Nation and Nationalism 5 – Greater countries

Below are the opening lines in the poem Desha Charitralu by famous radical Telugu poet Srirangam Srinivasa Rao (Sri Sri) in his critically acclaimed work  Mahaprasthanam.

దేశ చరిత్ర చూసిన ఏమున్నది గర్వకారణం?

నర జాతి చరిత్ర సమస్తం పరపీడన పరాయణత్వం!!

(Translation: Where is the reason to be proud of any country if the entire human history is filled with suppression of weaker by stronger?)

When Donald Trump sloganeered ‘Make America great again’ during campaigns, I was wondering whether America used to be a great country earlier and if it really was, when did that greatness cease to exist? Was the greatness outsourced to India and China?

Which is the greatest country in the world? What makes a country great? What attributes should we consider to measure the greatness of a country?

When Hillary Clinton was endorsed and of course predicted to win by almost entire international media, Donald Trump shattered their expectations by winning the most number of electoral votes. A literal slap to paid media. He ‘white washed’ the swing states in an unexpected way by preying upon the prevalent xenophobia among the middle class.

So when exactly did America loose its greatness? Firstly, when did America achieve its much hyped greatness? What exactly was the American dream?

When America gifted democracy two centuries ago, it stepped towards greatness. When its technological prowess started to globalize the world, it was perceived to be great and when its gigantic defense forces and technology threatened the axis powers and helped to culminate in the 2nd world war, its greatness was established firmly. And it took the greatness levels out of the stratosphere by its jaw dropping space explorations.

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Donald Trump in 2013 at Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC by SA-2.0

 

While on the other hand, when patriotism and nationalism overcame the basic values of humanity, America lost its greatness. When the greed to be a superpower destroyed the sovereignty of other nations, America lost its greatness. When mindless collateral damage was committed in two countries in the name of war against terror, it completely lost its credibility to be called great. When it started surveilling its own citizen’s personal activities in the name of security and so on……..sensing a golden opportunity, an intelligent person who was partially ignorant of his nation’s exact greatness came out from nowhere and demanded his fellow citizens to make America great again.

Mr. Trump was successful in channeling the fear among the middle class citizens into votes. His lethal weapons against his democratic rival were incumbent policies on Immigration and Islamic terrorism and he disguised both of these modern weapons in the robes of antinationalism.

Free trade, liberal society and countless opportunities contributed to the cause of American dream and lured the ‘immigrants’ to go for it few decades ago. When it reached to the extent of saturation, American’s heart started filling with conserved nationalism with a constrained vision of lifestyle and now it has filled up to the brim amongst the fears that their own American dream might be incepted by others. As a result, conservative ideology is gaining popularity in the name of nationalism.

When lengthy American presidential election was a full length Shankar style surprising commercial block buster movie with surprising climax, Brexit mayhem in July was its trailer. With slightly modified screenplay, remake versions of this nationalist blockbuster movie are in the post productions stages scheduled to be released in Europe in the coming summer reportedly in French and German languages with Russian subtitles exclusively for the Kremlin.


Feature image : US Migrant’s faces by Gerson Galang, CC by ND-2.0

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