backwoods nation

Bloodlust often presents itself as patriotism, and we as a country absolutely fucking love it.

If you’ve been on the internet in the last few days, you might have noticed that it’s 2003 and everyone is falling in line to send more of our men and women to die in a foreign country based on the idea that this somehow protects Americans. And by it’s 2003 I mean it is also 1950, 1955, 1958, 1961, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2001, 2015, and every other year that the United States of America has gone to it’s citizens to elicit support for some drummed up future dumpster fire of a dick measuring contest in the Middle East/Southeast Asia/Central & South America/Cuba/Haiti/ you get it the list goes on and on.

I don’t like to write about our president because he sucks and is bad content, but I would be remiss to not mention that the dogshit content buffet that is our current media landscape has a line of MAGA hats miles long eagerly awaiting the opportunity to fill their plates with whatever they’re told to eat. Shortly after the news of us preemptively attacking a foreign adversary became public, the president of the United States of America tweeted out a very low res clip art version of an American flag so that thousands of his dead-eyed, worm-brained twitter followers could triumphantly bellow with the cries of military success that this nation has relied on for a few hundred years. Starting another endless, unwinable war to own the libs, so to speak. The mainstream media wasn’t far behind with their “hey this is good” headlines that ignore the history and context of why this sort of thing maybe isn’t so good for us or anyone else involved.

It started pretty fast and furious this morning. The internet is ablaze like the ruins of a recently bombed jet on the runway in Baghdad. Everyone has strong feelings one way or the other, and that’s probably based mostly on what you already believe politically. I used to consider myself a pragmatist which is a fancy way of saying that I would basically fall in line with whatever seems most realistic at any given time. We have been so conditioned in this country to lap up every last ounce of Middle Eastern blood in the name of American superiority and security that this type of thing doesn’t even seem weird to many of us anymore. We attacked an Iranian leader last night in a very hostile act of war? Alright, makes sense. Think I read somewhere recently that they were a bunch of bad guys anyway so it’s fine. The closed loop of whatever feed we rely on for our daily information works every minute of every day to make us feel good about what we already believe to keep us watching ads from one network or the other. I am not immune to this and neither are you. Social media has essentially dropped an hydrogen bomb on critical thought and has secured for us the ability to never step outside our own thought bubble unless we choose to and even then it’s an extremely tall task. It is an absolute fucking travesty and an absolute work of genius that has dramatically changed the world and continues to do so as everyone looks to their voice of choice in their iPhone screens or cable news shows to tell them how to feel about what’s happening.

I won’t post it here because I have a strict “don’t signal-boost the shitheads” policy but I saw a clip this morning of the hosts of a cable news morning show that our president watches every day nearly foaming at the mouth out of pride for killing the bad guy with a missile and showing everyone how strong America is. Bloodlust often presents itself as patriotism, and we as a country absolutely fucking love it. It’s like Running Man but instead a dystopia where prisoners try to avoid being executed on live TV for the enjoyment of millions it’s a dystopia where we watch in real time as leaders of developing nations constantly dodge attempts to overthrow and decapitate them and their power. As long as we can convince ourselves that the other guys are bad and a threat to us and our lives here in mainland America we can continue to feel good about nailing these bastards where they stand.

If you want a real mindfuck go read about the history of US intervention in Iran. Read about how Republican mega-Christ and general destroyer of non-wealthy lives Ronald Reagan illegally sold arms to Iran during what is now known as Iran Contra. Read about the Iranian Revolution, the discourse about whether or not we opened the door for the current Iranian government to waltz in and establish a theocracy.. If you didn’t know, theocracy is code for a government run by people who know that gods give people power and the footing on which to stand and say “this is right because a deity told me so.”

I’ve written about it before in the context of Hawaii, but if you want a bigger picture of America’s imperialism addiction, pick up the book Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer. We’ve been at this for a few years, and our early understanding that military control of ports and shipping channels would breed economic success was exactly right. It has worked like a charm and fast forward to 2020 that’s why the world is riddled with US military bases.

I believe this will be a defining moment in American history for a number of reasons. Primarily, I think it will put on display who the real players are in the Democratic primary. Only one of them has been staunchly anti-war for his entire political career and wouldn’t you know it right on schedule he’s the only one to release a strong and steadfast statement about what happened in Baghdad that didn’t start with some version of “Soleimani was a pretty bad dude but…”. I won’t spoil the surprise for you but if you fancy yourself an anti-war liberal you shouldn’t have much trouble making a decision about who your candidate should be. I do fancy myself an anti-war liberal, which is a far cry from the self-proclaimed libertarian values I held in my early adult life. My band once played a fundraiser for Ron Paul at my urging, that’s how far gone I was, but I’m mostly alright now and the more I read and the more I try to understand political histories and economic systems and status quo’s the more my heart tells my brain that things are bad and don’t have to be. If all you ever do is read the headlines as they are fed to you, you’re likely to be alright with whatever the resulting actions are. Ignorance and violence are best friends, and that is especially true in these United States of America. Praise the war machine, you’ve come to set us free.

Our congress recently passed the 2020 version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which added $22 billion to the last version of the military budget, bringing the new total to $738 billion. Very conservative media outlet The Heritage Foundation wrote of it that All in all, the 2020 NDAA represents a good step forward in rebuilding our military and it shows that there is a robust bipartisan commitment to a strong national defense.

A robust bipartisan commitment to a strong national defense. Imagine a robust bipartisan commitment to education, healthcare, infrastructure, or not letting kids die in cages on the southern border. Imagine a robust bipartisan commitment to anything other than drone strikes and military might. Imagine a world where someday our grandkids are lucky enough to have zero understanding of the America that we know right now, and won’t have to worry about being unable to afford insulin that they need to not die or have to send their own kids to private school because of a deliberate dismantling of our public education system.

I wish I could say that we are better than this, but we aren’t. History proves again and again that we are international shit-stirrers. A backwoods nation of violence and intentional ignorance, resorting to accepting that that’s just how things are instead of actively trying to do something about it. We don’t have to be this way, but for the time being, we are.

Calling the doctors of spin and the smoke screen
To whip the new hate-triots into a frenzy
Of good versus evil ignoring the history of the
Backwoods nation
-David Bazan