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Military, Empire and Why America Is A Loathsome Refuge

What the hell is wrong with America? That's what one is almost compelled to ask when they see what is occurring in Ferguson. There is something deeply warped about this country - something uniquely warped and it is puzzling for one to understand why it got so bad.

If one looks at the country of Australia, one will see all the excuses this country has had for why it has not taken care of its own people. Australia has a serious history of racism - Aboriginals represent a mixture of the American experience with Native Americans and African Americans - ghettoized, taken by force from their families and the subject of violence and riots.

There were race riots in Australia, back in 2005 - referred to as the "2005 Cronulla riots" in reference. There were pictures at the time of white youths pummeling black youths. If you look at the Wikipedia page, it appears like hate became uncorked just as it has here.

Except the pictures are so much different. Take a shot of the police during those riots:


Compare that to Ferguson:






Like America, Australia has a redneck culture - guns were long a part of the collective culture like any frontier country. However, the Australian government realized the madness of letting anyone who wants one get a deadly weapon and took steps to steeply regulate them. You can get a firearm in Australia but you need a license to get one and that license can easily get taken away.

If Australia shares many of the same sins as America, why is it so much more peaceful? In the list of countries according to their expenditures on military, the United States is leaps and bounds above even the most militant of other countries, like Russia. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, spending was $650 billion compared to China's $200 billion - and that is despite the election of a president, Barack Obama, who pledged to end the Iraq war.

The United States was once a good country and a non-interventionist country. Conservative commentator Michael Medved made a history audiobook about World War I that I really liked in which he portrayed well how Americans adamantly didn't want to become involved in the madness of that war and only did at the lobbying of Woodrow Wilson. Of course, the irony comes in the fact that Medved himself with his demented radio show lobbied for equally insane and endless wars in the Middle East - wars that sucked at our treasury like a vampire and neglected all domestic concerns to the point that police are now equipping with hand me down equipment in American cities designed for occupying a hostile foreign country. The roles were reversed with the Middle East wars - the United States wanted them while the countries of Europe, who knew what war was intimately, wanted nothing to do with it.

None of this has to be like this - many countries have the racism and social problems that are reasons for the social conflict that caused the hate in Ferguson but none are militarized. No other countries have sold their national soul for empire as we have. Because of empire, every problem, however miniscule, that this country has is treated with a military mentality - either by police equipped like armed forces or by a citizenry that has nothing stopping them from being armed like a soldier themselves. The country that avoided the insane wars of Europe until there was no choice is long dead - replaced by a country that sees war as the only solution to anything. A country like that will die, is dying and will never be great again until it joins the rest of civilized humanity.

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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