This year will remembered in history books as one of the most turbulent years of the past century. The 1920s, fondly remembered as the Roaring Twenties, ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which in turn started the Great Depression. In Germany this created the circumstances in which Adolf Hitler grabbed power and started the Second World War, after which the "leader of the free world", America, took it upon itself to fight socialism and communism all over the world, leading to the countless foreign wars it is fighting to this day under the guise of spreading freedom and democracy...
Keeping in mind this ultra-short overview of the century that lays behind us, I'd like to discuss with you the widely held cultural belief in 19th-century United States called Manifest Destiny, that the European settlers of the continent were destined to expand across North America. Although it was not a universally held belief, it did shape America's early history and as it turns out, it still does so today:
"Manifest destiny" is sometimes used by critics of U.S. foreign policy to characterize interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere. In this usage, "manifest destiny" is interpreted as the underlying cause of what is denounced by some as "American imperialism". A more positive-sounding phrase devised by scholars at the end of the twentieth century is "nation building..."
At this point I must again point to the rise of fascism under America's current president, Trump, by remarking that according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia, Adolf Hitler's Lebensraum was the "Manifest Destiny" for Germany's romanticization and imperial conquest of Eastern Europe. Hitler compared Nazi expansion to American expansion westward, saying, "there's only one duty: to Germanize this country [Russia] by the immigration of Germans and to look upon the natives as Redskins." This term, Manifest Destiny has long been relegated to the history books and replaced with more neutral sounding terms like "nation building", but Donald Trump's speech writers have used it not once but twice in this turbulent year of 2020, most recently in his 4th of July speech. He also used it, in an arguably even more shocking and overt way, in his State of the Union address last February, and used it in relation to the expansion of American hegemony into space:
“In reaffirming our heritage as a free nation, we must remember that America has always been a frontier nation,” he told members of Congress, about three-quarters of the way through his speech. “Now we must embrace the next frontier: America’s manifest destiny in the stars.”
source: The Washington Post
And, as if that wasn't enough, in a July 7, 2020 article on BillMoyers.com we find this snippet:
Then, out of the blue, the official White House Twitter account published a photo of Trump and Pence apparently gazing in to the sky, alongside a quotation that said: “Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.”
What we experience now in 2020 is rooted still in the cultural beliefs from the days of colonialism; the voices of white European men and women whose current wealth and world-domination has been built on conquest, slavery and genocide, still reverberate in the air in which the spirit of American Exceptionalism dwells, compelling those who listen to firmly believe in their right to expand their sphere of influence around the world. America is an exceptional country indeed, in the sense that in it these expansionist forces have been concentrated for centuries, to the detriment of its indigenous and imported black and brown population. The fact that Trump invokes the name of Martin Luther King Jr. in the same speech in which he mentions Manifest Destiny is an insult to everyone who has an inkling of historical awareness, and even more so to the aforementioned ethnic groups. It'll be interesting, to say the least, to see how long Trump keeps up his proto-fascist demeanor, as for now he seems to be losing support across the entire American population. That's good. Let's keep it that way.
Trump Finds Himself On An Island When It Comes To His Race-Baiting & Divisiveness | Deadline | MSNBC
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