USA Ideal vs USA Empire

What is the dark underbelly in our culture that sets the USA apart from the rest of the developed world?

The American Ideal is perhaps the noblest of all national ideals and continues to inspire not only US citizens but countless others around the world. And yet … and yet the American Empire is perceived by many around the world as an evil colossus, bent on world domination. What is the foundation, the basic driving forces or beliefs that so divide the USA from the rest of the world?

Perhaps it is “US exceptioinalism”, the strange notion that we are somehow morally superior to the rest of the world?

Perhaps it is our failure to acknowledge and atone for our history of racism, i.e. genocide against native Americans and slavery of Africans? To this day we remain in denial about our guilt and therefore can’t heal the racism that still stains our society.

Perhaps it is our military budget, approximately equal to the total military budget of the entire rest of the world? Our roughly 700 military bases all over the world and our frequent invasions of other countries are part and parcel of this bloated military budget.

Perhaps it is our rhetoric about supporting democracy while our actions prop up dictators around the world?

Perhaps it is our refusal to take seriously the harm we humans are doing to the planet? We are alone among nations in our denialism regarding global warming, climate change, and ecosystem destruction.

Perhaps it is our obsession with guns? As an Alaskan who grew up hunting our meat, I am a gun person who deplores the insane level of gun violence we endure. Our gun crimes have propelled us to the distinction of being the most dangerous of all the developed nations.

I think our beliefs and attitudes about violence and nonviolence undergird all of the above. John Wayne and Bruce Lee are our exemplars for dealing with bad guys. In this mindset there are two possible responses to evil: cowardly submission or heroic violence. Our movies, TV and novels constantly reinforce this dichotomy: bad behavior MUST be met with violence. Any thing else is craven submission and is to be scorned and ridiculed.

Gandhi, that saintly apostle of nonviolence, said that the way of the warrior is better than the way of the coward. However, Gandhi also said that the way of nonviolence is both morally better and more effective than violence. The way of nonviolence is also more difficult than the way of the warrior. Gandhi’s comment was intended for the warriors who were not yet strong enough to embrace nonviolence.

Many of us would like to use nonviolence but are concerned about it’s effectiveness in difficult situations.

There are no guarantees in conflict situations. The warrior is victorious only if he or she is better trained and more skilled than the opponent. Similarly, the nonviolent person is unlikely to be victorious unless they are well trained and able to use appropriate tactics.

Denmark Rising is a “what if” novel that explores how Denmark might have used a campaign of strategic nonviolence against Hitler during World War II. At considerable cost, the Danes nonviolently fight Hitler to a draw. Unlike the European nations that waged conventional violent struggles against Hitler, the Danes actually did save essentially all of their Jews from the holocaust.

Denmark Rising is a compelling story that demonstrates the power of nonviolence. Readers generally react with “I had no idea nonviolence could work against a madman like Hitler. This gives me a whole new appreciation for nonviolence.”

We in the USA are locked into a culture that glorifies violence … many of us are sick with what Walter Wink calls the Myth of Redemptive Violence, the twisted notion that violence can redeem us from evil. Denmark Rising is a work of fiction that is one step toward healing that sickness.

Would you like to see how nonviolence can be more powerful than violence? To see how nonviolence can work against even a crazed psychopath? Go to www.barryclemson.net. Denmark Rising is available for ten dollars in paperback or eight dollars as an eBook.

The Citizen Activists website (citizenactivists.school) is closing. If you would like to be on my mailing list, please send me an email with the subject line “Barry’s list” to barryaclem@gmail.com.

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