America is not a Christian nation. If anything it is one ensconced in its own religious attempts at mediocrity. Mediocrity in the sense that since its bloody inception it has continued down a course of self-perpetuation, which for most is the idea of progress and evolution -- the continuation/growth of self. Which I completely disagree with [and denies any lateral thinking] and believe this is why democracy ultimately is a weak ideology, because it emanates, remains and sustains the individual [even in a national sense] and denies the individual any opportunity for a growing self-awareness of the other. American has literally forgotten the other, it has somehow consumed the Western hemisphere to the point that it has to come think it is also the other and is attempting to the do the same with the eastern hemisphere.
The continuation of self as the center of reality is part of the ideology that will eventually lead to America's down fall. It is also what will in a very religious sense, sustain the current mediocrity of American capitalism. Cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek refers to this kind of 'ideology' as stupidity, in the sense that it continues down the same course and inherently has no trajectory and is founded upon a circular entry with no exit. The circular ideology that informs America can be seen in its past and present relationships to the rest of the world. Its cycle is one of domination and mirror-images. The mirror-images emerge out of the 'puppet-kings' they install and the cycle is an overdosed application of cross-cultural hegemony [i.e., assuming democracy is/should work for every context rather than working alongside leaders to find relevant alternatives].
Although I highly respect the work of renowned and outspoken philosopher Cornel West, I think his assessment of democracy invites criticism. "Of course, the aim of a constitutional democracy is to safeguard the rights of the minority and avoid the tyranny of the majority" (Race Matter, p. 102). In his altruistic attempts to provide some sort of social equilibrium he incites it deeper into a self-referential cycle of nihilism. In the most vulgar sense, democracy [in its current state] is nothing more than an over-idealised nuanced translation of nihilism. Why? Because, much like the work of Sisyphus it continues the invisibility of a never-ending ascension toward nothingness. Is this not the same perversion of the so-called American Dream built on the assumptions of capitalistic consumption? One has to be pitted against the other for democracy to sustain itself. The poor either have to get poorer or the richer rich.
The danger is to assume that the fall of democracy leads to some vulgar resurrection of Marxist communism, which was a catastrophe! We need not remind ourselves here of the hell of this kind of communism, but what we can do is employ history as a tool for what not to do. Much like Zizek, what need is to re-instate a "simple communism," which is to imply that what is mine is yours and what is your is mine [let's be honest, the West has never been good at sharing!] What this means is that to move forward we have to allow for a re-calibration, but not simply of politics, economy, or ecology to name a few, but rather of reality itself.
Theorist Jean Baudrillard once claimed that images are evil, he went so far to call them demons. Why was he so vulgar? Because the image had to replace reality, the true had become false to the point of 'irrepair; but even more sinister and more to the point -- the image replaced any opportunity for pure thought. When someone purchases something they "buy into" not simply the product but all that the product entails. If someone buys a cup of coffee from McDonald's and is to later find out that McDonald's only supports the Israeli side of the war, they simply do not buy coffee but also represent all that McDonald's stands for. This is also how Zizek defines ideology, because we sustain it without knowing we're sustaining it.
A way forward out of this literal hell on earth is to be found in discourse. But not simply "I listen to you, you listen to me" rhetoric, but honest discussion that leads to change; which can be discovered in the Greek notion of "ekklesia." We use the modern word for Church, which is a really bad translation, because it doesn't take into account the historical influence and origin of such a term. In the ancient world, it was a community of foreigners who got together to discuss and implement change (some might be thinking "well, we already have this in the UN"; far from it! -- the UN needs to be disbanded; it has become nothing more then part of the democratic nightmare in sustaining western politics).
This group of people came from all walks of life, poor, rich, christian, atheist, right, left, gay, straight and so on. It was a place for change not social masturbation (as in: let's spend all of our time focusing on social differences i.e., gay/straight, black/white, right/left, and other binary oppositions) which doesn't lead to life. Is this not essentially the heartbeat behind the early church (i.e., 'and they were all in one accord'). For us to invent (not re-invent which is predicated on the foundations and assumptions of a 'before') a new reality (is this also not the meaning of Jesus' words that "they," all of humanity, not "be of this world") where we can begin again.
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