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Lara M. Gardner Headshot

It's About Winning

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What I realized yesterday after I saw the cover of a newspaper filled with cheering American faces at the capture of the Boston suspect is that the reason these crimes are ignored and expanded is that Americans as a whole (for the most part, minus some small dissent) agree with the policies. Ours is a bloodthirsty, punitive, and judgmental nation. Full of hypocrisy, we pound our chests in glory at the killing of those we feel have sinned against us, while concurrently seeking to kill ourselves, using revenge as justification, regardless whether there is accuracy in those beliefs, and in spite of our own atrocities against other nations. Our leaders are simply symbols for all of us.

If Americans cared that we torture, kill, and destroy on a global scale, we would object. There is no objection because the bulk of our countrymen agree.

The United States is an abusive bully. We are the bastard child of bully imperialist Britain, itself a sibling of bully imperialist Europe. We are the product of a collection of nations that scoured the world to take what they wanted, using militaries to steal the resources and destroy what had been, and religion as justification (It's our Manifest Destiny!).

Bullies are born of abuse and the United States is no exception. Its people fought their oppressor and won, while simultaneously oppressing those whose resources we wanted for ourselves. "How dare you steal our freedom!" was our cry, while at once stealing the freedom and lives of native Americans.

Once its mission was complete, the United States spread its might across the world. We are now the most militarized nation on the planet. We push our agenda under the guise of "democracy," which really means forcing our version of capitalism and power on any people that has something we want. We use labels and propaganda to achieve our aims. If a country doesn't behave as we want it to, we create justifications so that we can take what we want. We ignore human rights. We destroy the planet and anything in our way. As is often the case with bullies, we destroy anyone who questions us. We seek to control, to be the most powerful, and above all, to win.

I have long been shocked by Americans' willingness to tolerate the abuses of our country. This shock was born of the belief that most people agreed with me that such abuses were an anomaly and something we did not want. How naive I have been.

Yesterday, I spied a photo on the cover of a newspaper of Americans cheering the slaying of one Boston bombing suspect and the capture of another. I saw in their eyes the desire for revenge, for blood, for glory. How sickening, I thought. After all the self-congratulation for those who selflessly assisted the victims of the bombing, how quickly Americans turned into vengeful, bloodthirsty bullies.

In a moment of epiphany, I understood. I understood why the people who so vehemently decried the abuses of the Bush administration stand idly by at the expansion of these abuses by Obama. I understood why those who now hate Obama, made excuses for Bush when he did the same things. It isn't a belief in human rights and dignity for all. It is the desire to win. It isn't about what is right, it is about being on the right team.

I am increasingly dismayed to discover that most of the people I consider my friends willingly accept the killing and destruction of others if it is done by the person they perceive to be on the side they have chosen. They want to win.

The Right's supporters decry the Left. The Left's supporters decry the Right. Each will use the same aims to win and hypocritically criticize the other for an identical action. It has nothing to do with doing the right thing. Our entire nation wants to win at all costs. Events like the Boston bombing simply bring this to the fore. Suddenly, Left and Right didn't matter, it was Us versus Them. You attacked our team so we will destroy you. No matter if human rights or due process are lost along the way. Such is the mentality and justification of bully America.

Evil is evil, regardless of which team you're on. Cheering the death of another is evil. Choosing to ignore the fact that your team tortures and murders is evil. Refusing to admit that you participate and thereby incur responsibility is the utmost hypocrisy, and ultimately, the most evil of all.

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