by, February 29th, 2012 at 11:06 PM (483 Views)
I was thinking of having under eye glare protectors made with Stewart 1:16 on them like some football players I know. Of course, this is not a passage from the New Testament like the football players use, but is a reference to an episode of the Daily Show with John Stewart on 1/16/12. The part of the show I am concerned with describes working conditions for Chinese laborers at a high tech plant like the many that supply us with our ceaseless demand for electronic junk. This is just another aspect of the misery we export that we like to pretent we do not participate in.
I am thinking back to my post titled "They just don't respect life like we do." Within that post I tried to show examples through our American History where we have acted no better than the people in other countries we like to put as being morally inferior to our great nation. I first spoke about our treatment of the American Indian. Then I addressed the treatment of the blacks and the working class. Finally, I covered our less than moral activities after 9/11. However, I felt that there was still more to be said even though I did not have the heart to put it into words. It has to do with how we treat other countries.
Before I speak about the reference to the title of this post, I want to lay some historical ground work. First off, there is the issue of the role of our government abroad, including that oft used phrase from the 70's and 80's "U.S. Intrests Abroad". This phrase turned up a lot with respect to our economic needs. To put it simply, the U.S. Government used its Diplomatic and Military might to help get favorable conditions for our companies both at home and in other countries (of course, some instances did deal with protecting our citizens).
In the name of our "Interests", our government has felt the need to back dictators, thugs, and mass murderers. To my way of thinking, this does not show a respect for life better than any other country. Here are some examples:
1. In the name of our Ally Britain, we helped stop a revolution in Iran to keep a leader in power that their people did not like. We did this because the Shah of Iran gave Britain favorable oil prices.
2. We supported a South Vietmanese leader who commited as many attrocities against his own people as the North Vietmanese did.
3. We backed the military dictator of Pakistan who had overthrown the rightful government of that country.
4. We supported Sadam Hussein's brutal regime because he stood against the Iranian's who we were angry with (note: see first example for possible reason for Iran's attitude toward us). We even turned a blind eye to the use of bannned weapons. Chemical weapons that we would have loudly condemned if used against our people (note: more reason for them not to like us).
5. We then sold advanced weapons for Iran to use against the very ally we used against them. At this point, I find it hard to beleive anybody likes or trusts us. Well, maybe the ones we are making deleriously rich at the cost of their people.
In other words, we have been willing to do or allow some very bad stuff to happen in the name of our interests. Now, I want to look at the situation in China. We all have heard of the human rights violations that occur regularly in China, but what gets the most media time is the inhumane treatment of political figures. However, more egregious is the living conditions of the working class. We have all heard of different American companies that have been embarassed by their association with sweat shop practicing companies abroad. The sad part is that we get all upset and condemn the company then return to buying products made in these countries without a further thought. We are so hooked into the need to buy, which is the entire basis of our economy, that we turn a blind eye to the consequences of our materialistic society.
In the case of the Daily Show broadcast, I was confronted once again with the cost to human beings of the purchase of all our electronic paraphernalia. The show focused on turning Republican statements about the greatness of Chinese companies, which is now lacking in our's, around upon themselves. While the Republican's tote such companies as champions of capitalism, the show described the in humane working conditions such as long hours (36 hours straight), being forced to live on site, and not being allowed to quit. The life is so hard to tolerate that many are turning to suicide for escape. All this in the name of getting us cheaper junk, for in the end, that is what it is. Unfortunately, I have to admit to struggling with the need to buy electronics that I don't need. The drive for the next best thing is so ingrained in our society that not only our we willing to let others be treated terribly, but we also drive ourselves into debt while doing it.
My entire reason for this post is to deflate the enormous ego our country has with respect to our morals. It is not my intention to ignore the good things our country has done, but more to express a need for humility when we interact with the world. Yes, we do a lot of praise worthy things; however, we are also guilty of some very horrible things as well. Our current travails, I beleive, are the result of some of those bad things coming home to roost. I am tired of hearing from politicians who only focus on one side of the equation because that is all their base wants to hear. Many of the problems we have today are a result of policies based only on one side of the story, which in the end only benefit the select few. When you can have church members rally in support of a company that forces its female employees into prostitution, something is very wrong. I want to pop that big, blind head with a very sharp needle.
P.S. Note that when some Republicans talk about how we should be like China, they are talking about going back to the virtual slavery of our early industrial era. They and their financial backers want to make it easier for companies to do to our people what China does to their's. Think about that when you are voting.