"I have the greatest admiration for your propaganda. Propaganda in the West is carried out by experts who have had the best training in the world -- in the field of advertizing -- and have mastered the techniques with exceptional proficiency ... Yours are subtle and persuasive; ours are crude and obvious ... I think that the fundamental difference between our worlds, with respect to propaganda, is quite simple. You tend to believe yours ... and we tend to disbelieve ours."
Soviet correspondent based five years in the U.S.
I'm not a very politically minded individual. I suppose the reason for that would be found in this question, "If everything is going alright in my world, why question what the government is doing?"
I'm getting to a point in my life where I care less and less about what people think of me and more and more about standing up for what I believe in.....following my heart, I guess you'd say.
Yesterday I stuck my neck out and expressed my true feelings to a friend who lives in Michigan. We were discussing the topic of patriotism and a mutual acquaintance of ours who is an ex-Marine living in China.
Normally, in the past, I wouldn't have expressed my views. I would have kept my mouth shut because some of my views on patriotism tend to be very "Out" of the proverbial box of American society.
There is nothing in life, in my opinion, more powerful than the fear of other people's opinion of oneself - once you give that fear power. To bear your true soul is to leave yourself exposed and raw.....vulnerable. Growing up in American society I learned all to well that you have to be careful what you say unless your goal is to become a hermit.
But mostly that's all water under the bridge. My friend in Michigan agreed with me, which surprised me and gave me more strength. I found myself thinking of Salman Rushdie, albeit an extreme example in comparison, but given the mindset of most Americans nowadays, not too far off the mark.
Looking back over the years, in regards to patriotism, I remember receiving my propaganda early in life, in grade school. It wasn't as if patriotism was a new concept to me though, as my father had spent 27 years in the military and was a retired military officer. My first memory of patriotism's pure power in our society was the public hazing (by both teachers and students) which I witnessed during a school function in 1969.
A young boy who was a Jehovah's Witness refused to stand for the National Anthem. I remember feeling bad for the kid, who was publicly humiliated, but I remember eventually joining in with the humiliation because I had to be a part of the pack.
I wish I could apologize to that kid today. I'd like to be able to sit down with him and tell him what I feel now. Not so much for him, but for me, to free myself of that hypocritical feeling. My father, although a military veteran like myself, was bitter towards the American government. He didn't make it a habit to broadcast his dissent, especially in his travels to the VFW (Veteran's of Foreign Wars) club, but he talked to me about it.
My dad told me that I should "open my eyes" to what was happening around me and if there was something I didn't like, rather than bitch about it, I should write a letter to my government officials. "They are people just like us," he'd say, but emphasizing that we, the people, had the power.
I recently took a trip to the Veteran's Administration Medical Center to get my travel shots for my up-coming trip to China. While there I visited an old friend (an employee) who told me about all the cut backs in the Administration and how the Veterans were pissed. I got pissed too.
I volunteered to join the military but they still have selective service here in America and if you're drafted, well.....
So we can fight for our country, often against our will, but once we're done with our "obligation" we have to endure cutbacks in our Veteran's benefits?
Something's dead wrong with that picture. What it tells me is it is far more important to our government to spend money on cover ups, rockets, bombs, tanks, carriers, and expensive high technology to assist the oxymoron of military intelligence, than it is to take care of the very people who have served their country.
There is no doubt in my mind that somewhere, somehow, my name is on some "list" within some governmental agency because of my strongly voiced opinion. So be it. I'm not leasing myself out to any state, union, society, country, government or cause anymore.
Cause I'm a Worldian now....