Saturday, 12 March 2011

Know your audience.

I guess I was not alone in wondering what caused the Chairman of the Joint Sitting in Washington to be so overcome with emotion that tears were cascading down his cheeks as Julia Gillard wound up her speech to the joint sitting of Congress. The tears seemed to follow her comments that recognised the American contribution to space exploration, steadfast opposition to the USSR in the cold war and so on and her vision of the US as an ongoing force for global stability.

But even that, I thought, as much as we like to hear good things about ourselves, was not enough to cause such a flood of emotion, then I think I got it.

US motivation that took it to Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous smaller altercations is so mixed, that her friends and even her own people became confused then frustrated and eventually divided over those campaigns. Abroad, interventionist policies will always draw criticism and there is no nation that has recently been more interventionist than the US.

OK, we know all that. But I propose the idea that Americans, above all else, feel unloved.
Here we have an emotionally expressive people who are suffering vilification around the world, blamed for poverty in the third world, international arrogance, heavy handed interventions (shock and awe), Palestinian suppression by Israel, etc, some perhaps deserved, some clearly not.

Also, sacrifice has touched most American families. Grieving mothers and fathers, wives and husbands desperately need to believe their loved ones died fighting for the good of others, others that seem so ungrateful.

But at home, they see themselves as Julia Gillard described them; moral, brave, free, compassionate and above all, relevant. To my knowledge, no foreign leader has ever before hit that nerve so accurately and the reaction was tears of relief that somebody from outside, anybody, unconditionally declared the American people to be the good guys.

Comments please.
Pic courtesy Google.


  1. Yeah, there are too many like I who think we're idiots who richly deserve to be flushed down the toilet.

  2. I am too British for all that mawkish sentiment - really a Politican crying?

    I think that past (and future) skirmishes that the Americans (followed closely by the Brits, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all) blunder into in the name of freedom are a tragic waste. And I can't help but think thatere is always an ulterior motive.

  3. Ironically, he's not just mawkish, he's also hawkish. It's a sublime combination, however, in that it enables you to send young people to die in moronic wars and then cry your eyes out at their funerals while you praise them for their bravery in "giving their lives for freedom." Yeah, right.

  4. I agree with Snowbrush - I'm one of the Americans who is fairly horrified & ashamed of some of the things we do. But you're right - there are a LOT of people who just want the world to acknowledge how fabulous we are. Sigh.

  5. It may be time to rethink the strategy of 'forward defence' that dictates a perceived enemy be confronted in their own country, not ours. That must be done before there is a push to 'contain' China.
    One of the unfortunate results of military imtervention is that it kills off domestic opposition and the 'liberating' forces become the common enemy!

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  7. Hey, it seems your readers have mainly hawkish views about Yanks. Nor, it seems, do they care for the US tendency to sentimentalise their participation in (or attempted dominance of) world events. Personally I think the Chair just had something in his eye. And I hope our own Dear Leader has reason to cringe with embarrassment at some future date when she views the video of that speech.

    I was an immigrant from the USA in the very year of the moon landing that Julia praised. But my brush with the event evokes more smiles than awe. My rather hawkish US husband-of-the-day happened to be on the line to a Sydney department store after a fridge we bought was delivered to a house two blocks down the road from us, and left on the front porch there when no one answered the door. We eventually located the missing delivery and got it safely home. But my husband had then rung the store to formally complain about the mix-up. The guy who took the call defended what he said was a top-rate dispatch system, claiming some part of it was based on the same technology "that got us to the moon". My irate American husband spit out in reply: "No, mate. It didn't get you to the moon. It got us to the moon."

  8. Our President recently said 'We should do everything we can to make susre this country lives up to our children's expectations' ..

    War is not the answer. We are spending our life energy on war .. we are teaching our youth to live violently. Fabulous? I think not.

  9. I sincerely wish that we could stop trying to fix other governments when ours is such a mess. We need to fix our country before telling others what to do. Wars have bankrupted our country, killed innocent people and what do we have to show for it? Nothing.
    I'm all for letting someone else be the world police. I'd rather spend money on educating our children and helping people rather than on guns and ammunition.
    And that cry baby politician- hah! That's all fake.

  10. I think the problem with Americans is that they spend too much time arguing over freedom and liberty instead of addressing the issues that would give them those very things - fixing up their domestic economy. My sister lives in the US. My niece and nephew are Americans. They are financially stressed right now and nothing seems to be done about it. I fear for their future.

    I think America more than any other country in the world has done wonderful, amazing things. Her contribution to the arts alone is astounding. But somewhere along the way the focus has shifted externally to perceived threats and a play for power which has prevented the economy from thriving as it should. And the people are suffering. I hope it changes, I really do.


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