To end the American empire we have to challenge the narrative of American exceptionalism, that has been promulgated with the help of a corporate media that’s become undistinguishable from a state-controlled media. For example, the American media is always pro-war, and always pro-corporate-empire in accordance with US foreign policy.
American exceptionalism fuses the symbols of the state with those of the Christian religion, where actual knowledge is less important than fervent belief.
Most Americans have a Disneyfied version of US history, where America is the indispensable nation, laboring to spread peace and democracy.
Thanks to this corporate media portrayal, America’s real history of slavery, genocide and empire, is magically scrubbed away.
The election of Donald Trump with his campaign slogan–Make America Great Again, has appealed to this Disneyfied version of history, and also exposed the longing among his supporters for an imaginary golden-age of America.
All of this was recently satirized by South Park, in an episode entitled Member Berries. The member berries, are small purple berries that utter nostalgic phrases that reflect American history–as imagined by straight, white, Christian-conservatives.
Member when Reagan was president and there weren’t so many Mexicans around and no gays?
The brutal reality facing Trump is that he will need to end the US empire to Make America Great Again. He will also have to move past trite appeals to a member berry past.
Since we have two political parties I would be remiss if I didn’t address the Democrat’s use of a false and misleading history. After all, the Democrats have their very own member berries. Take the recent election loss–the Democrats, rather than examining Hillary’s shortcomings as a candidate, and their shitty policies, blamed it on the nefarious Russians.
Member when Hillary lost because Putin hacked our election?
Then, there’s the fact that both parties rely on the neoconservatives to articulate US foreign policy, even though this is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight and has been responsible for a series of cascading failures, from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya, and now Syria. The neocons also use member berries as part of their Straussian deception.
Member when Saddam gave nerve gas to Al Qaeda so they could crop dust American cities?
As you can see from these examples, member berries aren’t just an appeal to an imaginary past. They are part of a sophisticated and ongoing ruling narrative, deployed to maintain the corporate empire and deep state.
This narrative is starting to break down, hence the hysterical reaction to the “fake news” controversy. In my opinion, this is largely due to fact that the US empire is falling apart, and the effects are starting to be felt here at home.
With a military budget almost the equal of all other countries put together and hundreds of military bases around the world, the US is drastically overextended. In the meantime, much of our country is descending into third-world status. Our elite living in their urban bubbles may not see this but in much of the fly-over parts of the country, where the people who actually fight America’s wars come from, and go back to with their PTSD, missing limbs, addictions and related financial burdens, there is a serious concern about the costs and failures of our belligerent foreign-policy.
And now Trump inherits the failing US empire, and deep state that’s frantic to put off this eventuality. I wonder if they’ve informed him of all the sordid details of empire? Be nice to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
Back to the duopoly. Both Republicans and Democrats use misleading narratives and member berries to lure their supporters into voting against their self-interests.
As writers and intellectuals, we need to challenge this misleading narrative forcefully.
Going further, it’s not enough to simply challenge the dominant narrative of American exceptionalism that both parties use to maintain control. We need to offer our own narrative–where we can save the American republic by ending the American empire–and use the resources to rebuild our infrastructure and our manufacturing capability, while embarking on a post-carbon economy, putting millions of Americans back to work.
If we had something besides a corporate media, we might be able to discuss such proposals.
Instead we get member berries.
Update: Don’t think for a second that our elite are immune to the effects of member berries. I’m amazed at how much of he US political, economic, and media elite exist inside a Beltway bubble of group-think; reading the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Politico, and watching CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
Update 2: New York City and Washington D.C. liquor stores are now stocking Member Berry wine.