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October 25, 2020, 02:38:21 AM
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  Discussing about America's greatness
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Author Topic: Discussing about America's greatness  (Read 577 times)
American2020
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« on: October 17, 2020, 08:06:58 AM »

On the one side, many people consider America as the beacon of democracy, exceptionnal, the greates country on Earth and many glorifying sentences. I call them absolute apologist.
On the other side, there're people who think America were/has not/will not be/been great. They consider it as a big lie, a fraud, a trick that cunning white males have been playing on women, native populations, African Americans, working classes, immigrants. As such, this nation deserves to be cursed, canceled, sunk, forgotten. They also delegitimate Pearl Harbour, WW2 participation and the Apollo Program. I read some Canadian saying it on the social media, not all.

My opinion: America has done great things, but also bad horrible things, like every country on Earth. Nobody is perfect. America'll have to repair, reinvent and trasform itself after this horrible Trump Presidency.

Discuss about greatness.
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The Communist legacy of precincts 48 and 62
Battista Minola 1616
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2020, 08:17:25 AM »

I have gotten to the point where I think that most discussions about the "greatness" or not of the United States are pretty much semantics debates.
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2020, 12:13:36 PM »

With most nations, it's possible not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But that's not the case with America, Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and the like because the good and the bad of those nations are so inextricably linked.

If France magically became a one-party Marxist-Leninist state tomorrow, it could still be recognizable as French. That's not the case with America.
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Ye Olde Europe
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2020, 12:58:06 PM »

America has a bit of a special status due to being the world's second-largest democracy and the country with the oldest constitution still in effect, aside from being the country with the largest (nominal) GDP right now.

But as the OP has already pointed out this doesn't undo what happened to the slaves and the Native Americans and America's democracy has also undoubtedly entered a era of crisis and instability in recent years. So, special but imperfect?
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CELTIC FUTURE
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 08:33:22 PM »

Quote
It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

-Vladimir Putin
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2020, 09:01:27 PM »

My view is very simple. America was never great.
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Common Sense Atlantan
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 09:20:38 PM »

America was great before Trump
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John Dule
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 09:40:15 PM »

Most of the things people hate this country for are either:

A) Not actually bad
B) Things that every other nation on Earth has done, and to a much worse degree
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dead0man
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2020, 10:25:21 PM »

people from Germany and China saying America isn't great is funny
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Ferguson97
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2020, 11:02:11 PM »

I also get a kick out of European countries being confused by US racism but then go on tirades about how filthy the Romani people and the refugees are
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PSOL
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2020, 12:57:24 AM »

This nation has a great deal of greatness in its history and culture of resistance, progress, and innovation that isn’t talked a lot about. Instead, the dominant narrative and pop culture based on oppression, slavery, and insanity is promoted in its place. Yes, saying that this country is all bad and is uniquely evil among nations is false, but accepting the dominant narrative that you should handwave the bad I’d also incorrect.

The positives include the protest music of modern folk singers, the struggle of labor unions of the late 1800s/early 1900s, and the mass of history shakers now standing up to police brutality.
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Chen Quanguo Did Nothing Wrong
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 10:19:25 AM »

This nation has a great deal of greatness in its history and culture of resistance, progress, and innovation that isn’t talked a lot about. Instead, the dominant narrative and pop culture based on oppression, slavery, and insanity is promoted in its place. Yes, saying that this country is all bad and is uniquely evil among nations is false, but accepting the dominant narrative that you should handwave the bad I’d also incorrect.

The positives include the protest music of modern folk singers, the struggle of labor unions of the late 1800s/early 1900s, and the mass of history shakers now standing up to police brutality.
Please read Settlers by J. Sakai.
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Horus
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2020, 10:21:09 AM »

We were certainly ahead of the times in 1776. No longer, other countries have looked at our many mistakes and planned accordingly. We were the first to do it, not the best.
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PSOL
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2020, 02:11:41 PM »

This nation has a great deal of greatness in its history and culture of resistance, progress, and innovation that isn’t talked a lot about. Instead, the dominant narrative and pop culture based on oppression, slavery, and insanity is promoted in its place. Yes, saying that this country is all bad and is uniquely evil among nations is false, but accepting the dominant narrative that you should handwave the bad I’d also incorrect.

The positives include the protest music of modern folk singers, the struggle of labor unions of the late 1800s/early 1900s, and the mass of history shakers now standing up to police brutality.
Please read Settlers by J. Sakai.
I actually did read Settlers by J. Sakai. Outside of wrongly attributing all white workers as non-proletarian or even oppressed, instead of recognizing the intricate caste system we have in the United States, I don’t know where your going here?
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RoboWop
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2020, 03:00:10 PM »

America's greatness is natural and undeniable; inherent to the land and irrevocable except by invasion. It is a damned shame, perhaps the singular tragedy of history, that the peoples who held or inhabited this land for millennia were wiped out, but the people who live in their place will be equally superior to the Old World.
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Mr. Illini
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2020, 07:45:27 PM »

The argument that OP references usually completely lacks nuance. Folks on both sides refuse to acknowledge that maybe the history of such a large and powerful nation is complicated.

The way I see it, we are still an important symbol of and advocate for democratic government in the rest of the world. People living under authoritarian governments really do look to us as an example of what is possible. We are also a powerful symbol for diversity - the world's melting pot where no one person can claim what it means to be "American."

That said, we are also a symbol of colonialism and white supremacy. It is what we were founded on and that leaves a lasting impact on our society today in many ways. We also are staunchly capitalistic, which has simultaneously built a great economy while leaving us lagging far behind other developed countries in education, health, and overall quality of life.

All of these things can be true at the same time.
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Red Velvet
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2020, 10:21:33 PM »

My opinion? US has been very slowly jumping the shark since WWII. So slow that it’s almost an invisible process. Before that, there’s more stuff to admire, even if no place is perfect, the history of all the American continents is based on blood after all, it’s nothing exclusive to the US. But it was WWII that completely established the US as the new world superpower over Europe after all and that is due to the history and previous events that led to that point.

However, the Cold War and especially the contemporary post 90s days makes so easy to interpret US as a caricature from the outside. There is stuff that is just very hard to understand because they sound very alien to the political culture or the reality of people living outside. Stuff like how universal healthcare is argued to be “radical socialism” and how paying for it is such a controversial topic when the image sold to us is that the US is the richest country. Or the gun culture as a main representation of freedom in general. Idk, my impression (could be wrong) is that Cold War shaped US culture and some sense national identification way too much, with some lasting effects to this day that are just more bad than good.

I mean, there is something that is just weird when a MILLIONAIRE is the face and hopes of a populist movement. Reagan probably helped speed the process the most, it’s in the movies from the 80s that you see a big shift in American art and the way they communicate through their media. But you could already see signs of US going down this road since the 50s, so I consider WWII the last moment where US was a major positive inspiration to the world. Of course there were positive influence coming out after that as well, especially in the 60s, but I mean on the whole.

It’s so weird to watch movies from the 40s and then from the 80s and notice such a drastic change in the message of the Hollywood movies. I see cinema and art as a great way to document the trends of each era and that is something that fascinated me, to discover films like “The Grapes of Wrath” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Because they represent something that at the time I never imagined it would be aligned with the caricature of “US values” that it was always sold to me by the media or more recent films.
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Samof94
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2020, 12:16:53 PM »

Well, the one thing everyone can agree on is the Confederacy was a bad country. It was founded in racial subjugation quite explicitly, it was run mostly by the military, and had a “President” who was incompetent and clearly has his pockets filled with money from slave owning interests. This country would have been isolated economically and politically had it lived.
On a more serious note, Canada seems to be an America-ish nation built on a British model and often looks more like a “regular” nation not destined for greatness and is okay with it. I’d rather have this country be dominant instead of Russia or China given their serious human rights violations. The latter banned Winnie the Pooh of all things. How can you take a dictator who bans that character seriously?
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Saruku
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2020, 01:55:25 PM »
« Edited: October 20, 2020, 02:13:38 PM by Saruku »

This nation has a great deal of greatness in its history and culture of resistance, progress, and innovation that isn’t talked a lot about. Instead, the dominant narrative and pop culture based on oppression, slavery, and insanity is promoted in its place. Yes, saying that this country is all bad and is uniquely evil among nations is false, but accepting the dominant narrative that you should handwave the bad I’d also incorrect.

The positives include the protest music of modern folk singers, the struggle of labor unions of the late 1800s/early 1900s, and the mass of history shakers now standing up to police brutality.
Please read Settlers by J. Sakai.
I actually did read Settlers by J. Sakai. Outside of wrongly attributing all white workers as non-proletarian or even oppressed, instead of recognizing the intricate caste system we have in the United States, I don’t know where your going here?
My point is that, in a political context, anything less than unequivocal denunciation of the United States is a waste of time at best and actively serving the bourgeoisie at worst. That doesn't mean that I don't wish for the best for American workers.

However, I also recognize that America is where capitalism is the strongest, and therefore the place where it will be hardest to overthrow. The easiest strategy for doing so at present is for anti-imperialist and socialist movements in the Global South to reduce the accumulation of capital in the imperial core, thereby weakening those national bourgeoisies and making it easier for the American workers to overthrow them.

Unfortunately, it is precisely because American workers have it better than most workers elsewhere that makes revolutionary socialism a harder sell for them.
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The scissors of false economy
Nathan
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2020, 02:04:28 PM »
« Edited: October 20, 2020, 02:09:13 PM by The scissors of false economy »

The whole idea that whether or not America is "great" is a relevant political question at all misses the mark. The fact that people feel the need to ask this question contains within it the (itself quintessentially American) idea that a country's cultural characteristics are those and only those of its political institutions. I reject this idea wholeheartedly. America is great because of Emily Dickinson, the Grand Canyon, pee wee baseball, and The Godfather, not great because it's a presidential republic or non-great because it's capitalist. Get real.

If France magically became a one-party Marxist-Leninist state tomorrow, it could still be recognizable as French. That's not the case with America.

No, sorry, this is absurd. Either you don't aspire to understand France or you don't wish to understand America.
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John Dule
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2020, 02:17:57 PM »

This nation has a great deal of greatness in its history and culture of resistance, progress, and innovation that isn’t talked a lot about. Instead, the dominant narrative and pop culture based on oppression, slavery, and insanity is promoted in its place. Yes, saying that this country is all bad and is uniquely evil among nations is false, but accepting the dominant narrative that you should handwave the bad I’d also incorrect.

The positives include the protest music of modern folk singers, the struggle of labor unions of the late 1800s/early 1900s, and the mass of history shakers now standing up to police brutality.
Please read Settlers by J. Sakai.
I actually did read Settlers by J. Sakai. Outside of wrongly attributing all white workers as non-proletarian or even oppressed, instead of recognizing the intricate caste system we have in the United States, I don’t know where your going here?
My point is that, in a political context, anything less than unequivocal denunciation of the United States is a waste of time at best and actively serving the bourgeoisie at worst. That doesn't mean that I don't wish for the best for American workers.

However, I also recognize that America is where capitalism is the strongest, and therefore the place where it will be hardest to overthrow. The easiest strategy for doing so at present is for anti-imperialist and socialist movements in the Global South to reduce the accumulation of capital in the imperial core, thereby weakening those national bourgeoisies and making it easier for the American workers to overthrow them.

Unfortunately, it is precisely because American workers have it better than most workers elsewhere that makes revolutionary socialism a harder sell for them.

Yawn.
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Red Velvet
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2020, 01:52:00 AM »

This nation has a great deal of greatness in its history and culture of resistance, progress, and innovation that isn’t talked a lot about. Instead, the dominant narrative and pop culture based on oppression, slavery, and insanity is promoted in its place. Yes, saying that this country is all bad and is uniquely evil among nations is false, but accepting the dominant narrative that you should handwave the bad I’d also incorrect.

The positives include the protest music of modern folk singers, the struggle of labor unions of the late 1800s/early 1900s, and the mass of history shakers now standing up to police brutality.
Please read Settlers by J. Sakai.
I actually did read Settlers by J. Sakai. Outside of wrongly attributing all white workers as non-proletarian or even oppressed, instead of recognizing the intricate caste system we have in the United States, I don’t know where your going here?
My point is that, in a political context, anything less than unequivocal denunciation of the United States is a waste of time at best and actively serving the bourgeoisie at worst. That doesn't mean that I don't wish for the best for American workers.

However, I also recognize that America is where capitalism is the strongest, and therefore the place where it will be hardest to overthrow. The easiest strategy for doing so at present is for anti-imperialist and socialist movements in the Global South to reduce the accumulation of capital in the imperial core, thereby weakening those national bourgeoisies and making it easier for the American workers to overthrow them.

Unfortunately, it is precisely because American workers have it better than most workers elsewhere that makes revolutionary socialism a harder sell for them.

I generally agree with the sentiment but after learning how precarious is some very basic stuff there, like access to health, it’s hard for me to see lower income Americans as privileged on some regards. Especially since I visited the country once and needed to be attended to do a medical exam and was shocked how abusive and exploitative it is. At home, I can not pay anything to do the same exam and same would be truth in other American or European countries.

Not to mention many other socioeconomical problems they have that are hidden under the rug, mostly stuff that is designed to target lower income groups.

Sure, they may benefit on some specific ways from being part of the empire like you say, but they’re victims of it as well. And there’s something especially more perverse about exploiting your own people for the sake of more excessive gain for corporate white elites, because these people support the system that oppresses them thinking they mostly benefit from it, when reality is that as time passes, the more exploitative that system becomes to them.

It’s basically class alienation achieved by national propaganda of being “the greatest country” that got established post WWII, because if you’re the greatest place to live then it means people can’t complain about their struggles thanks to their supposed “privilege” and therefore they must support the system. I can’t not feel solidarity for poorer working class Americans like I have with people from anywhere else, even if they’re often tools used to support the establishment.
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Samof94
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2020, 05:30:34 AM »

I also get a kick out of European countries being confused by US racism but then go on tirades about how filthy the Romani people and the refugees are
Or of how various regions of the same country hate each other. Italy is a good example as southern Italians are looked down on in their own country by people north of the Tiber river.
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Velasco
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2020, 06:14:12 AM »
« Edited: October 21, 2020, 06:33:33 AM by Velasco »

Personally I think that the 'greatness' of the USA is related to their culture and their people, not to the political system. Among other things, I admire that nation because it's the birth country of blues music and Toni Morrison. I know this is a common place, but the history of all nations is made of lights and shadows. It happens that the USA are a nation of continental dimensions, which eventually has become the world's largest superpower and the most influential country on cultural grounds. This means that people in the rest of the world is permeated with American culture, one way or another. In the same degree I love blues music and other products of the American black culture, I am aware they are rooted in the old slavery system. I mean that it's fine to celebrate the bright achievements American culture, which is rich and diverse, but we must remember that there's always a dark side (KKK, NRA). In that regard, the USA are not exceptional at all. As I said before, the exceptionality of the USA is related to the continental dimension and the superpower status
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John Henry Eden
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2020, 10:51:40 PM »

Like Chesterton said. I love my mother even regardless if she is drunk or sober.

You can love your nation and culture and not be blind to blemishes in it's history.
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