It is said that the United States of America began with the simple belief, that by giving the people equality, freedom, justice, and rights, that a government could be a system of supporting “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The United States was established as a nation that would be a counter to the oppression and tyranny of Kingdoms and imperial powers. Yet, it was born in a veil of hypocrisy that has only grown more opaque and continued to erode these principles that the Nation is perched upon. This ideology has become a mantra as well as a national export, and can still be heard in the State Department’s mission, “The United States has an immense responsibility to use its power constructively to advance security, democracy, and prosperity around the globe.”
“America, the world’s loudest proponent of democracy . . . has regularly allowed democracy to take a backseat to capitalism . . . [and] wherever the two ideals clashed, America favored the market over democracy,” states author Noreena Hertz. Throughout the American Century, the United States has continued to support or subvert democracy, freedom, and human rights for its own economic interests. The nation supports countries and regimes that actively and openly suppress American ideals, while denouncing democratic elections of those they demonized. In the name of freedom, liberty, and democracy, America has carried out wars, bombing campaigns, deposed democratically elected Presidents and governments, armed extremist rebel groups, and backed and aided governments who exploit their own people, resources, and industry.
These actions stand in direct contradiction to the ideals that the United States promotes and hides behind, and are carried out with the goal of maintaining the economic dominance of America. Despite these false virtues, the veil is preserved by the continued repackaging of histories and subsequent events to fit within the narrative that America and its principles are a force for good.
The veneer conceals a system that is misguided by greed, where the rights, freedoms, and the lives of people hold no value. My work is motivated by this manipulation and injustice, and the way it shapes our understanding of war, human and civil rights, economics, religion, and democracy. The medium and process of the work are left open and is used to help further the ideas, issues, and the dialogue between the audience and the work.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the work in Epilogue confronts and questions the tribulations of the past decade while inviting the audience to reassess their perception of history and its consequences.