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Elections: Ireland & the USA Elections: Ireland & the USA
by David Sparenberg
2020-02-15 11:11:44
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I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders, a Socialist Democrat, as are many voters here in Seattle. It is not likely, however, that the Democratic National Committee will nominate Bernie, if they can avoid doing so. It is more likely we will end up with Mike Bloomberg, another billionaire, although Bloomberg has much better politics than Donald Trump. People in Ireland and everywhere else should understand, as likely they already do, that America is an empire of corporate capitalism and far too many Americans are more in love with money than democracy. I would welcome being proven wrong in this and see a shift left in our National elections in November, mirroring the uprising in Ireland’s elections on Saturday, 8th of February. Such is not likely without a truly massive popular outcry and not the outcry of a moment or a season, but a sustained determination to empower humanitarian change after the anti-human and anti-democratic debacle of Trump gangsterism

Now it is not for me, from the outside, to presume what is best for the Irish people in the sovereignty of their Republic. It is important for me to make clear that I do not champion, support or encourage foreign intervention in exercises of democracy. So far, that is, as a nation and its people are freely expressing themselves and are not politically afflicted or violating human rights or proven to be engaged in crimes against humanity or crimes against creation

Yet, for sake of my many Irish friends, I will express the wish that whatever changes come to them; which may develop eventually to include a united Ireland; they are accomplished without undue hardship or violence. Several I have spoken with express “cautionary hope” for genuine betterment and the pros and cons and timing of Irish unification.

elec001_400From this far side of the troubled world, let me focus back on what I have legitimacy to address and must live with. It is the structure of the American system of power and profit that stands over against freedom and sanity. Not only freedom and sanity, but moral courage and responsible action as well. Most recently we witnessed the opposition to honesty and democracy in the vote from the Republican Senate (Republican Party) which appears to have adopted the Nazi Fuhrer Principle while disparaging, abusing and abandoning the Constitution of the United States. Oligarchy has flexed its financial muscles and America is on the autobahn speeding hazardously toward soulless dictatorship.

Beyond Trump, the issues in November in the USA will be much the same as those recently voted on in Ireland: homelessness, health care, affordable housing and big money corruption, plus for us, rampant addiction. The United States has been at war for 18 years in Afghanistan (followed by the preemptive invasion of Iraq), during which time more than 200,000 Americans have come home wounded, a majority of these with traumatic brain damage. Nobody talks about what percentage of the young men and women suffering the wounds of war are among the homeless and street addicts. Here again the imperial ambitions of Fascist politicians in partnership with mega corporations, as always, placing profit before people, are not held accountable. Without accountability what chances are there for attaining solutions? The answer, which is none, is the same as it has always been throughout the history of empires: war—politized violence, denial of equality and justice before the law, and mass murder. Already word is out that the Trump administration is busy stockpiling cluster bombs and antipersonnel mines, reminiscent of the techno-barbarities of Vietnam. The reasoning at the top of the political pyramid is that the American people will not remove from office a President when there is war (even when both President and the President’s war are wrong).

My suggestion here, no, my appeal, to Irish friends and friends throughout the world is this: Help American people to wake up from the illusions, delusions and fabrications of the American way of life by boycotting American goods and companies in your communities, in as much as it is possibly for you to do so. While sustaining such a boycott; in opposition to American economic domination, not necessarily in opposition to individual American citizens; earnestly engage Americans you meet or know in dialogues about realties and necessities and about identity and direction. Undertake these activities as a serious invitation to shake Americans from the sleepwalking of empire and come around to the shared truths of this traumatized planet and the shared conditions of globally at-risk humanity.

Yes, it is unfair to ask you to do this. Unfair, but an attempt needed and right. America has wealth and America has power through technology and the militarization of industry and technology. But the American way of life, which George W. Bush, said was “not to be questioned” as political justification for not joining the Kyoto Accords on Combating Climate Change; this same way of life presumed to be above international law and the laws of nature; makes and has made the American people weak. Many citizens here suffer from indoctrinated narcissism and the psychological category Ludwig Binswanger identified as “extravagance,” having invested every personal resource in an untenable and dangerous directional decision and being stuck and unable to reverse course even when the danger is imminent and the need for change, indeed for systemic change, becomes obvious.

It is the pandemic weakness of American character, often masked behind juvenile bravado and paraded under the flag of patriotic pretense; the dying flame of moral conscience and the dimming light of democratic values; that is in serious need of rescue and being brough around. There is work that can and will and is being done here at home. But the pressure of a compassionate denouncement from the rest of humanity for the sake of an eventual compassionate affirmation is requested and even required from the goodness of others to help correct the waywardness of some. To take up the appeal is to articulate from the ideal of world citizenship and to know who it is “for whom the bell tolls.”

The United States of America needs to come down to common ground. But the nation cannot come down unless a unified majority of citizens come down to common ground. To say No to American profiteering is to say no to cultural imperialism. To say No in an attempt at awakening is action taken in the hope of an eventual Yes of shared values and goals and accomplishments in a progressively democratizing planetary future.

In writing my poem I AM NOT a GOOD AMERICAN, the following lines are inscribed at the end; lines integral, voicing a reckoning of conscience similar to when Albert Camus, in another time of crisis, penned that he could no longer reconcile nation and justice: “Yet here I am, living (gun less) in these United States, committed to unbought and unbuyable democracy, to one person, one vote, and to freedom of conscience as the sovereignty of identity. And because of this, because of this alone, I am not a good American.” Throughout my lifetime how often, how normalized, have political options been reduced to voting for the lesser of two evils!

It has long time been dismaying and has puzzled me as I witness other countries, such as Poland with the Solidarity Movement that helped to bring down the Soviet Empire and now the Sinn Fein aspiration of the Irish people, how these accomplishments and their kind come about and why Americans are not capable of similar unified struggle and unified achievement. Part of the reason, I know, is due to the inflation of the American ego, especially the competitive egos of American men, part due to the dumbing down and numbing from addiction to convenience and trivialization, part to the reinforced expectations of entitlement and the ever present semiotics of “Don’t worry. It’s all here for the having,” no matter how anxious and insecure existence continues to become behind pretense, propaganda and mask.

Too, in terms of Sinn Fein ascending in the Irish National Elections, speaking once mote as an outsider, I put forward this thought: I do not condone violence, especially political violence and know that this party had its origin in the Irish Republican Army. But if the heirs of those who formerly used violence to force the determination of their convictions can now apply the discipline of nonviolence and dialogic engagement to achieve goals on the side of self-determination and sovereignty, elevating and unleashing heroic democratic energy, the day may come when Ireland sends politically enlightened emissaries into the wide world in a way similar to when, for centuries, Ireland provided cadres of missionary priests and nuns and Irish saints and scholars. Working achievements to make such possible in Ireland would, indeed, be an accomplishment for the spiritual evolution of all humanity.

America, among others, could certainly benefit from receiving over the waters a new Gospel of Political Alternative to our disastrous and menacingly destructive status quo. To show people here how to stoke the fire, organize not only monetize, and get things done, in the doing of what is right for heart and soul and life itself, it being right to embrace change and cautiously but bravely hope and see hope through to become actual, would be seeding in flesh and soil desperately in need of reviving growth. A long time now since Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr was taken, but his warning-admonishment remains among us to resonate on a nation losing its soul to lies and corruption and without soul becoming a nation that will, in consequence, lose its moral substance. Then again, Ireland, dear Ireland, we do have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an impassioned political spokeswoman whose star is rising and who advocates a New Green Deal building on the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Behind the present chaotic betrayal of people and ideals, there may be new light, just over the horizon? That might, indeed, be cause for cautious hope here in Far Amerika.

To round out now: is it too much, Ireland, to envision an Irish renaissance where the Republic comes to give appropriately to these times, a kindness of guidance to those beyond your island shores who have lost their ways and their minds in this other, pressingly present, convulsive, Dark Age? This is only for me to ask—to ask and to listen in openness—not for me to answer.

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