“Beacon of Freedom & American Exceptionalism?”


Jim Albertini – TRANSCEND Media Service

This past week as we remembered family and friends killed in war and continue to feel their loss, I was struck with all the hype to induce feelings of blind patriotism.  In a Memorial Day speech U.S. President Barrack Obama said the U.S. is a “Beacon of Freedom” to the world, and at West Point on Wednesday [28 May 2014] he hailed his belief in American exceptionalism  It reminded me of President George W. Bush saying after 9-11 that the U.S. World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked because they were symbols of ” freedom and democracy.”

I would suggest Presidents Obama and Bush need to read the results of recent international Gallup and other well respected polls showing the U.S. as the world’s greatest threat to peace, the most feared country on earth, by a long shot.  Pakistan came in a distant second.  (http://www.ibtimes.com/gallup-poll-biggest-threat-world-peace-america-1525008)   What country has more prisoners, more people locked up, than any country on earth? It’s not Russia or China.  It’s the so called “land of the Free” — the U.S.A.  As for democracy, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions make clear the U.S. has the best elections money can buy.  In addition to Congress authorizing military indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, now President Obama claims he has the imperial authority to be judge, jury and executioner through special ops assassinations, and drone strikes on anyone in the world, including American citizens, that he deems an enemy. What happened to the beacon of freedom, due process, consent of the governed, the right to be secure in your person and property, and other basic rights supposedly guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution?

The question Presidents Obama, Bush, and all Americans should be asking is why do so many people in the world hate and fear the U.S?  Consider the following: The U.S. has between 800-1000 military bases around the world in 150 countries; the U.S. has used military force 120 times against another country since WWII; the U.S. has tried to overthrow 50 countries and grossly interfered in the elections of 30 countries since WWII; the U.S. has bombed civilian populations in 30 countries since WWII including the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. (source: www.uslaboragainstwar.org)  And don’t forget the U.S. illegal overthrow and continuing illegal occupation of the Nation of Hawai’i.

“Beacon of freedom?” If the U.S. wants to be a beacon of freedom to the world, then put words into action and end the U.S. addiction to militarism. Stop sending the poor to fight and die in rich men wars. Redirect the military budget toward meeting human needs and saving the planet. Demonstrate economic and environmental justice. Do as the prophet Isaiah said: “Beat swords into plowshare and spears into pruning hooks and learn war no more.” (Isaiah 2:4.)  Talk is cheap. The time for action is now.  Let us begin to live in peace and harmony with one another and all the earth. Human survival hangs in the balance.

 Ground the Drones!  Say No to War!

  • Mourn all victims of violence.
  • Reject war as a solution.
  • Defend civil liberties.
  • Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
  • Seek peace by peaceful means through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Hilo Peace Vigil (June 6, 2014 – 663nd week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office.


 James Albertini is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and director of Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action – P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai’i, 96760, USA. Phone 001 808 966 762 email ja@malu-aina.org   http://www.malu-aina.org.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Jun 2014.

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