The Aesthetics of War: John McCain and Nativist Patriotism

I am not given over to commenting on politics [at least on-going discourses] with great frequency; I tend to prefer bigger picture issues, but I thought I would share a short piece on my reaction to John McCain and the rhetoric I’ve heard coming from the Republican party. This should not be seen as anti-Republicanism, as I am not a part line personality. Rather, it is a critique on what they are presenting to the American public, particularly as one coming from the Blackamerican population.

John McCain’s legitimacy, based on his service in the military, is a telling point. While it is certainly a terrible thing to be held in a POW camp, no one in the media has yet to look at the Vietnam war in terms of a) was this a beneficial war b) what did it accomplish for the United States and c) what has been done for all of the veterans who returned from the war, permanently scared [mentally and physically]. I find this whole legitimacy based on participation in an unjust war disgusting and misleading. It smacks of classic nativist ideologies. In fact, I was fully reminded of Marinetti, when listening to members of the Republican Party laud their support of McCain at the GOP convention:

“For twenty seven years we Futurists have rebelled aginst the the branding of war as antiaesthetic… Accordingly we state: … War is beautiful because it establishes man’s dominion over the subjugated machinery by means of gas masks, terrifying megaphones, flame throwers, and small tanks. War is beautiful because it initiates the dreamt-of metalization of the human body. War is beautiful because it enriches a flowering meadow with the fiery orchids of machine guns. War is beautiful because it combines the gunfire, the cannonades, the cease-fire, the scents, and the stench of putrefaction into a symphony. War is beautiful because it creates new architecture, like that of the big tanks, the geometrical formation flights, the smoke spirals from burning villages, and many others… Poets and artists of Futurism!… remember these principles of an aesthetics of war so that your struggle for a new literature and a new graphic art… may be illuminated by them!”

Some may find it an unduly harsh step to brand this kind of talk as facist/futurist but it does have many of the same talking points. Like Marinett’s Futurists, the GOP barked the very same anti-intellectualism that is present in Marinetti’s writings. That fact that the Republicans put forth war as an aesthetic, as something beautiful, is undeniable. The War On tError has certainly shown us plenty of burning villages and civilian casualties. And for what? What “evil criminal force” has been detained, dismantled or destroyed? Many a young man or woman returns home, their limbs replaced by that very same “dreamt-of metalization”. The poppy fields of Afghanistan are indeed ripe with “the fiery orchids of machine guns” and yet, drugs still pour into our country, not debilitated in the slightest. And as for the cannonades, we have our “shock and awe” and Missions Accomplished, yet do we have anything to show for it?

I cannot say with any certainty that Barack Obama will be able to bring about wide, social or economic changes, but given the doctrine that McCain and his party are spewing forth, given that someone as obviously unqualified as Palin has been championed over the accomplishments of the likes of Obama, we have to look and work for an auspicious outcome. The alternative seems grim indeed.

1 Comment The Aesthetics of War: John McCain and Nativist Patriotism

  1. zt967@aol.com'Jerry

    This election was about style over substance and character. Americans voted for Obama because of style not because of anything substantive that he had done in the past or would do in the future. McCain and Palin are the gold standard of character while Obama is a man of highly questionable character. The idea that you would cite Sarah palin as being unqualified to be Vice President is absurd. Her qualifications included managing 29,000 state employees in Alaska, an $11 billion annual budget, negotiating a $40 billion gas pipeline agreement that resulted in cash back to every state resident, and being Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard, which because of it’s proxmity to Russia is the only National Guard that is on-call 24/7. Obama had no significant accomplishments prior to running for President and his only accomplishment is running a successful campaign for President. He did that primarily by appealing to people’s emotions and fears, which is no different than what Adolp Hitler did in Nazi Germany. 32% of those who voted for Obama didn’t even know the Democratic Party was in control of the House and Senate for the last two years. Obama is a front for some very powerful men who want to impose their agenda on the American people and remake the Constituion to their liking. Unfortuantely, most Americans were too stupid to figure that out and now we will all have to live with the result, which is a gradual but on-going move to social fascism.

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