Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Agence Global - Article

Agence Global - Article: "Cowards and Bullies�The American Election Dilemma
by William O. BeemanReleased: 26 Oct 2004

Why is the American presidential election of 2004 so difficult? The answer may lie in an understanding of American culture. In many elections voters are faced with choosing the lesser of two evils. In this election, they are choosing the lesser of two fears.

In her classic work on American Culture, And Keep Your Powder Dry, anthropologist Margaret Mead explained America�s two great fears in pursuing power in the world: The fear of being a coward and the fear of being a bully. This year�s presidential race seems to be driven by precisely those fears.

According to Mead, Americans hate both characterizations. Americans tell their children that they must never be a coward--failing to defend self, family and loved ones. Yet, having attained power, they must never use it to become a bully--coercing and intimidating others.

Mead was writing during World War II, but her observations are eerily accurate for America�s presidential elections in 2004.

Those who fear that the United States is seen as a bully in the world oppose President George W. Bush, who embodies the essence of bully-dom both in his tough talk and his pre-emptive military aggression. His colleagues in the White House: Rumsfeld, Cheney and Ashcroft become, with him, a �gang of four,� running roughshod over both the U.S. domestic population and the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. This group takes as the Machiavellian dictum �it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.� In their actions they fulfill the worst stereotype of the hated schoolyard aggressor.

Those who fear that the United States will be seen as a coward oppose Senator John Kerry. They see consultation, coalition bu"

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