Radical media, politics and culture.

Jonathan D. Suss, "Underdog Reaction to Attacks on America"

J.D. Suss writes:

Underdog Reaction to Attacks on America
Jonathan D. Suss

Underdogs across America, those less enamored of the conventional American dream, must surely have seen the September 11 attacks differently than those tough-talking, flag-waving patriots popularly portrayed in the media. Not that the outrage was any less. But to underdogs the events and reactions since that day have conveyed deeper meanings.

To underdogs, the red, white and blue now symbolize a National Security State. Thus, the patriotic fervor stirred up by the attacks represents a misguided emotionalism built upon myths of American liberty and democracy – myths that are perhaps more telling of an earlier age. For America has long since lost its innocence. And in a complacency born of plenty, the character of the nation has been steadily eroding into self-indulgence. Self-righteous beliefs in our superior way of life, our super-power government, and our supposed role as world guardian of democracy, persist in the face of an irresponsible form of freedom at home, fueled by the trance-like influence of a corporate military-industrial/info-entertainment complex. And so patriotic sloganeering that seeks to resurrect past glories falls on increasingly dubious ears. Most of it sounds to me like ignorance parading in its own delusion. Monied interests now rule here in a bureaucratic government headed up mostly by the same weak-of-character, carbon-copy elitists that can now be found everywhere – in business, the media, the academy, science and the arts.

I am less a citizen of the United States of America than I am an inhabitant of the North American continent Native Americans call Turtle Island. The outrage of the attacks is found in the violence it has done to our sense of this place as our collective home. It upsets the cultural ecology of our belongingness in this space, a space not welcome to yet more invaders. All oppressed people have experienced this invasion displacement. For example, the Native Americans, Palestinians, Zulu, Vietnamese, Jews, Roma – all must have felt this frustrated rage at being deprived of the integrity of place. Americans, just now experiencing this same disabling sense of helplessness, act as if they are the first to ever suffer such an indignity, or they project an overly indignant air that such a calamity should befall a people of such privilege. It sickens one to witness the misplaced, over-inflated pride that feeds public discourse on TV talk shows, the Internet, and in call-in radio programs. One only hopes that having now been bruised, the wakened U.S. giant might start empathizing more with the real world. But, for now, underdogs can only howl.And, not to dishonor the thousands of human lives that have been lost, but what about the targets of the attacks? One was one the tallest structures in New York City, purported financial capital of the world, and the other was a marring of the Pentagon, mighty symbol of the nation’s military muscle. How might an underdog of the 60s (or even today) view those targets? – maybe as symbols of American financial/military-industrial corporatism. These are, in the least, representative of institutions that preserve our way of life – an affluence lived largely in benign neglect of and disregard for the rest of the planet. And yet much of the planet is entranced with our standard of living, lusting after the very things that oppress them.

Enter, stage right – a “surge.” To me it sounds more like a re-surgence of all of the above; cheerleading for that misguided, stage-managed, Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington-to-be-patsy-to-the-corporate-capital-agenda-and-chief-preacher-for-no-c hange.

In the end, the old-think blunderers-in-charge continue with their program: to pursue their “war on terror,” increase spending to prop up the economy (temporarily) and ensure huge profits for corporations, run down our military in a hapless misadventure to protect our access to oil, gut our remaining civil liberties, and drag the last remnants of national goodwill through the meat grinder – all of which (sad to say) allows us to extend, for a time, American life as usual. Is anyone sure who is attacking whom anymore?

[The author is an American metapolitical citizen, Maryland lawyer, and a recent Ph.D. in Humanities, whose doctoral dissertation is entitled, "The Odyssey of the Western Legal Tradition: Integral Jurisprudence – Toward the Self-Transcendence of Deficient-Mental Legal Culture." This article © 2007 by Jonathan D. Suss]