Monday, 27 June 2011

Sarah Palin, the exceptional

Sarah Palin goes on an on about American exceptionalism. The word exceptional can have opposite meanings:

What's so exceptional about Sarah Palin's America? Why should Americans be the only people entitled to love their country and be filled with pride about it?

France, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Brazil, Uruguay, Greece, Lebanon, Poland, name any country, they are all populated by people who love their countries.

America is an amalgam of a great number of people from different backgrounds, different cultures, none of them believing they're better than the others.

Other countries are very wary of America's exceptionalism, about how she felt entitled to invade a number of countries over the decades. The cost of these wars in terms of human lives is well known and yet, recent wars were started with no clear, legitimate motive. America also meddled in the politics of other nations, going against the will of the people of those countries. Chile is one example of this.

The Iraq war showed a side of America that struck me as indeed exceptional. Americans bombed the craddle of our civilization to smithereens. Baghdad was a historical (and biblical) monument that belonged to all of us. In my eyes, the bombing of that city and others in what used to be Mesopotamia was a crime against civilization. I was shocked and awed by the fact that one of the most advanced nations on earth did not value that monument, that historical legacy. Baghdad wasn't historically exceptional.

If only American monuments and American history are worthy of preservation for future generations, are we supposed to be content with around five hundred years worth of history?

Are we supposed to look to Mt Rushmore instead of the pyramids when looking for our past? Are we to hail Ronald Reagan as the most accomplished leader in the history of the world? Are we to forget all that came before Sarah Palin's sacred Constitution and model ourselves on the skewed picture she paints?

Sarah Palin famously said to Joe Biden: "Say it ain't so, Joe. There you go, looking to the past again."

Yes, we look to the past for inspiration. We look to the past for lessons, so we don't make the same mistakes again. We don't wish to go back to the past, though.

Sarah Palin doesn't understand the Constitution of the United States, she doesn't understand the history of her own country. All her educational One Nation tour could offer was the usual load of soundbites about "time tested truths" and other equally shallow catchphrases. I won't bother to mention Paul Revere again.

If her vision of her own country is so deeply rooted in her completely idiotic interpretation of the history of America, if that is what she would have in store for her own fellow Americans, I shudder to think what her vision would be for the rest of the world. Can anybody start to quantify Sarah Palin's vast knowledge of world history? America wins, the rest of the world loses?

The world has changed a great deal since her hero occupied the Oval Office. New alliances were formed, the balance of power has shifted in the context of a global economy. Exceptional America's wars and her economy are being bankrolled by the "enemy."

Sarah Palin doesn't understand what any of this means and seems to believe that turning the clock back to the 1770s or to the Reagan years will solve every problem of every American. She thinks it would make America really exceptional and all other countries would quake in their boots when faced with so much greatness.

The way I see it, Sarah Palin's exceptional America would fall under the last definition: Being handicapped to the extent that special measures are required.

Say it ain't so, Sarah.