American Culture of Death in Perspective
The best way to bring into perspective the culture of death in the United States is to examine what this nation seeks to do in theory and then in practice. Over the years, many statements were formulated to portray this phenomenon with clarity. The Romans used to say: Aliud est dicere, aliud est facere – One thing is theory, another thing is practice. The Italians tell us: Tra il dire e il fare c’e’ in mezzo il mare – Between saying and doing there is an abyss.
Leading Political Parties
Like in virtually any other country in the world, the American people are virtually helpless especially in the sphere of politics. In spite of the fact that the United States is a huge country with over 300 million people, there are practically only two major political parties: Democrats and Republicans. Although the two parties have quite a few things in common, they present a very different agenda which often seems to be diametrically opposite. Ironically, when they criticize each other there is at least one thing in common, which is conspicuous.
Both tend to play on words as to confuse people in an effort to bring them under full control. This explains why so many people seem to be so confused. The right hand does not seem to know what the left hand is doing and the other way round. There are many reasons for this eventuality, which consist in the political tendency to make statements that reveal half truths that tend to make lies become more effective. This explains why so many people in the USA feel so frustrated as to lose all faith and hope in their politicians.
Ascetical writers tell us that the devil that is described as the “father of lies,” is too smart to utter full lies. He always resorts to telling half-truths. He shows you one side of the coin making you believe that the other side is similar. Before we proceed to talk on the American culture of death, we need to bring the philosophy of both major political parties fully into perspective. Democrats are identified with the middle class and the poor while Republicans tend by all means to represent big corporations and the rich.
At this stage, let us keep in mind that this presentation is focusing only on the fact that in the United States the culture of death is very obvious. It is being promoted by both leading political parties from a different perspective. To this end, they create a kind of vocabulary and formulate a type of phraseology in a deliberate attempt to deceive the people. The promotion and implementation of the culture of death in the entire nation has become the primary goal of each of these two major political parties.
Democrats in Operation
Democrats tend to support abortion, which is condemned by Republicans as murder. The killing of the unborn is viewed by churches and all religious groups as a heinous crime. Since the USA is predominantly a Christian nation, both Democrats and Republicans believe in the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses. One of them says: You should not kill. Apart from God no one on earth has the right to terminate anyone’s life. At times, Democratic politicians are rebuked and criticized by members of the clergy and leading religious groups.
Besides, several clergymen exhort the members of their congregation not to vote for political candidates that favor abortion. At this stage, the Democrats and their supporters try to find a way out by devising a new vocabulary and structuring a new phraseology. They substituted the phrase “pro-abortion” with “pro-choice” as to have their stand softened as much as possible. Also, several women’s groups that viewed abortion as a woman’s prerogative created a new terminology known as “women’s reproductive rights.”
This phraseology evolved into becoming literally the mantra of many Democratic politicians. Hence, there is no surprise in hearing Democratic senators and congressmen, and even the US president when he is a Democrat, speaking of “women’s reproductive rights.” A more recent trend among Democratic politicians is to state openly that they are personally against abortion, adding at the same time, that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is to be left solely in the hands of the woman involved.
They also recommend to the woman involved in seeking for advice from relatives and friends before proceeding with the termination of a pregnancy. But even so, Democrats view a woman’s “right” for abortion so strongly that they are now moving to urge hospitals to perform abortion when a woman requests it, otherwise they may lose any kind of governmental funding they may have. No wonder why thousands of abortions in the USA take place every month. At the same time, the Republicans remain highly critical of abortion, which they view as murder and criminal by all means.
The traditional religious teaching of various religious leaders lies here. Human life is sacred and it starts at conception. Also, human life has been always viewed as a gift of God that should be respected. Hence, we may begin to realize and understand how the philosophy of Democrats tends to be based on the culture of death. For the Democrats as the whole, human life seems to start at the moment of birth. We need now to explore how the Republicans, in spite of their respect for human life from the moment of conception, they also have their modus operandi when it comes to the promotion of the culture of death.
Republican Philosophy at Work
The Republicans have their unique way of promoting the culture of death not only in the United States but around the world as well. Like the Democrats, they have their own way in playing with words by using a type of phraseology that is meant to mislead as many Americans as they can in the entire country. As we have seen, the Democrats support the killing of human beings at their very early stage of life individually, that is, one by one. On the other hand, the Republicans seek to kill masses of people at a time.
These masses consist mostly of children, women, the elderly and the sick. To this end, they put top priority in expenditure on products and actions that would lead to their ultimate goal of mass murder. This is demonstrated in the enormous amount of money they use for the manufacture and sales of weapons. They are quick to wage wars to achieve politically what they want by all means, no matter how brutal their means may be. This explains why we witness in them the tendency to solve all kind of problems by waging as many wars as possible.
We have seen in recent times two useless and needless wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. It caused the nation a 2.2 trillion dollars debt and now the American people are being forced to give up their social security and medical aid to compensate for such a financial disaster. However, what makes it worse lies in the fact that Republicans refer to their destruction of the infra-structure of cities and the massacre of tens of thousands of people, amounting to millions, by the well-formulated phrase national defense and security!
When former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, was asked by reporters how many Iraqis were killed with American weapons, he was quick to say: We do not keep a count of that; we view such incidents merely as collateral damage. While Republicans view the killing of the unborn as the termination of a sacred innocent life, they view the tremendous massacre of thousands of people merely as a piece of furniture. To turn an insult into injury, most of the people killed through Republican war policies happen to be pregnant women!
So here we have the American culture of death in true perspective. While the Democrats refer to the termination of the life of the pre-born child as “woman’ reproductive rights,” The Republicans refer to the termination of the life of people at all ages through the ruthless destruction of the infrastructure of cities as “national defense and security.” This carefully formulated phrase was meant to keep prospective war critics completely silent to the best they can. To this end, the Republicans may formulate the following slogan when it comes to abortion: “Save it now and kill it later.”
Unmasking Blatant Lies
What is highly ironic in the religious sphere of the nation lies here. While self-proclaimed right-wing politicians proclaim to view the human life as sacred and that it should be safeguarded, they continue to take money from the people’s vital necessities of life as to make more weapons and wage more wars. In their foreign policies, both Democrats and Republicans continue to proclaim loud and clear that the United States is a nation of freedom and democracy! This is very misleading for obvious reasons by all means.
Instead of having our American politicians demonstrating great respect for the safeguard of human life from conception to natural death, they devise careful plans to literally destroy this sacred element with no regret whatsoever. In this respect, it is unfortunately true that in the USA we do have freedom. We have the freedom to destroy human life at any moment we like from conception to natural death. In this process, we adopt a kind of philosophy that makes us accountable to no one.
We often hear American government officials, especially through the news media, that the United States is a nation of democracy. This is due to the fact that many in the US government have a distorted concept of democracy, which is derived from the Greek: demos + kratia, that is, people + government. In democracy the people are, in essence, the ultimate power. They choose the members of their government freely to provide them with the kind life they prefer. However, in practice things are conspicuously different.
As a capitalistic nation, the United States is controlled by money and wealth. To reach the people, one has to resort to the news media: radio, press and television, which charge a fortune. In capitalism, the idea of having businesses giving a free service to the people is virtually out of question. When it comes to ultimate analysis, everything is controlled by money and wealth, which is literally anathema to the very concept of democracy. In the sphere of politics, methodical deception becomes the rule of the day.
Going back to Aristotle, some 2,500 years ago, we were always told that nemo dat quod non habet – no one gives something one does not have. If we have one hundred dollars, we can give forty or even ninety but we cannot give, say, $120 and far less $150 dollars. If people were to believe we can give them the money we promised that would have constituted deception on our part! If it has been shown that the USA does not have freedom and democracy, especially when it comes to the safeguard of the human lives, why is it that we continue to hear such a blatant lie periodically, especially from our American politicians?
Power of Big Industries
Needless to say, big industries tend to finance and control the election of many American politicians, both Democrats and Republicans. Once elected, such politicians do not hesitate to help boost the products of those corporations that financed their election. The weapons industry and the promotion of wars have turned into a very lucrative business where money is made overwhelmingly. This explains that when it comes to global conflicts and the promotion of wars both Republicans and Democrats become heavily involved.
It there is no enemy, both try to create ones as to justify their continued effort to pour more and more money for more weapons and wars. We have witnessed this in virtually every war that the USA was involved in throughout the entire 20th century. For money and wealth, US politicians continue to exploit their own people’s economy to their very own detriment. The American people at large have proved to be very good and conscientious people who do care about others by all means and they often prove to be generous.
However, the world at large judges the USA by the policies of those few in government that amount to less than one thousand individuals of a population of 300 million! In this regard, several questions have been raised in academic circles everywhere, one of which being: If the United States does not ultimately care for the welfare of its own people, how can we expect such nation to really care for the good of the population of other nations? This explains why the USA is increasingly experiencing a credibility gap around the world.
Faced with such a problem, can the USA ever succeed to be viewed as a beneficial nation? Few US politicians gave an affirmative answer. Republican Ron Paul of Texas, who ran for US President in 2012, was very critical of US big expenditures on wars. He promised that as US President he would close down 50% of the 900 US foreign military bases. This statement brought great hope among all people in the world. Let us hope and pray that the American culture of death be replaced by an American culture of life, the sooner the better.
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.:
– President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 Apr 2013.
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