By de profundis clamavi, October 10 at 2:39 pm
Sure, it’s nice to have these smiling Norwegians say officially that they approve of the new tone of the American president. Sure, it think it’s great that Obama charmed the Arabs in Cairo and says we’re going to close Guantanamo and won’t have secret black site prisons anymore and won’t engage in torture anymore. I think it’s great that Obama has halted programs for nuclear missile “defense” in central Europe so we’re not directly provoking Russia, at least not just now. It’s nice that Obama doesn’t use unnecessarily provocative terms like “axis of evil” or “war on terror”.
But those nice Norwegians don’t have to live in a country where poverty and inequality grow more extreme each day, and will continue to do so unless and until the president of the united states steps up and directly confronts the power of the banks, the corporations and the pentagon. Those nice Norwegians live in a country where every citizen takes for granted public education, publicly supported arts and media, public transport, public health care, public income and social support that we would not reach after a thousand years of Obama’s timid, corporate-friendly “leadership”.
Those nice Norwegians live in the kind of egalitarian society that only “left wing extremists” in the USA advocate, the kind of “left wing extremists” who are dismissed from mainstream public dialogue and marginalized even in Obama’s supposedly change-driven democratic party.
According to one of our major mainstream parties, those poor Norwegians suffer under “socialist tyranny”. according to all but the “extreme left” of our other mainstream party, the policies that have made the Scandinavian countries among the richest, most stable, peaceful and democratic in the world are simply “inappropriate for America” and are not worthy of discussion.
Those nice Norwegians don’t have to live in a country where state and municipal governments are going bankrupt, teachers and state workers are being laid off, police and fire departments are being cut, bridges are falling down, whole towns and regions have been economically reduced to rubble, all in the name of maintaining profits for a tiny elite, while the people whose impoverishment grows worse every day watch as their government continues to borrow trillions of dollars from foreign governments to finance a bloated military establishment and a far flung militaristic empire that benefits nobody but the defense contractors and whose aims, vaguely referred to as “American interests”, could best be described as “making the world safe for Exxon Mobil”.
Our military establishment is a voracious cancer eating away at the vital organs of American society, but Obama apparently does not recognize that, or if he does he refuses to say so.
It’s no skin off the Norwegians’ nose if Obama squanders what is perhaps the last opportunity this country will have to make the kind of major structural reforms we need to stave off irretrievable economic and social meltdown, because Obama hasn’t got the guts to call off a war with vague objectives in the same country that militarily and financially exhausted the soviet union, leading to its collapse.
Our empire can collapse, too, from financial exhaustion if nothing else, and if that happens, the resulting political tone of the united states of America is unlikely to be anything peaceful or moderate.
Sure, it’s nice the Norwegians gave Obama the prize, and it’s not just nice for him - it’s nice for all Americans. It’s sort of like the Norwegians sent us some pretty flowers with a card that says “hope you’re feeling better”.
Thank you Norway, we are feeling a bit better. But our corporatist militarist disease is serious and late stage. It will be terminal for American democracy if it isn’t treated.
It’s nice for a sick person to receive cards and flowers. but it doesn’t cure his disease.