The Proud The Fearful

America the proud, America they land of opportunity, America the land of freedom. No matter what you call it, America is a powerful nation with prejudice, violence, racism and social inequalities. This ‘Power House’ of the world is one of extreme arrogance routed from their self-centred nature. They feel invincible yet they are a nation gripped with fear from their insecurities and racist views.

In the movie Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore contrasts the friendly nature of Canadians and the untrusting nature of Americans. One particular part in the movie, a cartoon about the history of the white man in colonial times, he details the self-importance of patriots and their fear of outside cultures. The Europeans came over form their countries to North America to colonize land and explore new regions. They came across the aboriginal culture located in the land, and they felt fear of these people. The Native Americans of the time were peaceful people with primitive bows and arrows and tent like houses. With the advanced weaponry they brought from Europe, the settlers armed themselves with rifles and slaughtered many in their conquest for power. Conquering the aboriginals, the white man saw new opportunity in the vast land with many rich resources and claimed the land as their own. This demonstrates the insecurities these men had as they colonized the lands and expanded their power across the world. Instead of interacting with these strangers, they resorted a more primitive solution and butchered many.

As the clip continued, it showed the progress of men in the Americas. They newly colonized natives of the country were rich industrialists seeking to harvest the lands many resources and profit from the exploitation of black slaves. Once again the settlers were off to reach new lands, this time in search of slaves to work their plantations and factories for little or more often than not for none at all. This exploitation of slave labour seemed a good idea for the lazy American populace, showing their weaknesses of being lazy and scoring all the glory. Rather than working hard to build a prosperous culture, they put all their effort into finding a cheap alternative to work; so powerful yet so weak for the proud and the mighty. Insecurities between the slaves and slave owners flourished increasingly as the years went on. Americans feared a revolution from the slaves that would, ‘undoubtedly’, end in the massacre of the rich aristocrats. Once slave labour was abolished, they grew even more fearful of the revolt but the African Americans wanted peace between the people and chose to live among them. Fear lay across the nation like a thick wool blanket. They not only feared the ex-slaves, they started to turn on each other. America in colonial times was once, as now, poisoned with racism and prejudice due to their superiority complex.

Michael Moore’s approach to showing America as a nation spawned from fear was quite effective from the clip discussed in this essay alone. The people of the American public feared difference and change from their supposed perfect power. Once fear took over them they feared more than difference they feared each other as a result of their strive for power and excellence. Patriotic America was built from power, greed, wealth, prejudice, advancement and discrimination. This nation has much pride but a far exceedingly amount of arrogance scared of change and differences in the world outside of their imagined utopia.