Oh God. The state of the world. The world as a state. Where to even begin on the topic of world politics today?
Maybe I'll start by saying that I am admittedly biased towards the left. Having said that, I'll step back a bit further and say that politics is all so much bullshit. I think it is divisive and confrontational, as I see it misused today, particularly when accelerated like a brush fire in the mass media.
At heart, I am a pacifist, humanist guy, who's rear is permanently dented in the shape of a fence. However, it's impossible to avoid falling one way or the other within seconds of starting a discussion with someone on, say, US foreign policy and the Canadian Gov't.
So, I had to read up on this crap and make up my mind for myself. Of course, I dug right into literature that was written by critics of the US Goverment and the US media. I am one of those people who might use the phrase "military industrial complex" or "right-wing media" and mean it.
So, I read a lot of different stuff:
I read almost everything written by Michael Moore, who's straight-up blue-collar, man-in-the-street indignation and social activist agenda gets my blood rolling. Michael Moore is an American who makes me feel proud to be a Canadian. Hell - Adrienne Clarkson should give him some kind of medal. Maybe one made from Maple Sugar, on a red ribbon, hung around the neck of one of those kitschy plush bears in a Mountie uniform. And have the presentation at a Motel 6, so we don't have to freak out over the cost of it all. Moore would enjoy that, I think.
I read a bunch of books by Noam Chomsky (such as "911" and "Manufacturing Consent") to bone up on negative aspects of mass media manipulation.
I read some slightly whacked book by a questionable French journalist, who claimed that it could be likely that 9/11 was in fact an attempt at a military coup of the US Gov't by the CIA, or Army or whomever else wanted the reins that day. What can I say - I love conspiracies. I believe that Roswell was probably real, and I loved the X-Files too.
I read "No Logo" by Naomi Klein, who has documented the dominance of global business over foreign souvereignty and government (i.e. money before national pride, or money over people in general).
I read "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right", by Al Franken. He nailed US Media and the Bushies to the cross, and did it with such great documentation and humour. And the title itself is classic.
I discovered newspapers like "The Columbia Journal" and web sites like "The Tyee". I read the mainstream newspapers like The Vancouver Province, The Vancouver Sun, and The National Post. I watched the difference in reporting bias between CNN and CBC. Since 9/11, I really do prefer CBC Newsworld over other Canadian TV media outlets.
I re-read "1984" by George Orwell, and am now half-way through "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. These are the classic "world gone wrong" stories that all those apocalyptic sci-fi movies are based upon. You know: the ones where we have lost touch with our humanity by various forms of mass delusions wrapped up as "entertainment", and where common sense takes a back seat to towing the party line.
Does that sound familiar at all?
So, it seems to me that although I was born after the post-WWII Cold War paranoia, I am unfortunate to be living through it again. Only the names of the players have changed. The roles look very similar to me.
So, you can tell that I am not a right-wing, Reform party-voting (oops, I mean Alliance..., oops, I mean Conserva... what the hell are they called today?) kind of guy. But sheesh, even the Canadian Political Right seems left compared to the US Political Right.
And Bush's tax cuts are like a sugar rush that is starting to wear off. Maybe he's hoping the long-term gain will come from the colonization and development of Iraq's oil or something. I don't know. I think this is where my country can really show it's committment to humanism, cooperation and international law, by sticking with its position on Iraq, and not bending to pressure from our best friend to the south, the U.S. Gov't.
No dominant civilization stays that way forever. The Roman Empire. The British Empire. The American Empire. In the long-term, I think events since 9/11 are sign posts along the road to the decline of the U.S. I don't think the country will fall into ruin or anything drastic like that, but I do believe that the playing field will gradually become more level where the American Gov't is concerned, and they may recede in influence to the point where they realize how much they need the rest of us to cooperate with them.
Interdependence is the reality of it all. How can I truly say I'm better than you when the truth is that I need you as much as you need me?