Saturday, October 02, 2004

The American Myth

Given below are a few excerpts of an article written by Ira Chernus, a prof at Colorado, Boulder... I read it in outlook, tho it initially appeared in

A rather interesting perspective on the Bush-Kerry debate, the complete article can be accessed by clicking here .

"The frontier myth is all about saving the innocent. Bush is most adept at playing both the innocent one and the savior of the innocent, tapping into that ancient image of America as a place of pure innocence, a Garden of Eden, where everyone is Adam or Eve.

Any hint that we may have done anything to provoke anyone's hatred is met with howls of outrage. They hate us because they are so wholly evil and we are so wholly good. We must eradicate them because we have a God-given duty to save the innocent from the ravages of evil. End of story. "

"The two dreams -- comfort for each and liberty for all -- grew up together in this nation, intertwined. The link between them was free enterprise or, put another way, the liberty not only to vote but to make as much money as your talents and energies would allow. And that liberty, so the story says, is given to each of us by God. In return for that gift, we need only accept God's inscrutable charge to us, as Americans, to bring his liberty to every corner of the globe. John Kerry is offering only one slice of that story. George W. Bush is serving up the whole pie, uncut.

Bush is merely the latest in a long line of U.S. leaders who have told this story, but he may be the first who has turned it into official public policy."

"In the American story, the essence of civilization is individual freedom. The hero kills the bad guys, not merely to preserve the freedom the innocent already have, but to push back the frontier -- to bring liberty to people who have never tasted its delicious fruits.

This is the story that Bush tells so successfully. Like all great stories, it is built on an utterly simple plot: Americans, propelled by fate into mortal conflict, are willing to endure every hardship to secure the inevitable triumph of the highest ideals. Innocent Americans, through no choice of their own, are regularly forced to go to war against savage enemies who would take away human liberty. "

1 Value-adds:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm..remember the concept of "white man's burden"? I remember reading an interesting article about how the concept of god and satan(i.e pure good vs pure evil) is connected to ppls refusal to see the world in nething but black and white.


October 03, 2004 6:23 AM  

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