The demise of the American myth

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“To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing: you can’t trust the government, you can’t believe what they say, and you can’t rely on their judgment.”

— Richard M. Nixon

President Nixon was a crook, but here, he spoke the truth. Today we are ignoring the climate emergency and facing a pandemic “nobody saw coming.” The American myth is under fire.

The gobbledygooks are the trillions to the military, 2017 Tax Cuts for billionaires and corporations, billions in subsidies to fossil fuels, billions in tariffs, and billions in Big Ag bailouts. The ordinary guy knows his taxes are paying for all the government spends, the daily lies about the booming economy, and worries about paying his bills. Trump lies all the time, but is he a crook?

Myths are false stories, created by people in power to provide an identity and set priorities. Myths have played an integral part in every civilization. The main characters are usually gods, very stable geniuses, or supernatural humans.

Here are four myths relevant to the pandemic and climate emergency.

Myth #1 – America is special

America is different from other nations, the leader of the free world, democracy, and justice. Motherhood and Apple Pie is the overarching myth.

Trump’s denial and insufficient response to the pandemic caused the deployment of the National Guard in Arkansas, New York, California, Washington State, and more. This makes me wonder if this is the time to write about America. Hey, this is the perfect time!

Myth #2 – America is the dominant force in the Middle East

Donald Trump got a royal reception in his visit to the Saudi Kingdom, selling them billions of dollars in weapons and pointing a finger at Qatar. After his “magnificent” visit, Saudi Arabia declared a blockade on Qatar, the leading exporter of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). The blockade continues.

Who is really in charge? On March 13, 2020, Saudi Arabia flooded the markets with oil at $25 per barrel.

Myth #3 – America is virtuous

The myth is the U.S. treats other nations fairly and provides financial aid. Americans are the “good” guys.

Trump used a U.S. drone to assassinate Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani, for one of many possible reasons. Trump’s said Soleimani needed to be dead, the world is now a safer place. Trump’s “peace” plan for Palestinians, “an offer you can’t refuse” is about taking their land, not about peace.

Last week, while U.S. hospitals and medical professionals ran out of face masks, hospital beds and ventilators, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions on Iran to “deprive the regime of critical income from its petrochemical industry and further Iran’s economic and diplomatic isolation.”

Myth #4 – America’s ingenuity is the reason for its success

The GOP says American creativity is the reason for the fracking boom. When something explodes the sound it makes is described as BOOM! Trump ignores the high cost of fracking with investors getting 100 percent of the cost of drilling back within one year. The depletion allowance and other tax credits are destroying the U.S. economy.

Ignoring the high cost per barrel, the U.S. became the world’s leading oil producer and the biggest loser. World dominance has a price!

China is said to steal intellectual property, forcing U.S. companies to give up their secrets. This, like other myths, is false. China has an army of highly trained engineers working around the clock and the best manufacturing plants. Their sin has been to provide the world with high volume, low-cost products.

Rise up

The climate emergency is getting worse every day, habitat loss and global warming may be a cause of new pandemics. Melting permafrost is releasing millions of years of unknown organisms. Inaction is a bad strategy, ignoring science and nature is deadly. We can’t trust the government to solve the mess they created. The pandemic has shown that time is essential to mitigate disasters.

Dr. Luis Contreras

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