Tuesday, February 20, 2007

BBC's The State Within

I’ve been watching the BBC miniseries, The State Within, these last few days and I am struck at the vision of America conveyed in the show. The State Within tells the tale of a terrorist bombing of a British airliner taking off from Washington’s Dulles airport. The main protagonist is the British Ambassador to the United States, played by Jason Isaacs.

The producers of this mini series are showing the bleakest, most mercenary side of American capitalism. The story lines are complex and intertwined, but involve an American multinational arms company, a former Soviet country ruled by a dictator, a British Muslim terrorist, an American Secretary of Defense, and a British black man on death row.

I was disgusted with the United States after I finished watching the show last night. It showed in detail an execution by lethal injection. There were clear sign’s of the man’s innocence, yet his death was railroaded by a corrupt politician, whose own puppet strings were being manipulated by the evil American corporation. Even though the scenario was fiction, it seemed entirely plausible.

Essentially, the creators of this mini series are using it as an opportunity to comment on all the worst aspects of U.S. power – the collusion of corporate money, government, dictatorial regimes and greed, things that are hinted at but rarely proved.

Watching this as Iraq implodes and thousands die reinforces my sense that our country’s worst impulses have gotten out of hand. Greed and progress have always been part of the American dream; now they dominate.

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