Thursday, April 10, 2003

THIS WAR IS FEEDING MY AMERICAN EGO, ANYWAY: It's that American self-belief that we always--eventually--do the right thing, the self-belief that Casblanca and Three Kings are all about. So I when I saw that statue coming down, it made me glad that Americans were there causing it and that Americans had helped to cause this moment that was pretty much A Good Thing. Because it was good to see a national ideal turn into reality like that. Ideals are ideals; Americans don't always do the right thing--I know that--and maybe we don't even eventually always do the right thing, but we did the right thing this time and it was good to see. Okay? Gawd, we're the goofiest imperialist colonialist superpower ever; what previous superpower just wanted to be liked? That's not in Machiavelli. If you want to understand the American version of power, you better read Peanuts when you're reading your Machiavelli.

The other American self-belief that the statue moment is feeding is that we're not a bunch of racist fuckwads and that anybody can be an American--that we're the nationality that is best at transcending ethnicity. So hopefully the fact that the Marine rubbing an American flag in Saddam's face is an ethnically Chinese child-of-immigrants New Yorker is proof of that, and that a racist past does not guarantee a racist present. I mean, in both cases (racism and Iraq) we have a lot left to do, and in Iraq there's a lot of stuff we could still go wrong with. But it's nice to see ideals in action.

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