The United States is an awfully repressive place at times, especially for a country that is supposedly at the forefront of human advancement and progress. What prompts this particular whining of mine is the news that recently, Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick "I'm Not Dead, Yet" Cheney, ordered the burning of hundreds of books that supposedly cast some arcane aspect of American history in a bad light. I know, I know, this is old news, but I am still alarmed by Mrs Cheney's actions.
This new-age Savonarola, herself authress of a steamy civil-war era story about a lesbian couple, now out of print, also went on Fox News (that classy beacon of tv journalism, the fair and balanced news network) and proclaimed that the nation's history had to be looked at in a "non-cynical and inspiring light". Sure, forget about concertedly driving an entire native race to near-extinction, and the bondage of another for a hundred years, and there's only the Wizard of Oz left to tell in the (hi)story books.
This is also the country where people think the theory of evolution should not be taught in schools because it might be opposite to some people's fundamental religious beliefs and the theory of creationism. A documentary about volcanoes on Discovery Channel was also put on hold because of the same concerns. Television stations across the country refused to air the movie Saving Private Ryan, fearing indecency fines by the FCC.
We have a President who tries (and succeeds) to score cheap political points by speaking about promoting a "culture of life". This is the same guy who was governor of Texas, where more people are legally put to death every year, than does the rest of the country (This is a rant. I am not checking facts here, but you get the picture).
But these are only a few in a series of disturbing revelations I have come to have about this country. The image of the States as projected to the outside world is the one peddled by Hollow-wood (oops, Hollywood... that was actually a Freudian slip) and television. This is the image of a Godless, hedonistic, morally corrupt society. It wouldn't be a problem for me if this country was simply hedonistic, and morally corrupt. What is, is the fact that it is one of the most conservative of modern societies. A hypocritical, jingoistic majority, that is regularly whipped up by religious fervor of its clergy, where covert propaganda passes for news, and wimpy middle-ground politics is considered radical liberalism.
All the above would still not be a big concern if the country's foreign policy did not reflect its retrograde cultural and religious ideology. Like bestowing democracy on a country whose civilization is approximately five thousand years older than itself. I think below all the ideological and political rhetoric about the rationale for current foreign policy is ignorance and fear. Fear and uncertainty about people who are unlike its own. A people whose very idea of organized society is quite different from the one that is known here.