life, hate is the easiest, most satisfying avenue at that moment.  At that age, the parents are still the biggest target, the easy villains.

    but it's too simple, too black and white.

    an adult can think about things with the wisdom of experience, with greater depth and detail.  He or she can try to understand the real sources of frustration, the specific problems, and take responsibility for working toward change.

    the things you hate are not big enough to encapsulate all of America, its land, its people, its history and its potential.  

    you're just aiming at the big target.

  •  Excellent: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, dj angst

    According to their twisted logic, I am ungrateful for my liberty if I have the audacity to exercise it.

    "To every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, straightforward, and wrong." - H.L. Mencken

    by Autarkh on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 03:33:01 PM PST

  •  WTF is wrong with you? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skennet Boch, dj angst

    First of all, despite your disenchantment, why would you use a title like that?  RumsfeldResign is right.  That is "a gift to wingnuts."  Secondly, I assume you'll be running for office sometime soon so that you can start changing things around here.  Third, I have a question: You've told us how much this place sucks, so what's a good country?  Who should we aspire to be like?  What country doesn't have either a shitty past, present, or future?  

  •  We are participants in history (0+ / 0-)

    What has already happened is just information now.  No point whining about it.  What's going to happen next is something you can choose to have an effect on, if you want to.  Or you can whine about that too.

  •  America's love/hate relationship. (0+ / 0-)

    I love America but I hate its government and special interests that control it.  I am sick of American patriotism being twisted to serve the selfish and narrow interests of big oil and corporate greed.

  •  Hmmmmm. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Gryffin, The Angry Rakkasan

    Leave America? That would potentially put me on the other end of U.S. foreign policy. No thanks.

    Yes, God are we ever fucking over Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, Liechtenstein and Canada.

    I think you'll have to look for a better excuse than that.

    Actually I think you're really enjoying yourself here and you're just on a high after finishing your high school American History course.

    It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

    by dov12348 on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 04:25:19 PM PST

  •  So, I guess... (0+ / 0-)
    it's okay to question your patriotism.  Dolt.
  •  Waaaaa!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Captain Infidel

    Waaaaa

    We have long made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of our citizens. - U.S. Supreme Court, 2004

    by RyneSandberg on Sat Feb 10, 2007 at 12:52:46 AM PST

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