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October 22, 2005

Rice Gives Good Message on Global Democracy

Too much of US global propaganda fails because it comes from a source with so little credibility, given our own historic violations of human dignity and global rules of law. But Condi Rice, using her own experience, has made a virtue of our own country's mixed legacy on democracy to make the case for democratic change in other parts of the world:

"Across the empire of Jim Crow, from upper Dixie to the lower Delta, the descendants of slaves shamed our nation with the power of righteousness, and redeemed America at last from its original sin of slavery...By resolving the contradiction at the heart of our democracy, America finally found its voice as a true champion of democracy beyond its shores."
Which is a nice way of saying that Woodrow Wilson was full of shit talking about self-determination around the world while supporting racial Apartheid at home, and FDR's compromises with colonialism post-WWII just reflected his compromises with racial dictatorship among the Southern Bourbons in Congress.

It's late in the game for this kind of honest approach to promoting global democracy, and it's likely to be just a small dot in a broader rhetoric of American self-congratulation. The fact that the International Freedom Center at Ground Zero was cancelled because opponents feared that there might be negative discussions of American history in regards to freedom reflects the cravenness of the superpatriot view of American history. They would rathter honor an imaginary past of unblemished freedom, rather than honor the heroism of those who overcame those perversions of Amercian ideals, fighting year after year for a "more Perfect Union."

But I'll give Condi credit for raising the discussion of freedom, here and abroad, to a higher level for at least one day.

Posted by Nathan at October 22, 2005 10:24 AM