(originally posted to Myspace 13 April 2008; tweaked slightly 16 April 2013)
The propensity of the American to view both history and current events thru the lens of fiction and to take action based on that fiction should never be underestimated.
The United States of America is, after all, an artificial nation-state originally cobbled together from colonies established in the “New World” by several different expansionist European powers—England, Scotland, France, Spain, the Dutch Republic, Sweden, Russia, Mexico, and itself—specifically excluding from its benefits and responsibilities the people upon whom it and they imposed themselves, setting up a republic allegedly based upon the highest ideals of the Enlightenment, that all are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, except for those who not male, are under 21, lack property, are slaves, etc.
Manifest Destiny and Benevolent Assimilation were fictions of our own imperial expansion, Horatio Alger the prophet of the opiating idea that the common person had every bit as much equal opportunity to “pull himself up by the bootstraps” and attain the same level of wealth and material power which would make him (and now “her” also) part of the ruling elite.
Do you know why the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was organized in 1915? Because of that damn movie, “Birth of a Nation”. And although the inaugural meeting was held at Stone Mountain, Georgia (now a mere suburb of Greater Atlanta), its convenor was from Indiana and the rest of the founding members were almost exclusively Northerners.
Like the fiction of which so many evangelicals and other right-wingers believe about America being founded as a “Christian Nation”, despite the fact that not once in either the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union or in the Constitution is the divine mentioned. Nor is their any mention even in Jefferson’s Thomas Paine-inspired Declaration of Independence, save for the vague allusions to the deist version of the divine based on ideas from the Enlightenment.
An Enlightenment which took a large portion of its inspiration from the poetry of Shiraz native Sa’adi, for which French philosopher and political theorist Montesquieu returned the favor in 1721 with his first “best seller”, Lettres persanes, or Persian Letters. More than any other thinker of the Enlightenment, Montesquieu’s ideas influenced the Founding Fathers.
Speaking of Americans’ love of movie images, the two men seen, at least by conservative propagandists and their believers, as the archetypes of muscular American patriotism (John Wayne and Ronald Reagan) have several things in common, including that they were both actors. They were also both draft-dodgers (during the Second World War) who later became strong advocates of sending other young men off to die in useless wars overseas, as well as disdainful of the average citizen, especially the poor average citizen, and resistant to attempts at reducing discrimination against blacks, Latinos, and the poor.
Hardly surprising we Americans allowed our fictitiously-elected resident to lead us into a fictitious war (thank you, Michael Moore) in Iraq based on fabricated “evidence” of non-existent WMD’s to impose a phony democracy on an already counterfeit political entity cobbled together not for the betterment of the people inhabiting its territory but for the convenience of the imperial power in charge, the United Kingdom at that time, but now us. “Us” as in U.S.