Top Secret Nation

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Yes,
the Bush Administration wants to know all of our personal details,
from the books we read, to the obviously seditious emails we send,
while stonewalling all information about its own doings, including
the creation of an unelected “shadow government,” and its roadblocking
of the 9/11 inquiry. But it isn’t Bush’s backstairs style we’re
talking about here. What makes George Bush’s America the “Top
Secret
” Nation is its incarnation of the Communist/Nazi government
in the 1984 (!) Val Kilmer comedy.

Kilmer,
as American rock star Nick Rivers, travels to East Germany to sing
his hit songs at a state-sponsored cultural festival. Little does
he know that the conniving East Germans plan to use the festival
as a cover to unleash their secret plan to conquer the world. However,
Nick falls in love with a German beauty named Hillary, whose father
has been forced to create a super-magnet that will destroy the NATO
submarine fleet. With the aid of a British secret agent (Omar Shariff),
the two lovers manage to save Hillary’s father and stop the East
Germans. “Top Secret” is a riotous send-up of Elvis movies and World
War II mythology, complete with French (yes, French) Underground
guerilla fighters named LaTrine, Déjà Vu, and Chocolate
Mousse, who is portrayed, of course, by a black actor.

“Top
Secret” features an expansionist government that’s successfully
blended Communism and Nazism. The chief villain in the movie, General
Streck, keeps fit with exercise routines from “Hermann Goering’s
Workout Book,” whose cover features a Goering look-alike in black
uniform with his legs splayed in the air Jane-Fonda style. The regime’s
goal is world domination through military conquest, but it’s for
a noble ideal. You could even call its intentions “Benevolent Global
Hegemony.” Its citizens enjoy material prosperity and security,
but know that disloyalty will be punished severely, as their national
anthem reminds them:

“Hail, hail
East Germany!
Land
of fruit and grape
Land
where you’ll regret it
If
you ever try to escape …”

Bush
has brought the movie’s East German regime to life, though without
the laughs. Here in Dubya’s USA, it’s also a good idea to flaunt
your loyalty. After 9/11, one can never be too rich, too thin, or
fly too many US flags. John Ashcroft may be watching. The Neo-Cons
grasp the importance of blurring the distinction between patriotism
and obedience to the Ruling Class. Thus, any who question the government’s
actions will be denounced as disloyal. As David Horowitz so bluntly
put it, “When your country is attacked there can be no such thing
as an ‘anti-war’ movement. Protesters against America’s war on terror
are not peaceniks, they are America-haters and saboteurs, and they
should be treated as such.” That settles that.

Besides,
who couldn’t embrace the noble ideals that make us Americans what
we are? Like the Communist East Germans, the US promotes a benevolent,
universalist philosophy. We congratulate ourselves for that philosophy
on Loyalty Day, which just happens to be the same day of the year
as the old Communist May Day. In his Loyalty Day proclamation, Bush
stressed cosmopolitanism as a cardinal virtue: “To be an American
is not a matter of blood or birth. Our citizens are bound by ideals
that represent the hope of all mankind: that all men are created
equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm our allegiance
to our country and resolve to uphold the vision of our Forefathers.”
On the latest Loyalty Day, Bush’s PR team taped him addressing cheering
servicemen aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, named after the president
who re-invented the US as a “Proposition Nation.” Neither Eisenstein
nor Riefenstahl mastered historic symbolism as well.

So,
by blending the most successful components of the 20th century’s
most formidable dictatorships, the Neo-Cons have crafted a potent
political pastiche. With Communist egalitarianism and Nazi economics,
Neo-Conism avoids the flaws (racism, planned economy) while appropriating
the strengths (universalism, mercantilism, and really good citizen
surveillance) of both totalitarian systems. Combining the world’s
largest economy and the world’s noblest ideals, Bush’s USA is the
most powerful force the planet has ever seen. Unfortunately, the
story line of the real “Top Secret” regime is not rated as a comedy.

May
17, 2003

Michael
C. Tuggle [send him mail]
is a project manager and e-commerce consultant in Charlotte, NC.
His first book, Confederates in the Boardroom, explores the
implications of organizational science on political systems, and
will be published by Traveller Press in June, 2003.


     

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