Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: Ten years later

September 11, 2001, I was in Aldergrove and Hope, British Columbia; ten years later, I am in China. But I won't bother with reminisces from that day -- I will instead talk about the aftermath and anti-Americanism.

The way I see it anti-Americanism is a mental state, or an intellectual or mental disease akin to anti-Semitism. I have read accounts of people coming from highly anti-Semitic atmospheres experience anti-Americanism and note the similarities.

One thing that I wanted to see as a positive result from that tragic day would have been a decline in anti-Americanism among people who should have known better. Alas, it didn't happen. Many believed that America had 9/11 coming. Many could not overcome their prejudice toward Texans with Christian beliefs. In 2008, President Obama was elected and I remember the anti-American types were high-fiving each other with glee the day after the election. One of the persons doing the high-fiving was openly anti-American. Actually, he was one of those self-hating Americans who, to someone whose parents escaped from the Soviet menace, are very bizarre. The high-fivers thought it was high-minded of Obama to trash the legacy of the country that elected him.

In Wuxi and around China, I encountered a lot of anti-Americanism among Expats and locals. A lot of it very gratuitous. In Yunnan, for instance, this young fellow from Canada, for no particular reasons, told me he hated Americans. I said nothing -- shame on me. In the aftermath of 9/11, I bought two t-shirts: one bearing the letters U.S.A., and another with an American flag. I brought them with me to Wuxi. I was warned not to wear them at a certain bar in Wuxi -- people would object. I wore them anyway, and someone told me they saw me wearing that shirt. At dinner once, I remember some Brit sneering about something China did that would show up the Americans. I have heard others preen all about America's racism and love of guns. One person told me that he wished America would roll off the face off the earth and told me a crackpot theory about Pol Pott being an American creation or something along those lines. And recently, I have heard non-Americans trashing Sarah Palin.

I could go on with examples of the bigotry, but I know that people who disagree would point to something they don't like about America and its culture or its foreign policy and say aha! Well, to them I can respond that much of the trouble America has comes from its' generosity of spirit. For example: Why should have America protected Western Europe from the Soviet Menace during the Cold War? The wealth that Europe enjoys today was because America subsidized its defence. Why did America engage in the Vietnam War? The war doesn't fit into any narrative that sees America wanting economic benefits like oil? Why didn't America employ a ruthlessness in its occupation of Iraq that the Romans employed in Carthage? You'd have thought the Yanks would have given the alleged fact that they are ruthless and imperialistic. I could go on.

Really, my hope for a decline in anti-Americanism among those who should known better was a hope for a change in human nature. It was very bit Utopian as the dreams of anti-American leftists (are there any leftists who really aren't?). Human nature doesn't change. It manifests its weakness in different forms. First, it can be anti-black; then it can be anti-Jewish; and these days is far too anti-American. Humans are prone to jealousy, shyness, meekness, brash-boastfulness, snobbery, stupidity, and wickedness everywhere and at every time. America is guilty of these sins, as is all its critics. But America is great nonetheless. And to not recognize this is blind, wilful jealousy. To hate America is to hate the human race.

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