By Doug Soderstrom
29 April, 2005
The arrogance of ignorance, a profoundly dangerous & ill-informed presumption that one’s own people are better (wiser, morally & spiritually ascendant & more
capable) than others, seems rather well entrenched within the American
populace. It's such that seems to have created a social-political environment that continues to encourage the American effort to build a World Empire.
All of the elements are there, in fact, it seems that at this very moment, at the very dawn of the third millennium,
the foundation has been laid. The people have been primed, the leadership (The Bush-Cheney Administration)
is in place & The Great American War Machine is ready to take action.
But how did things get to such a point? What was it that allowed our country to have become so arrogant? Was it our taming of The West? Was it our near annihilation of The American Indian, the original inhabitants of this
country? Was it our ability to have been so successful in an enslavement of The African American people? Was it our capacity to have economically ravaged Central America
& The Caribbean? Was it our capacity for technological development?
How about our having bombed Viet Nam & Cambodia into near stone-age oblivion? Then there was our war with Iraq in
1991 & the fact that we were able to kill 350 Iraqis for every American soldier who died. And what about our ability to
have been so good at polluting the earth’s atmosphere setting the stage for a rather tragic warming of the world?
Or the fact that 4% of the world’s population has been so successfully able to have consumed 35% of the world’s wealth? And what about the fact that we, no doubt, have the greatest military force in the history of the world, one that could destroy the entirety of the human race several
And what about our willingness to have thumbed our noses at nearly every institutional effort to resolve some of the
world’s most grave problems (The World
Court, The Kyoto Treaty on Climate Change, The Anti-Ballistic Treaty with Russia, The 2001 UN Conference on Racism, as well
as other international attempts to resolve pending world problems).
And finally, we can bask in the glory of having been so successful in bringing peace, prosperity & security to a democratic Iraq!
So given “such a fine history”…….. what is it about The American Citizen, on the eve of another
Bush-Cheney 4-year administrative reign, that qualifies him to be a candidate for such a grand design?
What is it that seems to have paved the way toward empire? What is it about our own people that have made them so absolutely
vulnerable, so inordinately willing to be led down the primrose path of a mad dash toward the building of a worldwide empire?
I'd like to suggest that there are 8 factors that have moved the American public to such a point. The first of which
is an inclination toward ethnocentrism.
Americans seem to be wracked with ethnocentric bias, a rather pride-filled tendency to reject anything that isn't American, an attitude that leads our people to evaluate that which is American as better than that which isn't of American origin.
For example, it's common for Americans to believe that capitalism, the free enterprise system, is inherently better (more God-inspired) than any other economic arrangement,
especially that of socialism which is, by many, considered to be evil &
perhaps even devil-inspired.
Also rather endemic is the presumption that Christianity is the one & only “right religion,” the only theological
system that will enable an adherent to enter “the pearly gates” of Heaven, condemning all other religions to the
category of false faiths that necessarily lead to Hell.
And, of course, given our country’s current 9/11-oriented fear of another attack by “the terrorists,”
the converse of such a proposition is a resolute hatred of The Moslem Faith as well as those of The Middle East who tend to
follow its precepts. Representatives of the conservative-fundamentalist Christian community such as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson
& Jerry Falwell have pretty well summed up these folks feelings.
A second factor that seems to have created conditions conducive to “the empire-rization”
of our country is the undeniability of how we, as a nation, have apparently normalized the fact of violence, how we have essentially
created a “culture of violence” as a more or less accepted way of life in America.
I suggest that hidden within the American Mind is a rather peculiar attachment or, perhaps one could say, a kind of
fondness for that of violence….. almost to the point that anyone who objects to the use of violence may be considered
as either weak, impractical, Un-American, or perhaps even un-Godly.
Such a willingness to conveniently disregard, or perhaps even to deny, what used to be the quintessential fact of the
Christian faith (that we should not do unto
others that which we wouldn't have them do unto us) seems
rather commonplace in “such a religious country” as that of America. As evidence for the normalization of (& likely the desensitization towards) violence in our country I offer the following:
The fact that The United States is the only developed country
in the world that allows the use of capital punishment, and especially that of a willingness to execute children under 18
years of age (sometimes as young as 14 years of age), a willingness to use physical punishment (spanking) as a fundamental
aspect of parental discipline, our country’s unwillingness to ban the use of handguns, the legalization of corporate
practices that destroy the environment, the bastardization of the democratic nature of our union by allowing those with money
to buy off those in the federal government, a general glamorization of violence in the media, the historical use of violence
against minority groups (i.e. Native Indian Americans, Afro-Americans, women, homosexuals etc.), the increasing use of litigation
as a form of violence, the legitimized use of violence in the advertising industry……... the tobacco company’s
efforts to advertise their products to children (in order to replace those they have already killed) along with a willingness
to allow themselves to be used as a way of destroying political careers, the acceptance of violence as an essential aspect
of the video game industry, an historical unwillingness for schools to deal with the problem of bullying, the belief that
war is an acceptable way to deal with international conflict, a general feeling that protest against war (standing up for
peace) is an Un-American activity, the tendency to euphemize the killing of innocent civilians (parents, children, and friends)
by referring to them as “collateral damage,” a rather confabulated attempt to condone impersonalized violence
(killing people from afar…… as when people are slaughtered by missiles having been shot from hundreds of miles
away), a rather fatuous belief that “might is right” (i.e. a belief that God has the “almighty right”
to send anyone He wants to Hell, The Protestant Ethic’s “damning” of those who are poor, an extraordinary
belief that our country along with its military power has been blessed by God), and a tendency for “the conservative-fundamentalist
Christian community” to condone violence as an essential religious value (as found in The Old Testament of The Holy
Bible). Again the list could go on but I think the point has been made.
Third, there seems to be a rather troubling tradition of spiritual duplicity, a feigned sense of religious piety that has
taken hold of The American People. An appalling capacity for Americans to disregard the plight of others, an absence of compassion
(empathic concern) for those less fortunate than ourselves, an essential unwillingness for the American people to put themselves
into the place of others who, by any objective standard, have faired far less well than those in our own nation.
Based upon conversations in my classroom as well as with others “on the street,” it appears to me that Americans
are severely limited in their capacity “to place themselves into the shoes of others.” For those of you who are
older think about how most Americans felt when they discovered that nearly a quarter of a million Japanese (nearly all of them civilians) died as a result of our country having dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki?
What were their feelings in regards to our firebombing of Tokyo in which 100,000 Japanese civilians died, or our incendiary bombing of Dresden, Germany
in which nearly 300,000 German civilians were torched?
And then more recently, how many of you have run into friends who have anguished over the nearly one million Iraqis
(at least 500,000 of whom were children) who died as a result of our 12-year economic embargo of Iraq, or the
nearly 15,000 Iraqi civilians who have been killed as a result of our recent invasion of Iraq?
Not to belittle the tragedy of nearly 3,000 Americans having lost their lives on 9/11, but how is it possible that our own people (many of whom refer to themselves as Christian) have such a deep concern for “those of their own kind” while simultaneously exhibiting such a pittance of empathic concern for the many more who have died at the hands of our own comrades? Unfortunately, such seems to be a rather moot point for
the Christian community!
A 4th factor that has caused so many Americans to bask in the arrogance
of their own ignorance is a relatively profound lack of knowledge in regards to world history.
just don't marry
one of these .... they're mostly arrogant...
officers.... how arrogant do they really need to be?
If a brokerage director is told of wrongdoing of his traders he/she could be charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy
& other crimes for doing nothing. If someone in the corporate world misappropriates funds just once, they can end up in
a Federal Penitentiary.
When a business person gets caught falsifying records it's an illegal act. Why should those in the private sector be
severely punished & even sent to prison for a 5 minute misjudgment when elected & unelelected officials can break
the law for years & little or nothing is usually done?
I watched Channel 3, a Connecticut Station, yesterday, Arthur L. Spada, the Commissioner of the Connecticut State Police
was being interviewed. The former Governor of Connecticut stepped down amid a federal corruption probe. The Lt. Governor,
now governor, asked Spada & other Commissioners of other Connecticut Depts. to resign because of perception of association
with corruption of the Rowland administration.
Spada seemed quite arrogant when it was brought up about his chief of staff being arrested for
fraud & theft & about other illegal &/or unethical behavior of other officers. (information) Spada appeared to say it was business as usual &
all allegations would end up being found unsubstantiated. What???!!!!
Rape, robbery, murder, assaults & other crimes committed by Connecticut police officers should be punished
as severely as any average citizen but they aren't.
Connecticut Internal Affairs can refuse to even do an investigation, nor deny a citizen's complaint. But, then again if a citizen was trying to make a false accusation they would be immediately
& thoroughly punished. Complaining about police is a good way to ruin your life & get kicked out of Connecticut, penniless,
jobless & without family & friends. I know this from experience.
So if Spada had covered & misappropriation of homeland security funds, misused his 2 chauffeurs for golfing on duty,
falsified records to cover it up, demoted the high ranking police woman because he didn't like high ranking women, covered
up for his own & other police officer's illegal behavior & misconduct, shouldn't he be put under federal investigation
& punished if found to have broken state & federal laws?
Spada has been known to be very unforgiving to officers that have forgotten to salute him or dare disagree with him
as his ego is perceived to be the size of Connecticut, but his actual stature is of a bug faced little pipsqueak, in my opinion.
Of course Spada should be punished if he broke the law.
If Martha Stewart can be labeled a felon for a slight mistake, if she did anything wrong at all, shouldn't someone
that thumbs their nose at the law & the U.S. Constitution almost daily receive a severe sentence much longer?
Of course the official should?
Speak out & demand it.
-Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)
I'd figured I had pissed off Spada from what legislators & the former Governor's aid told me. Connecticut State
Troopers were openly threatening me if I didn't leave Connecticut.
I'd been proposing laws directing police to serve & protect everyone equally & to have civilian oversight, had been writing scathing letters to editor upsetting police further &
had told local politicians I intended to sue the Connecticut State Police for violating my civil rights.
Connecticut State Police allegedly pulled over a woman I was dating twice on her 45 minute ride home from my house, searching
her twice, once when she left my home & again when she arrived at hers, according to her. She said she couldn't see me
anymore as she didn't want to get arrested &/or harassed for seeing me as officers allegedly told her I was bad news &
not to see me.
A retired police officer then routinely flooded my Somersville, Connecticut, 2 family with raw sewage leaving the water
running. I cleaned up the huge messes 3 nights in a row after working all day contracting. I faced serious charges for negligence
& health code violations as the retired cop called officials he knew. I avoided a 6 month prison sentence or worse as the Somers Sewer manager didn't go with the conspiracy.
A woman that I gave a ride home one night, after she asked me, was on probation for an offense, she'd been asking me
advice on how to get her 2 children back. Connecticut State Police were aware that I'd brought her home & allegedly told her she'd be violated on probation & wouldn't get her kids back if she didn't claim I sexually assaulted her. I didn't, so she refused &
allegedly was violated on probation & sent to prison for not going along with the Connecticut State Police ploy.
A number of police informants & others were allegedly asked by Connecticut State Troopers & local Stafford Springs,
CT, police to help harass & threaten me out of Connecticut. A legislator's aid warned me to get out of Connecticut before the Connecticut State Police
retaliated for my Big Mouth & activism.
I was then arrested & sent to prison for overreacting to be beaten & robbed on my own property. Although my
assailant had been found to be threatening, harassing & stalking me before & after, had threatened my life while demanding money from me. Only I was arrested & sent to prison for having used pepper spray
which is legal.
I knew my trial was fixed & assumed Arthur L. Spada had been pulling the strings to get me railroaded to prison
& out of Connecticut. So the day before sentencing I sent Arthur L. Spada an email that I requested that he remove the
Community Policing U.S. Dept. of Justice webpage (COPS) from the Connecticut State Police website
citing the policies weren't being followed & sent a copy to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
Arthur L. Spada was a former Rockville Court Judge & I was being tried by Judge Jonathan C. Kaplan, a judge I tried
to have removed for bias before I was in any trouble. So if Judge Kaplan freaked out on me, I'd know that Spada was illegally
acting in collusion with Kaplan at the Rockville Connecticut court.
Those that had criminal records committing assaults, robberies, rapes & even armed robbery (one guy got 10 years probation) & other crimes could keep from going to prison. Most citizens are given a first offender
program & their charges are erased. I had only an option of going to trial or pleading guilty to using pepper spray & going to prison for a year & a half. Judge Kaplan did freak out at sentencing after I'd sent the email to Spada, so I know they
acted illegally in collusion & I was railroaded. I figured that a federal official
would later go thru my trial transcripts & right a wrong. If they do, information in this post is helpful.
This post gives the reader a feeling of how ridiculous me being sent to prison
had spent 100's of thousands of dollars & years renovating Connecticut investment properties. 2 were boarded up eyesores
& were works of art after countless trips to Home Depot & 2 tractor trailer deliveries & my day after day hard
work. Criminals & drug dealers weren't punished but I was for believing in the American Dream & having a Big Mouth.
case isn't unique, it's happening over & over. Here's another one.
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