Is America Bashing warranted?
America bashing is not warranted in the world, it is based on loose facts that have been manipulated. America is blamed as the source of all the world’s problems because it is seen as the most prominent country. Through the analysis of two works- Richard Neville’s Oh Say, Can’t You See? and Chris Middencorp’s God Diss America- this paper will prove this to be the case.
Richard Neville begins his argument for America bashing by citing George W. Bush’s decision to renounce the Kyoto treaty as an example of the poor decision making the American government has made that hurts not only itself, but the entire world. In his article Neville seeks to denounce several myths that America still possesses. He starts by arguing against the myth that America is the land of the free. He states that America in actuality has the highest percentage of its citizens imprisoned over any other country. In fact, a quarter of the world’s prisoners are incarcerated in the United States. He goes on to diminish the idea that happiness is honored. He argues that if this is true, how can the country exhibit one of the highest rates of clinical depression. He cites Eli Lilly as saying “Prozac changed everything, and that’s just the beginning?
America promotes global expansion and human rights is his next target. Neville points out that the United States spurned vital treaties on war crimes, as well as land mines, the prohibition of juvenile executions, arms controls, test bans and the Rights of Children. Neville then goes on to discuss the myth that America is the land of the free. If this is true, Neville argues, then it is unjust that the richest one percent of the population have more wealth then the lowest ninety percent, the largest inequality in the world. He points out that over forty million Americans are without health insurance, a number which increases every year. While these facts do not shed a kind light on America, Neville does point out some of its brighter aspects.
Neville goes on to discuss some of the good and admittedly “irresistible?parts of American culture. Austin Powers, jazz, and the first amendment are among these. He even admits to enjoying McDonald’s on occasion although he is quick to assert that they are destroying the world’s crop varieties by making every country they have a store in grow their standard potato- Idaho Russer. Another aspect of America which has spanned the globe is television. He claims that the television lifestyle is affecting youths, creating a new generation that relate growing up with knowing the latest fad. Television, he states, is “a non-stop marketing event? While the article primarily focuses on America’s faults, Neville admits that Australia is not a perfect country itself. He recalls a law passed in 1800 which set the working week at fifty hours.
He goes on to say that Australians today typically work longer then the convicts of 1800, blaming this workaholia on American culture. According to Neville, America also created share options and the notion of pay for performance, both of which are helping drive the wealth disparity of the nation. Neville also discusses some other “truths?about America. He claims that they are a greedy country, citing the nation’s problem with obesity. Neville shows the IPPC’s study that reported the 1990s were the hottest decade since the weather was recorded. He worries that as the climate grows the range and resilience of pests will increase, causing a crop drought and food shortage rivaling the potato famine of Ireland. These fears tie into Neville’s larger argument of a world that is faltering.
Neville recalls his visit to Tonga. He says the country is ridden with political corruptness, few resources, and is one of the poorest nations in the world. However, he was blown away by how happy the native people were. He then goes on to say that most of the world would still rather live in a place like New York City over a poverty stricken country like Tonga, which negates any point he was making with this example. Despite Neville’s desolate view of the world today, he believes that there is hope for the future. Global tax, global justice, and a global environmental agency are on the horizon, and he mentions the Law of the Sea in 1982, which protects the ocean as “the common heritage of all mankind? His definition of globalization also shows this. He believes this means global sharing, with a goal of planetary restoration socially, economically, and ecologically.
While Neville provides evidence for why America is faulty, he does not provide solid evidence for why America bashing is justified. His closing argument shows that the problems with America are, for the most part, worldwide problems and that America is just the most influential country. Neville blames America for the world’s problems, while failing to realize that although America may be the leading contributor to a lot of the world’s problems, it is not the only contributor. He uses the country as a scapegoat for taking the blame off of his own country.
Even when he admits faults in Australia, he says they are caused by the American societies influence on Australia. This is not true, however, because if the Australian culture truly wished to have a different view of the world, it could do so. This is seen by Neville’s visit to Tonga. This is a country that is failing, yet its people are still happy. They have not conformed to the American way of living, and while they are not thriving, they are successful in their own right. Neville makes it apparent that in order to be successful you must accept the American lifestyle as your own. Chris Middendorp, on the other hand, discusses American bashing as a twisting of the facts.
Middencorp discusses several prominate literary figures as an argument both for and against America bashing. He starts by talking about how “Bush bashing?has become a literary clich? He discusses the predictable nature of the complaints in each argument. He then says that America does not help its own case. In fact, he believes that “no one has had more fun America-bashing than Americans.?The first of the figures that Middencorp discusses is Noam Chomsky. Chomsky’s America claims to be the land of the depraved. He believes that America is an empire that violates human rights to stay in power and commits acts of terrorism which in turn causes the terrorists to hate America. Chomsky is an excellent example of someone who tries to shed bad light to the public. Another prominent America basher is Michael Moore. He believes that Australia joined the coalition of the willing because George Bush “dangled?free trade in front of John Howard. He does have some good points about America’s faults however, among which are public healthcare and fairer taxes. These anti Americana writers are prominent, but there are those who do support the American way.
Those like the Brit William Shawcross, who Middencorp believes to have produced the best pro Americana work. In his work Allies, Shawcross talks about anti America as being the new rock and roll. The fad is unwarranted, he believes, and he uses evidence such as America being the leader of the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. He also believes that removing Saddam was the morally correct move, and reminds the reader that the Coalition of the Willing does consist of thirty nations, not just America and Britain. While he believes this was the correct move by America, he does admit that they made mistakes in their campaign. Middencorp talks about how America underestimated the difficulty of the task and should have informed the Iraqis of there intentions better, among other things.
Middencorp then explains that the base for all of these theorists is facts, and facts can be manipulated. He gives the example of Kosovo, where Chomsky used the facts to say the American bombings just fueled the violence, while people like Shawcross used the evidence to support what America was doing. This twisting of the facts is growing more popular among Americans, as the simple minded Anti American movement is growing within the republic. Middencorp believes this is due to the incredible gap between America’s intentions and its actions. He thinks that if the leaders of the so called “free world?would accept their actions, and acknowledge its imperfections the United States could become the country it wants to be.
While most of Middencorp’s essay is spent discussing the negative side of America, he does show that there are supporters. Ironically though, this supporter is actually foreign. Middencorp states that the trend of America bashing is ever growing and he believes this is caused by the media and the government’s imperfections. He feels that if the administration would admit to its faults the bashing would die down. This shows that America bashing is not completely warranted, because while currently the census seems to be that America is doing a poor job, it is a problem that can be easily fixed.
America bashing is not a warranted sport because of the inconsistency with which its protesters argue. People such as Neville argue that America is the cause of the world’s problems, when in reality every country is to blame for the plight of the Earth. His argument is inconsistent and completely biased. Middencorp, on the other hand, shows how the twisting of facts is used to prove the anti Americana’s case. This twisting of facts negates there argument, because it skews the audience’s perspective in their favor. With the growing trend of an Anti American movement this has become easier to accomplish. His solution is for the administration to step forth and admit its faults and correct them. These two articles help to prove that America bashing is unwarranted.