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Burt Shiva: I stopped considering myself an American

Dear Editor,

I have been enjoying your excellent critiques of the current US
administration, including those by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey.

I also wanted to clarify a point that the world might misunderstand during this time when the U.S. is the most revolting and hated government in world history; not everyone who lives in America, or was born in America, considers themselves an American, myself included.

Many say that although they disagree with the current criminal Bush administration, and the evil perpetuated by them, they still believe in the principles of America. If we only get these crooks out of office, they say, things would get back to normal, and America could once again become the great nation it was, regaining her lost former glory.

I disagree, for one very simple reason: America never had a former glory. If you look carefully and objectively at history, America was a bad idea from its very inception. It started off wrong, and it only got worse.

Indeed, people often ask me angrily if I ever liked America, at least in her Golden Age. I ask them when this Golden Age supposedly occurred:

* was it when Christopher Columbus came to the new continent, greeted the natives who lived there, and chopped off their hands?

* was it when the first American settlers massacred entire populations of Native Americans and took over their lands as their own?

* was it when the first landowners orchestrated the wholesale kidnapping of peoples from Africa and elsewhere, brought them to America, and made them their prisoners and slaves for life?

* was it when elitist landowners George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison concocted a cynical Constitution which granted power only to other rich white men?

* was it when vocally racist president Abe Lincoln endorsed the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves, only when it would benefit Northern business interests who needed a cheap work force for the impending industrial revolution?

* was it when the when the U.S. blew up its own warship, the USS Maine, blaming Cuba and triggering a bloody (and lucrative for U.S.) war with the Spanish?

* was it when President Woodrow Wilson finally allowed the robber barons of the industrial revolution to take over the financial matters of the country, creating the Federal Reserve Bank, thus making the U.S. government and its citizens indentured servants to greedy private corporations, in perpetuity?

* was it when Franklin Delano Roosevelt cleverly manipulated events to force Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor, thus creating a ready-made excuse to enter the bloodiest war in world history?

* was it when President Truman decided, after the wearied Japanese had pleaded for a chance for surrender, to incinerate tens of thousands of Japanese with a new atomic hell-bomb anyway? TWICE?

* was it when, after WWII, the US intelligence community mounted an illusory Cold War against invisible enemies, thus creating the gigantic juggernaut known as the military-industrial complex, and costing the world untold billions of dollars and lost lives?

* was it when Vice President Johnson and the defense industry, learning that President John F. Kennedy would never approve an all-out war in Indochina, had him assassinated, and created a fake attack on U.S. warship USS Maddox in order to justify a full-scale Armageddon in Vietnam?

* was it when President Bush, Sr. tricked CIA puppet Saddam Hussein into invading Kuwait, thus giving the U.S. carte blanche to invade Iraq and take over the precious oil resources, which were not theirs to begin with?

* was it when the illegally-elected President Bush, Jr. and his convict administration attacked its premiere skyscrapers, murdering thousands of its own citizens (even calling it "the New Pearl Harbor", wink, wink) in order to usher in a new era of perpetual global war?

Was Americans "Golden Age" somewhere in between one of these atrocities, or the thousands of others, and we missed it? No. America was a bad idea from the start.

The feeling the average American has, that America is a great idea and a great land, with some admitted problems, has turned out to be pure propaganda. As children, we were told (indoctrinated?) that America was the land of freedom, democracy was the greatest system of government ever
devised. Everybody had the chance to become great (perhaps even president!), etc. We believed it as children because we had free TV and new sneakers and all the pork chops we could stuff into our fat face.

But something happened. Some of us grew up, and started to look around.

America seemed to be a very good place to be if you were rich and white and powerful. It seemed to be a very bad place to be if you were poor and obscure, and god forbid, non-white or non-male.

Is there such thing as a good American? I don't think so. The good American waves flags, swills watered-down beer, wears baseball hats, drives gas-guzzling pick-up trucks or SUVs, eats junk food, watches garbage TV, doesn't exercise, doesn't think, doesn't contribute anything to the world, but mountains of pollution and waste. He gives his leaders permission to go
out and kill people who aren't like him. And most "good Americans" also believe in a fairy tale god that tells them to go out and kill people who aren't like him.

I stopped considering myself an American when I realized I have nothing in common with these stupid buffoons, just like I stopped calling myself a Christian when I realized that every Christian I had ever met was a delusional, bloodthirsty bigot.

This is why I enjoy reading the insightful, passionate and articulate prose of folks like Mr. Bancroft-Hinchey, who strive to tell the truth as they see it, in a world where it is becoming more dangerous every day to do so.

I was born in America, but as long as America represents the most evil empire in world history, I am proud to call myself an Anti-American.

Burt Shiva
Tenafly, New Jersey
USA