America was once the leading nation in the world, admired, praised, feared, and imitated. It was once a haven for the world’s suffering and abandoned migrants and refugees. It remembered its roots then. During and after World War II, the United States was a liberator and rebuilder of a destroyed Europe. It established the Nuremberg trials that convicted Nazi war criminals. America was a champion of human rights and dignity and was a strong voice for global justice at the United Nations (UN). Since then, a once-proud reputation has been in steep decline and at present is at an all-time low. How did it happen?
During WW II, American citizens of Japanese descent were imprisoned in concentration camps. America used a nuclear weapon twice and began to leave its moral compass as it opposed the Soviet Union in the Cold War. In the late1950’s and 1960s, extreme right-wing Republicans like Senator Joseph McCarthy changed America for the worst. McCarthyism condemned people as communist sympathizers without evidence and denied them their rights. The reign of Richard Nixon, together with some corrupt Democratic and Republican politicians, having long abandoned the ideals of Abraham Lincoln, worked to establish a system in government greatly influenced by the money and the agenda of the mighty corporate world. The values of democracy, the rule for and by the people, even the constitution, were undermined and ignored. The government was used to promote big business and the corporate interests of billionaires.
President Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation of the danger to democracy of the military-industrial complex that he feared would rule America. He was right, they do and the poor became poorer and the civil rights movement was brutally put down. Racism infected much police. Democratic progressive President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Corporate America ruled and dictated laws to benefit their business empires. That seems to be the political sickness of America.
Corporate interests also directed foreign policy. To control sources of raw materials like oil and copper, democratically-elected governments were overthrown, Chile, and Iran for example. The US supported dictators and launched wars of aggression in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and elsewhere. American multinational corporations followed the mayhem and globalization began to take hold. American jobs were sacrificed to corporate greed by outsourcing as they exerted an American economic expansionist program across the world using cheap foreign labor.
The American values as a defender of freedom, true democracy, human rights, and self-determination for oppressed people were ignored. Protest movements developed; America was divided. Terrorists emerged, domestic and foreign. The 9/11attacks were used to justify more aggressive American tactics. Secret teams committed human rights violations through assassination, group killing by drones, kidnapping, torture, and detention at Guantanamo. They have all damaged and soured the soul of America. Millions of good-hearted upright Americans were and are shocked and depressed at this historical fall from grace, loss of prestige and world leadership, and all the more under President Trump.
As Corporate America went global, a huge, isolated, poorly educated, jobless segment of the white American population, mostly Republicans, became despondent and angry. Social programs were gutted by Republican politicians. Desperate, the people reached out for a leader. To pacify them and keep them from turning to the Democrats, the Republicans gave them a leader, Trump, and the base of Trumpism was created.
Populism made Trump an idol and savior of the jobless yet paradoxically he was the billionaire representative of Corporate America, not a jobless labor leader. He represents the “Establishment” that continues to rule in Congress through the politicians elected with corporate money. These politicians had impoverished the lower middle class in the first place and now the people were tricked to embrace the representative of their oppressors. They fell for it and with the help of Fox News and right-wing radio embraced Trump fanatically as their leader and elected him. Unfortunately, most will continue in their hardship. Corporate America has not and will not replace their lost jobs. It will use them to try to re-elect Trump and stay in power. The new Democratic house can now change that and win back respect for America.
In November, Joe Biden, former vice president of former President Barack Obama will challenge Trump. Obama endorsed Joe Biden recently. In eight years, President Obama did much to restore some of the proud reputation and respect for America by the international community. He couldn’t undo the harm caused by the Iraqi and the Afghanistan war.
Despite his shortcomings, approval ratings of the United States increased under the Obama presidency. His enlightened and intelligent initiatives were stalled, blocked, and stymied by the Republican party that had a majority in the congress and senate. Many of them could not accept a highly intelligent black American president and his popular lawyer wife, Michael Obama, in the White House. Her distant ancestors were slaves that built it and now they occupied it to the chagrin and anger of many Republicans. They retaliated with an unfettered and enthusiastic blind support for Donald Trump. He represented corporate America and is a ferocious Obama critic and white supremacist sympathizer and source of racist policies.
He worked to undo every good work that Obama had achieved especially to repeal the Obama Care law. It failed, thanks to the one historical vote of a good republican John McCain. Racial bias is the defining factor in the Trump administration and has led to the present chaos in the White House and the loss of America’s prestige.
Coronavirus is still uncontrolled and has infected more than one million Americans and as many as 56,000 have died. President Trump ignored the warnings and the administration did not prepare and the response was slow. He wrongly recommended injections of disinfectant and ultraviolet light as cures.
The American people are suffering and need support and recognition of past and present good deeds. They can recover quicker with greater global understanding and solidarity. America is the people and they stand for what is right and just, are compassionate, loving, and caring people, generous and kind. The majority surely want social, economic, and racial justice as the heart of their nation and society. They, the people, need to rule, not corporate America. Let them take heart and strength from knowing that many around the world understand and stand with them, as together, we battle to survive against the coronavirus pandemic.