‘And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God bless the USA’
-from the song ‘God bless the USA’ by Lee Greenwood.
USA as a nation and a people have come a long way from pre-Columbian times when Native Americans used to live in the Americas for centuries to the world’s only Superpower. Ever Since the Cold War ended. When Communist Governments including USA’s bitter Cold War nemesis-USSR fell like ninepins.
USA’s history picket-fenced like that of any progressive democracy. From the civil war of 1800s over slavery. Participation in two World Wars. Use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Assassination of her two famous and regarded presidents Abraham Lincoln and John. F. Kennedy.
Neil Armstrong’s ‘one small step’ on the moon he made on July 20 1969.Jesse Owens crushing Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy in the Summer Olympics of 1936 in Hitler’s own backyard by winning four golds. The Great Depression of 1929. Costly Cold War with Communist regimes, especially the erstwhile USSR -which President Ronald Reagan loved to call the ‘evil empire’. It’s meddling in West Asian politics underscored by the dazzling Operation Desert Storm under President George Bush (Sr) to deliver oil-rich Kuwait from invading Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.
All-weather support for Israeli expansionism and Zionist belligerence. Camp David Accord under President Carter.
Proxy Attempt to liberate Afghanistan from invading Russians by arming ruthless fighting units created out of nomadic tribes to the teeth. One such was Al-Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden. And the other-Taliban. These hatchet men of America turned inconvenient ‘thorns in the flesh’ to herself, when they later turned Jihadi zealots. Much like autoimmune diseases-in which the human body turns against itself pathologically.
Manifested audaciously when America was hit where it hurt most- its economic might and representation of free market. On September 11 2001 suspected Al-Qaida terrorists crashed civilian planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in Downtown New York. 2977 perished and 25,000 were injured. America hasn’t been her former self since. She stood exposed and weak. As vulnerable as any nation on Earth. She redeemed her pride under the Obama Presidency when a six-member US Navy SEAL team killed bin Laden on May 2 2011 in his hideout in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
Homeland security which stood exposed, and rendered fragile and weak-kneed by the 9/11 attack paled before the bashing the much-heralded American democracy and constitution took in the just-completed Presidential elections. One of the biggest misfortunes and mistakes to beset American history was the election of Donald Trump as her 45th and the current President. Fiercely nationalist, isolationalist and protectionist policies of Trump isolated USA.
Trump presidency was synonymous of controversy. For starters he ordered travel ban on citizens from Muslim-majority countries. Neil Diamond seemed to have sung ‘they’re coming to America’ in vain! Trump’s ‘America first’ policy saw the USA withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran Nuclear Deal. Stiff import tariffs triggered a nasty trade war with China. Despite meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un thrice denuclearization broke down in 2019.The nadir of Trump presidency was his reaction to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. By downplaying the threat and ignoring and contradicting recommendations from health officials, he took on a wrong entity-SARS-CoV-2. He promoted false information to the point of ingestion of detergents to beat the virus! Resultantly USA topped COVID-related world charts for wrong reasons.12.2 million Americans were infected and 256,000 perished.
America witnessed one of the worst ever racial conflagrations following death of 36-year old black man George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.Floyd was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit bill. While arresting him, Derek Chauvin, a white police man knelt on the neck of already handcuffed Floyd who lay face down. Derek’s fatal 9 ½ minutes kneeling act on a subdued ‘criminal’ was assisted by three other officers. Whimpers of a dying Floyd ‘I can’t breathe’ under the knee of a white policeman drowned the famous speech Martin Luther King Jr made on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. The ‘uncashed cheque’ of unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all men’, promised in the American constitution seemed to remain uncashed as Floyd died whimpering ‘I can’t breathe’. 57 years after that iconic speech about a dream found America still stuck in the quicksand of racial hatred. ‘The Negro still remained the victim of unspeakable horrors of police brutality’. Seemingly. The ‘solid rock of brotherhood’ remained a dream. Still. After the brutality, the ‘black lives matter’ movement saw widespread vandalism and looting. Police bullets felled protestors. Americans sang ‘my country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty’ in hushed voices and heads hung in shame following Black Floyd’s death under the knees of white Derek.
A nightmare that Trump presidency was to America ensured his defeat in the 2020 presidential elections to rival Democrat Joe Biden. The keenly fought election was a cliffhanger. Though Trump lost the election, he has till date refused to concede defeat. Making laughingstock of American democracy and constitution. He refuses to vacate the White House citing unsubstantiated accusations of electoral fraud. He has ordered noncooperation from White House officials in presidential transition. Trump style!
A defeated Trump’s efforts to cling to office through sleaze tears to shreds American democracy. The world can ill-afford this dangerous manifestation of extreme right-wing arm-flexing and bullying. Of hate and division.
If the loser lacked grace to accept defeat, the winner lacked dignity when Kamala Harris the Vice-President elect harped on the melanin content of her skin in the speech hailing the victory of Joe Biden. The world beheld America contemptuously! The saga of hate seemed to continue.
Lee Greenwood now needs to sing on his knees to ‘the God he trusts’ ‘God bless the USA!’