by Denis A. Conroy for the Saker blog
If institutions exist to provide continuity and permanence, subjectivity is the glue used to personalize narratives in ways that enable compliance vis-a-vis myth, to prosper at someone else’s expense.
A moving message, a personal tribute to America and its people was read to the public by Rick Davis, a close friend of McCain’s…who recently passed away… and his national campaign manager in the Arizona Republican 2008 and 2000 presidential campaign.
Speaking of country’s best qualities, McCain wrote that “we weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all corners of the globe.”
“We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.” Davis, holding back tears, said as he read McCain’s message in Phoenix.
“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here,” McCain wrote.”Americans never quit, we never surrender, we never hide from history. We make history”, he wrote.
Which begs the question; is this a coda marking the beginning of the end for old white Anglo folk who never quit trying to promote the greatness of their lilly-white pedigree? Will McCain be remembered as a patriot intoning American greatness in matters of military supremacy?
Adept in juxtaposing an unhealthy reverence for war, war, and more war with heavy doses of phlegmatic gruel, he had this to say, “when we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been,” the image of a crusty old stalwart wrapped in the stars and stripes immediately leaps out from the looking glass reflecting the the United States of Solipsism.
Is he just another cog in the American aerial machine of war that subjected the civilians of Vietnam to a reign of terror from the skies, dropping agent orange and napalm on them because America felt it had a right to dictate who could and couldn’t do something in a global marketplace it considered its own?
For how long will myths associated with narratives of the ‘exceptional’ kind, uttered here by John McCain, remain palatable to an American public who were led to believe that America, and America alone, had the right to control the rules of the game? Achieving security by using methods that sow resentment and hatred and violence in all corners of the globe is anachronistic to a tee, but clearly illustrate what America is best at doing, “We never hide from history. We make history.” can only be read as pure Hollywood gobbledygook.
McCain’s insistence on identifying with subject matter that contended America’s right of passage…”to be the great force for change they have always been”…perfectly illustrates the American public’s inability to realize that these subjective utterances exist in their present form because they evolved from within a culture that measures objectivity in terms of what it manufactures for made-in-America projections of self. Goods, and their availability became America’s Achilles Heel system, when the spoils of trickle-down largesse were used to keep the public mind captive to propaganda, and safely detached from mindfulness.
So, the view from outside America becomes a very different one to the one from within. For example, McCain penned a farewell message before he died that appears to take thinly veiled shots at President Trump for fanning the flames of “tribal rivalries” and hiding “behind walls.” But from without, these words come across as merely the typical blustering that keeps the subjective spirit of America on tenterhooks. What is recognised in all of this, is the fact that reportage of data has become the mainstay of American media…both established and alternative…forever postponing the Pogo moment that would entail facing up to the truth, “we have met the enemy and he is us”, as Walt Kelly so succinctly observed.
The rhetorical drama of American politics is alive and well, one side snooping on the other, digging up dirt, but nothing really ever changes. The unequivacable level of violence that accompanies American Foreign Policy causes hardly a ripple in the national psyche. Failing to create an effective anti-war movement, the nation continues to unconscionably strut the danse macabre while the world bleeds. Instead of action, epistemological America repeatedly returns to look at itself in the solipsistic mirror, to more completely bask in a glory that is the complement of self-adoration.
And so, McCain likes to keep doing it again and again…with much of the American public looking into the looking-glass along with him…hoping to evoke images of themselves as heroes to be admired, and be reminded of the work that God’s own people can do. The people of the “we make history” kind, chose to domesticate the ‘warring tribes’ of the world so they might bring them into the American neo-colonial fold. Submit to our will and we shall show them the way forward, being the sub text. Make them believe that civilisation is something that comes into being when the state possesses the hardware to control individual expression, while telling them that they are lucky to be living in a democracy.
But, like most Americans who peer into the recesses of the American looking-glass, the strangest thing to behold is the existence of un-American entities on the radar who fly flags that are not the stars-and-stripes. This causes consternation, as unknowns knowns are subjects that cause much disquiet to a nation that has yet to emerge from its pig-in-a-poke unilateralism. The fact that China, Russia, Iran and other countries possess the status of independent nations, automatically triggers hostility.
Because of the seemingly oblique way in which China, Russia, Iran and others is misunderstood in matters relating to military culture, the McCain/American playbook must inevitably vilify them as being weak because they don’t demonstrate their power in ways that America does. They are inevitably portrayed as the ones who hide from history, because they lack the aggression to colonize their neighbours. America makes history by bombing the crap out of the Muslim world, encircling China with military bases, and shoving NATO forces into Russia’s backyard believing they have the blessing of their peace-god…which leaves one wondering what an angry god might look like.
But man cannot live by bread alone…or live by technology alone. We are innately equipped with dual dynamics that enable us to understand the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity. However, somewhere along the evolutionary path, a fork in the road was reached when so-called educated people decided to take the fork out of the human experience by introducing institutional means to tell us what was right, and what was wrong for human kind.
But as each fork in the road is unique, it would be the height of stupidity to imagine that the decision making process…problem solving…should only involve a clique who had the authority to act on behalf of the many.
When the fork in the road experience was relegated to the realm of the institutional…the power of the church, military, royalty, the psychiatric industry etc. took over to advance the cause of the proto-institutional hybrid epistemologists who would eventually become the shit-talkers who would make it to Congress, the Media, the Pulpit, the Government and to the shop floor. This was the beginning of a process designed to dumb down the voice of the people.
So now we are once again at a fork in the road, surrounded by nuclear stockpiling, garbled newscasts, religious fundamentalism, land despoilation, and an atavistic Halloween forever celebrating the status of authority by way of fending off challenges to the status quo,as occurred on 5th November 1605 in the time of Guy Fawkes.
So, in replaying the tensions between individual expression and the elected parliament, criticism can be construed in ways that suggest that an anti-war movement is nothing more than an event that’s existed in the past, that remembers the actions of the guy who’s anti the guy who’s anti-Parliament, and that everything is futile. Which leaves us all the more confused as genocide and mayhem have become parts of the status quo, and we have lost the means to deal with it. Somewhere along the evolutionary line, ‘the cat got our tongue’ and we lost our voices. To make things worse, the ‘fork in the road’ was removed from public perception when government purloined the decision-making process.
But beyond America’s borders there is zilch enthusiasm for the sort of hubris that defines the ambitions associated with the exploits of the Empire builders. It is technology that beguiles the one-dimensional people who plays the neo-colonial game.The belief that the Empire is empowered by virtue of possessing ballistic missiles enabling it to rule the world is pure myth. The fork in the road may be atomized, but innate responses to reality can never be put out to pasture.
If McCain’s dying words merely reflect the endemic spite that exists in American society…to the detriment of the more unsavory aspects of his life experiences…then we need to seriously think about the degree to which that society remains myopically caught up in its misguided understanding of history. ‘Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all’, is an accolade associated with navel gazing and Sen. McCain was good at it. So, when Sen. John McCain’s final lament was delivered, there were no surprises. His words were ritualistic, as were the epaulettes and medals that connected him to old guard of republicanism via love of America the great…right or wrong.
To my mind, the flags that are now flying at half-mast in Washington flutter in a culture of hubris where halitosis became the scent that now pervades the historic record. McCain, the man who wrote;”do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here” are indubitably the words of a deluded individual. McCain could not grasp that greatness could not exist in a culture that lacked moral courage. He was unaware of the fact, that without moral courage, the body politic would inevitably shrivel.
Strange that it mattered so little to him that he was one of those who went to Vietnam to interfere in somebody else’s civil war, targeting men, women and children from one end of the country to another with napalm, agent-orange and other egregious substances. He was not one to lament the hurt he inflicted on simple people…millions of them… who were trying to make their own history. This indifference to pain inflicted on civilians across the globe had become the American way, but why?
He believed that only America could make history. On every score it would seem, America has been in a dark delusory place these many years. By ignoring the realities in the world beyond their borders, Americans found themselves consigned to a world where their better selves were deemed redundant. Would the last conscionable individual to leave America please switch the lights off on his or her way out…
Denis A. Conroy is a freelance writer from Australia