The Dream of the Proud

(3:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The Dream of the Proud.  It’s the belief in American exceptionalism, it’s the conviction that America possesses inherent moral superiority, it’s the assurance that we are a special nation blessed by God and are thus above reproach.  The Dream of the Proud has been expressed in many ways and has had many names.  It’s been called Manifest Destiny, it’s been called the American Way, it’s been called the Project for the New American Century.  

The Dream of the Proud is a deadly and dangerous Dream.  It’s generated American aggression for more than two centuries.  It triggered America’s invasion of Canada in 1813, it triggered America’s attack on Mexico in 1845, it triggered America’s genocidal conquest of Naïve Americans, it triggered our seizure of Cuba and the Philippines from Spain in 1898, it triggered murderous American alliances with tyrants whose names are synonymous with evil-Batista, Somoza, Suharto, Pinochet, Marcos, the Shah of Iran.

The Dream of the Proud has inflicted misery and suffering on the poor and the powerless from Nicaragua to Najaf, but most Americans still haven’t awakened from that depraved Dream.  John McCain sure as hell hasn’t, neither have most Republicans.  

The Dream of the Proud is deadlier and more dangerous than ever, it’s been incorporated and privatized, marketed and militarized, it pervades American society and culture, it’s the foundation of foreign and domestic policy in Washington, so we’re trapped in it.  The Dream of the Proud has yet to end, it may never end, it’s manifested in NAFTA, in CAFTA, in SOFA.  It’s pervasive in the programming of NBC, CBS, and ABC, it’s the soma of the corporate oligarchy’s Brave New World, Americans cannot escape from it, our politics is immersed in it, our politicians live and breathe it.  

For decades, too many Americans have turned away from reality, they won’t listen to the pleas for justice of the Third World victims our corporations exploit, most Americans still believe we are morally superior to other nations, despite the brazen conquest of Iraq by war criminals who are still in power five years later, despite the damning evidence of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, despite the systematic ethnic cleansing of New Orleans, despite a nationwide orgy of crime and corruption throughout our political, economic, and defense establishments unsurpassed in depravity since the days of Nero and Caligula.    

Too many Americans have joined in the turning away from justice, integrity, and equality, and the pale and downtrodden of the whole world are suffering the consequences . . .    

It’s a sin that somehow, Light is changing to shadow,

And casting its shroud, Over all we have known . . .

My crew oil refinery

Unaware how the ranks have grown, Driven on by a heart of stone,

We could find that we’re all alone, In the Dream of the Proud . . .


We are all alone in the Dream of the Proud, we’re an oil-war-waging pariah nation in a world that despises us.   We deserve to be despised.  We had a chance to wake up from the Dream of the Proud a generation ago, but we turned away from President Carter.  He tried to wake us up, he tried to end our addiction to foreign oil, he offered rational solutions to our problems, but Americans didn’t want rational solutions, they wanted to go on dreaming the Dream of the Proud.  

So America turned away from President Carter and handed the White House to a grinning movie actor who told them what they wanted to hear.  He blamed all of America’s problems on welfare queens in Cadillacs, on liberal tax and spenders, on labor unions and activist judges and big government.  He said it was Morning in America.  But it wasn’t Morning in America, it was Evening in America, with Midnight coming fast and 30 years of darkness heading our way right behind it.                    

For far too long, Americans have been turning away.  From the truth, from the harsh reality that silence is complicity, from the even harsher reality that corporate capitalism has degenerated into corporate fascism, from the harshest reality of all–that America has the criminal government it deserves, the complicit media hacks it deserves, the ruinous war it deserves, the empty treasury it deserves, and the contempt of the world it deserves. We’re reaping the consequences of decades of ignorance, apathy, and moral cowardice, we’re reaping every one of those consequences, we’re up to our necks in that reaping and it’s not going to be over anytime soon.  

Progressives have never turned away, but there haven’t been enough of us, we haven’t been focused enough, we haven’t been organized enough, we haven’t been loud enough, we haven’t been angry enough, we haven’t been courageous enough to fill the streets of Washington and shut down that Beltway Crime Syndicate that used to be a government.  All along, we’ve seen the Dream of the Proud for what it is–exploitation, imperialism, a foreign and domestic agenda of corporate greed that kills the poor and the powerless in the name of profit.  We haven’t been effective enough, but at least we spoke out, at least we’re still speaking out, and at least we’re finally being heard.  

After the longest night America has ever known, the daytime is stirring, a new wind of change is blowing across this country, Americans are becoming the change they’ve been waiting for, they’re standing up, they’re saying enough is enough, they’re finally waking up from the Dream of the Proud, they’re finally seeing reality, they’re finally seeing the world as it is, they’re finally looking at the mess they’ve made and they’re finally going to start cleaning it up.  

Deserving or not, worthy of redemption or not, America is getting another chance.

Let’s not fuck it up this time.    

Let’s get it right this time.

Humanity’s future depends on it.  


Skip to comment form

    • Edger on June 17, 2008 at 19:33

    Let’s kick some ass. Let’s not fuck it up anymore.  

    Great essay, Rusty.

  1. someone on another blog posted “On the Turning Away” as a  way to capture what he was feeling at the time. Ever since then, that song has been the Katrina anthem for me. But it does represent so much more, doesn’t it?

    As much as I love your fiction Rusty, I’m so glad to see this. I love the beauty and passion of your non-fiction expression as well!! And I’ve long thought that the whole concept of US exceptionalism deserves more attention.  So thanks!!!

  2. wipes away the unworthy part, doesn’t it?

  3. i think you’ve been around here less than I.

    hope you are well.  

    • Alma on June 17, 2008 at 22:03

    are finally being heard, and our magnifying glasses are starting to attract even the blind.

    I sure don’t plan on fucking up whatever we can accomplish, and I know you won’t either!

    Sanity, honor, and goodness will be returned to the USA, and together we have power.

    • RiaD on June 17, 2008 at 23:14

    you speak my heart so very often

  4. the White House got sacked and burned during the War of 1812, Canadians believe they “won” that war not because they gained territory but because they did not become American. I think it got taught to me as “nobody” won but at least we still stayed Canada.

  5. but we have to hope and pray that it will be strong enough, quick enough and “indelible!”

    Thank you for the hopeful message — excellent, as always, Rusty!

  6. of this Lewis Black vid.

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