I don't want to give anyone the wrong idea. I'm not anti-American. I have some American friends who I love dearly. Some of them are my age, some my parents' age. Admittedly, all of them have one thing in common - they come from 'coastal' America and they've travelled the world.
The problem I have is with the stereotypical 'redneck', and having read this article, my fears seem to have been completely justified. The author, Joe Bageant, seems particularly proud of his redneck tradition/heritage/outlook.
In particular the influences on the American ethos:
- Belief that no law is above God's law, not even the US Constitution.
- Hyper patriotism. A fighting defence of native land, home and heart, even when it is not actually threatened: ie, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Haiti and dozens more with righteous operations titles such as Enduring Freedom, Restore Hope, and Just Cause.
- A love of guns and tremendous respect for the warrior ideal. Along with this comes a strong sense of fealty and loyalty.
- Fealty to wartime leaders, whether it be FDR or George Bush.
- Self effacement, humility. We are usually the butt of our own jokes, in an effort not to appear aloof among one another.
- Belief that most things outside our own community and nation are inferior and threatening, that the world is jealous of the American lifestyle.
- Personal pride in equality. No man, however rich or powerful, is better than me.
- Perseverance and belief in hard work. If a man or a family is poor, it is because they did not work hard enough. God rewards those who work hard enough. So does the American system.
- The only free country in the world is the United States, and the only reason we ever go to war is to protect that freedom.
All this has become so deeply instilled as to now be reflexive. It represents many of the worst traits in American culture and a few of the best.
And that has every thinking person here in the US, except perhaps John McCain and Sarah Palin, worried.
Yes. I'm worried. Shouldn't we all be?