By Elias Karmi
According to a survey published recently by the Washington Post and ABC, 60 percent of all Americans strongly want the country to change direction. This comes naturally due to public perception of the evident challenges we are going through as being unnecessary, avoidable, or poorly executed – most notably the war in Iraq.
Of those 60 percent, however, I wonder how many would truly like a change in direction.
Americans wanted changes in direction many times before, hence the switch between Republican and Democratic presidents. But did America’s attitude towards the world ever change dramatically since World War II? How about a change that lets each people have their full freedom – freedom from U.S.-appointed and -maintained governments that continue to oppress their own peoples ruthlessly?
How about a change that allows the people of Egypt, for example, to freely elect a new president after 26 years of Hosni Mubarak’s consecutive presidencies?
Notice that in those 26 years, the U.S. was ruled by both Republican and Democratic majorities, both of which supported and turned a blind eye to Mubarak’s methods.
How about a change in which foreign governments finally put the well-being of their own constituents above U.S. interests? Is that really all that radical?
Many U.S.-friendly governments abroad have been torturing their citizens since before the 1960s. Consecutive U.S. presidents’ administrations turned a blind eye to that while continuing to provide economic aid to those countries. That is considered support for such torture. Third World-dwellers have an ever-present fear in the backs of their minds of being tortured in their governments’ dungeons. Can we have a government that works to stop that instead of pretending not to know about it? It has been happening over many presidencies now and sometimes it is supported directly by the CIA.
How about a change in self-righteousness? Are we really fit to tell other countries how they are supposed to live their lives when we are failing at taking care of our own sick? Perhaps we can learn from others for once instead of constantly preaching.
What about us, the American people? How about a change where we have the power, not the lobbies. How about a democracy where the wealth of individuals and corporations is rendered powerless and irrelevant in politics? As long as money and politics are linked together, a malignant form of moral corruption will loom over all.
So are we yearning for some real change? Or are we only about to change parties again?