Wednesday, 25 May 2011
For this week’s blog I chose a website for an organisation called the Democracy Project; their mission is to support pro-democracy by establishing networks worldwide and also organising on a local level. I chose it because it displays patriotism and supports the main ideologies of America (democracy and freedom) whilst also showing concern for the direction America is heading in; I think that this is many Americans attitude towards contemporary America.
It says ‘America today faces unique threats to her continued internal stability and prosperity because of a failure to defend and pass on a civic spirit based on patriotism, education, obligation, and opportunity’; therefore they feel that America will decline because of its loss of many of the ideas it was originally founded on. It says that the treatment of new immigrants reflects this, especially the lack of good assimilation programs; this means that they don’t get enough opportunities in order to make a good life for themselves in America. This issue is particularly important to contemporary America because of the growing (legal and illegal) immigration rates, especially for Hispanics, and the question of America’s identity. They say, ‘by short changing these groups upon whom the future of our nation rests, we dilute our identity as a people bound not by race or ethnicity but by a common love of liberty. We risk our future as a nation of free men and women who, within a pluralistic society, exercise our individual pursuits within the parameters of a common culture and state’.
The website also describes the negative way people now view contemporary America: ‘In place of the image of America as a beacon of freedom and hope, radical nationalists and Islamists have portrayed America as an imperial power bent on selfish domination of the world’s peoples and resources’. It suggests that this is affecting America’s image abroad and causing self-doubt at home. As well as this, it causes other nations to accept dictatorship rather than choosing democracy. In some ways, this reflects the importance of America’s image and influence worldwide. Indeed, the organisation itself shows the concept of American exceptionalism; it wants to strengthen democracy worldwide. It says, ‘liberty is best attained and preserved when government respects the right of citizens to live under the rule of law, elect their leaders, speak their minds, worship as they please, and own private property, we support efforts to strengthen and establish market-based democracies around the globe’; this shows that they want the world to live under American ideologies.
When searching the internet for this week’s blog I found it hard to find a complete website dedicated to China and America’s relationship. Instead I am going to look at an article which is from January of this year: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/01/19/americas_china_syndrome_108586.html
The article takes the stance of China not being able to become as powerful as America; it says ‘China isn't remotely powerful, influential, or rich enough to play the leading role of America’ thus it won’t be able to take over as the world’s superpower. It also suggests that, despite China wanting greater power and influence, they aren’t keen on becoming a leader; this is reinforced by the fact that they don’t contribute enough to solving world issues whereas America does. China also has too many big issues to deal with overtaking America in terms of power: ‘China has 700 million very poor people. By 2050, it will have 400 million very old people. It will "get old before it gets rich"... The country is shot through with corruption, bogus accounting practices that make subprime-mortgage bundles look like gold bullion, and a political elite that remains terrified of democracy. A confident government doesn't banish its Nobel Peace Prize winners..China is still governed by a fundamentally evil system’. Therefore, although China is an economic challenger, it ultimately won’t be a serious threat to America any time soon.
While it portrays America as still being the main leader of the world: ‘American leadership is still the global norm’. However it suggests that despite this, it also describes that it doesn’t always act unilaterally therefore it’s not hegemonic. The article also suggests America hasn’t been completely a superpower; it says, ‘during this Pax Americana, a nasty war broke out in Europe, genocide materialized in Africa, and the United States was harassed and wounded by stateless Islamic terrorism. We also fought a war in Iraq that ended in a bloody armistice, requiring constant policing for more than a decade. Now we're in another expensive war. Meanwhile, our trade deficit only gets worse’. However, aside from these issues it says that America isn’t ‘nearly so weak, ignorable, or poor' to warrant its decline. As for China’s rise in power and influence, it implies that it would not have been possible if it weren’t for America: ‘China's rise doesn't reflect some grand failure of American foreign policy but its success. Drawing China into the global economic and political system has been a bipartisan foreign-policy goal for generations’. Overall this article connotes that America is over-reacting to China’s rise and that America isn’t in decline but in roughly the same place as it has always been – America has never been completely superior and without problems.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Monday, 16 May 2011
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
This video was put on YouTube in 2007. Like many other tributes to the 9/11 tragedy it is a montage of videos, news footage and pictures put to emotive music. The first thing I noticed about the tribute was the choice of music: a song called ‘Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)’. Indeed even the title of the song suggests American exceptionalism; this event didn’t just affect America but the whole world. The song is quite religious in tone and talks of the power of faith, prayer and love. It reflects the American idea of all coming together in a time of need under God: ‘did you go to church and hold hands with some strangers’. This tone is also shown in images such as two metal grinders that make a cross. As well as this it talks of taking strength in family, community and helping each other; all of these factors are central in America’s ideology. The song itself is typically American country in style, this ties in well with the images of flags and landmarks in the video because it emotes a feeling of patriotism and a sense that America is unified under grief.
The repeated images of the disaster actually happening reflects the fact that America was so shocked that something like this would happen to them; this shows American exceptionalism. In particular, the news footage seems the most shocking because of the sense of disbelief. However, as well as these images there are images of the heroes who were there, people together in panic, people helping each other and people together in mourning; these people are diverse in race, ethnicity and gender therefore again this shows a sense of America being united in this grief. The video ends with an image of soldiers and the text ‘America Stands Strong. Never Forget September 11, 2001’; this is suppose to remind people of the war against terrorism and the reasoning behind it while evoking a feeling of pride and hope.