I was surfing the internet tonight (as per usual) looking around the news sites for any big developments. The current “big” story is currently only being reported on Press TV. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream hasn’t touched it. The United States has sold fifty-three million dollars worth of weapons to the Kingdom of Bahrain, thereby ignoring the pleas of human rights organizations. If I didn’t see the article on Press TV, I wouldn’t have known it was occurring. That’s how quietly this arms deal went down.
Again, the United States has seen fit to show their complete and utter disdain for democracy and free, peaceful assembly by openly selling arms to a nation that is openly dedicated to using those arms on innocent protesters. These same protesters are fighting for the same democracy and human rights that the United States loves to “export”. Maybe it’s because the Bahraini people are fighting for democracy that will be practiced and shared by good relations and diplomacy (rather than sanctions and bombs) that it somehow behooves the United States to support the Bahraini government’s decision to violate even the most basic of human rights, the right to life. Reports of murders, torture, and imprisonment of protesters have been simultaneously numerous and gruesome; several organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Doctors Without Borders have condemned the Bahraini government for its human rights record during the uprising.
In other news, allegedly, the State of Israel is not thrilled with the lack of action on the part of the United States against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is, of course, an unsurprising reaction from a country that seems to want nothing but war, war, and more war for good measure. Despite my incredibly harsh criticisms of Israel, I’m all for respecting their sovereignty. Of course, everyone knows that as soon as Israel makes a single move against Iran, the United States won’t be far behind. I would argue that if the United States actually respected Israel’s sovereignty, Israel wouldn’t have the nerve to go up against Iran. An off-color remark I made to a friend, “I hope they know they’re actually going to be up against armed resistance” resulted in a sad, almost “it’s a shame” chuckle from the both of us. Such is the sad state of affairs between the United States and its friends in the extremely turbulent Middle East.
The current situation with Iran is extremely bothersome to me. Almost no one I know, besides some of my similarly political friends, know about the Bahraini situation. The Iranian issue, however, has been reported upon in the mainstream and alternative media alike, with mixed responses. The liberal American media is seemingly all for a war with Iran, since, well, they only support wars waged by Democratic presidential administrations. Of course, the conservative, brown-hating American media is also all for it, since, well, less brown people equals paradise to the Fox News crowd. The international community’s reaction is mixed. The European Union, on the brink of catastrophe, has to support the similarly-burdened United States.
“Today’s political climate does not allow the luxury of apathy,” Nine Inch Nails brainchild Trent Reznor said in a 2005 Q&A. With the last few years, the political climate has reached a fever pitch. More people are waking up, yet more want to be perennially asleep. I was never as politically outspoken as I have been over the last eighteen months. My sudden “interest” in politics has been met with a combination of friendship, mockery, and outright disdain. It seems as if every single “code word” has been tossed at me due to my political beliefs – “liberal”, “conservative”, “commie”, “socialist”, “pinko”, “libertarian”, “Constitutionalist”, “anti-American”, “antisemite”, “anti-Zionist”, “terrorist”. You name it, it has been directed at me.
It has seemingly become en vogue to categorize those critical of the United States as “anti-American” and then, by some twisted logic befitting Americans (and only Americans), somehow in bed with the terrorists. Uh oh. Not those pesky terrorists again! If you’re critical of American foreign policy…THE TERRORISTS WIN. More of that spooky language. More Manichaeism. “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” Combine that twisted logic with compulsory, tax-supported education and human services and you just about have a totalitarian state.
I joked a few weeks ago during a SOPA/PIPA conversation that Americans begged for their police state after 9/11 and once they realized it was here to stay, liberty suddenly tasted just a little less bittersweet. As we all know, Americans have great trouble with the Constitution. Fist-pumping, flag-waving cries of “USA! USA! USA!” have been replaced with “USA! USA! USA! If you need to revoke a few freedoms to keep me safe, do it!” I honestly could not understand why the reaction of people to SOPA/PIPA was as fiery as it was. I mean, we’re talking about keeping us safe. American logic dictates that keeping us safe equals relinquishing our rights.
I guess there’s only so much that can be done. We can hope for the best, but we’re going to end up having to prepare for the worst. I am still of the belief that the United States is a great country and a great idea, above all. However, I must disagree with…oh…what’s his name? You know who he is. The dude from Texas. The one who hates gay people. Oh, what’s his name?!? He wants to cut…what, three? No, five! No, two!
I must disagree with Governor Rick Perry. Faith didn’t make America strong. Liberty made America strong. And it can make America strong again if you really want it.