The Americans have always been master showmen. It’s all about the delivery, about the image. An actor for one of their presidents – another actor governing California… it just says it all, doesn’t it?
Which is why I shouldn’t really be shocked when the substance behind the delivery becomes apparent, and the mask is torn away to reveal something truly appalling. But I am shocked, nevertheless.
Someone posted this story on Facebook, and I read it because I was a little bored waiting for a file to open. It’s about a whistle-blower, by the name of Bradley Manning who exposed atrocities by American colleagues in Iraq. Since then, in spite of his action changing things for the good in a massive way, he is being punished, and in such a way that an onlooker could be excused for wondering if they were beholding a Guantanamo Bay inmate.
(Just as an aside – flying people to countries where the human rights laws aren’t so strict as back home so they can be tortured properly – that’s called extraordinary rendition. I rest my case. Then again, ‘remove and hurt to heart’s content” doesn’t have the same ring does it?)
I can’t believe this is happening in Obama’s America. George Dubya’s America maybe – but Obama? The man has always commanded my utter respect and admiration. I’d even decided that puritans or not, fear-ridden and gun-crazy or not, police-state or not… I wouldn’t mind emigrating there now. Whenever I listened to Obama and watched the videos from the White House, I felt such a yearning to be part of ‘this magnificent country’ as I saw it. (BTW – all those verbs were hastily changed to past tense after being originally written in the present. Old habits die hard.)
I still want to work there, but only because Pixar is there, the Mount Olympus of animation. But Land of the Free? Guys, I have to say… you had a lot of us fooled there. In spite of seeing ‘Wag the Dog’, I was thoroughly taken in. Ah well, you live, you learn.
So – wonder what Brazil is doing tonight.