There will never be a Postcard from Hell that bears a picture of an American street. But what if there were? What would go on there? Might it not apply the very same criteria that condemns much of Africa and lament the deeply corrupt political system that makes legislative progress virtually impossible, inhibits the establishment of truly pluralistic multiparty politics, places the bulk of power in the hands of unaccountable corporations, and offers only the very rich the chance to pursue successful political careers? It might make mention, too, of the baffling lack of affordable public health care, the rapidly growing inequality that can only foment social unrest, or the way in which young men of color continue to be harassed by state police. Maybe we could refer to these police officers as “security forces loyal to the current regime.”
Nor must we forget the enduring popularity of capital punishment, the country’s ongoing program of extra-judicial detention and killing that proceeds without any substantial accountability, and the nation’s vast stockpile of nuclear weapons, which proliferates in shameless contravention of the international commitments made by the United States. America’s Postcard might add that, in recent years, its soldiers, humanitarians all, have become notorious around the world for choosing to record footage of the atrocities they commit on mobile devices, in order to share these images with friends and colleagues. It would certainly bemoan the beatings and intimidation meted out to the many Occupy protestors who demonstrated peacefully in American cities last fall. Perhaps the picture could be of the moment last year when a police officer seized a U.C. Berkeley college professor by the hair and flung her to the ground.
And then go and read the whole thing here.