The 4th of July: Another Exercise in Propaganda and Militarism

The American revolution is hardly worth celebrating. It did not eliminate slavery; it did not expand democracy; it did not even indirectly lead to the empowerment of women.

The revolution was more of an early symptom of the violent nature of American life and culture wrapped in the bombast and disinformation of freedom. The colonies were not oppressed by the British. They were among the freest people in the world and had essentially self–governed themselves for 150 years. King George III was not an absolute monarch and the Declaration of Independence was less an accurate laundry list of supposed wrongs as it was an effort to manipulate Americans, sound familiar, into a needless war. The "revolution" changed very little except reduce some of the mercantile restrictions on the colonies and create an American economic elite that essentially replicated what the British had done.

Canada did not need a revolution to acquire its independence from the British Empire. Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Its history while certainly oppressive in terms of indigenous peoples, was nevertheless not predicated on the use of force and violence. Canada historically has been freer than the US. It does not allow the death penalty. Homosexuals can marry, antiwar protestors may flee for refuge and health care is provided universally to its citizens. Its military forays while disturbingly escalating in Afghanistan have nevertheless been modest and usually defencive in nature. One could argue the means of acquiring nationhood has a certain permanence looking forward in terms of the use of force and mindless, unthinking nationalism.

This is one of the reasons Independence Day, July 4, is less an exercise in celebrating freedom than a despicable venting of mindless support for imperialism and the ruthtless use of force.

The Declaration of Independence was a racist, unseemly document that was a justification for genocide:

"He (King George II) has excited domestic Insurrections among us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions."

Considering what this nation has done from Dresden, to Hiroshima, to No Gun Ri, to My Lai, to Christmas Bombing, to Falluja, to Hamdaniyah, it is remarkable that this notion of American exceptionalism and superiority in terms of following the laws of war, can be traced to the Declaration of Independence. One can substitute Japanese civilians, German urban residents, Vietnamese, Muslims, Koreans who were burned and bombed and killed by the millions as they were considered "merciless savages, gooks, Jihadists, Japs, Huns, terrorists." What we see is a continuation, since Jefferson's writing of the declaration, of mass murder against alleged subhumans–almost always non-white with the exception of German civilians–justified as a result of supposed American racial superiority and love of democracy. It is an illusion that only war can sustain the latter, when it is war which is its greatest threat.

Note the efforts by irresponsible, cynical politicans including 66 U.S. Senators, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, to punish, suppress and criminalise flag desecration. What democracy is this? Does one think the Axis of Evil, with or without Iraq, would allow citizens to desecrate a flag?

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