Saturday, January 06, 2007

Voices of Reason in the Land of Plenty

Pomp Alert

It really does not matter to the world if a relatively insignificant country (economically) like India has ureasonable international policy. But when you're talking of the US' mammoth economy, it's a whole new ball game. Because of its sheer economic magnitude, the US policies (and agression) affect other countries all the more. Therefore, the US must desist from falling prey to bouts of jingoistic nationalism.

And alas, the US has fared miserably in that respect. Turn on your TV and you see some O'Rielly or Sean Hannity bellowing hate and intolterance; you see politicians contemplate building a fence between US and Mexico (conveniently neglecting how shamelessly the US pilfered California and Texas from Mexico - and how brutally they supressed the Indigenous Americans everywhere). And of course, the CIA has created more problems for the world than all the middle east put together(except Israel).

The recent American mid-term elections saw, as a result, Rumsfeld get the much deserved boot. And I believe he got it for all the wrong reasons. Americans did not like the fact that 3000 of their troops died fighting "for" Iraq. The little inconvenient statistic that 500,000 Iraqis perished in Iraq as a concequence of a nightmare that Bush had does not cut any ice with the average American. The Democrats in power will do everything to keep their troops safe (which they should). But they will do nothing to save Iraqis. Even if they do something, it's way down on the to-do list.

It's all about the 3000 dead troops. It is really unfortunate that 3000 troops had to die, but 500,000 people dying is the real bloody fiasco, the real catastrophe*. As far as war goes, there is very little rationality left in America. This country lives under a fog of supercilious obliviousness.

Take for instance, Ted Kennedy's (a so-called "liberal") tirade against Bush today. He opposed the idea of more troops in Iraq tooth and nail - because of the 3000 dead soldiers. All reference he made to dead Iraqi civilians, if any, was made as an afterthought. Everywhere, you hear rhetoric about the mess in Iraq being the Iraqis' fault. Nobody admits that America got them into this mess. Nobody, except a few voices of reason.

If there is one person in this country who calls a spade a spade, it is Noam Chomsky. He is much loathed by the media of this country because he speaks the truth. He is shunned because no one can risk arguing with someone as logically sound has he is. His ideas on how the art of engineering consent in Democracies works have been vindicated by recent developments in Iraq - and perhaps by every development of international politics that one can "see" in the news. From a distance, his theories sound like conspiracy theories, but when one learns to accept certain hard truths, one finds his theories quite obvious and intuitive. He does not call the American president a "devil". He is not a Nazi sympathizer (despite what some Jewish Columnists think). He is a man with more knowledge about politics than anyone else - making him a tough person to argue with.

If there is one person in this country who calls a spade everything but a spade, it is Stephen Colbert. His acerbic sarcasm along with Jon Stewart's often brutal but hilarious bellicosity shows an astonishing amount of empathy (compared with other "journalists") for the suffering of the victims of agression in Iraq. These are not "run-of-the-mill" liberals whose view is limited to their country. No. These satirists are the conscience of the nation (otherwise overrun by the Limbaughs and the O'riellys) that the South Park Guys talk of in their fabulous episode on the American founding fathers.

It would be a stretch to call the South Park Guys voices of reason. They pooh-poohed (effectively) global warming; they almost did the Prophet Mohammad cartoons again. So, yeah.. they are not entirely reasonable. Just thought they deserved a partial mention.

These are only voices. What a voice can do is very limited. But there are some who put their money where their mouth is. Bill Gates and his troupe (Buffet et. al.) have decided that they've had enough of poverty. Just like Bill eradicated his competition (Netscape comes to mind), he wants to eradicate poverty using, among other things, micro-credit. Sensible, but history has shown that people from the first world have almost no effect on third world issues. Sachs and Bono (the latter, though irish, is assumed to be an American) have raised a lot of issues about third world poverty - and have made them public. The sheer magnitude of the poverty trap automatically brings out one's skeptical side. But it is nice to know that billionaires and geniuses are attempting to change the world. And it is nicer to know that they have done it despite hailing from a country that remains largely insulated from suffering of any sort.

There are many who feel that if that Chapman had been killed at birth or something, then John Lennon would still be alive - and concequently, there would be no war in Iraq. One can only imagine a world without war, a world which would give peace a chance.

1 comment:

Rap said...

I am contemplating adding Republican / Libertarian Ron Paul to this list. I think he is more coherent than the other people who are running for the post of US president.

That, of course, is not my battle.