The Haunted America

Naseem Javed | September 24,2010 05:01 pm IST

Countries are like little homes; they house a nation, hold ideologies and provide shelter and comfort to its people in hopes that the occupants will nurture better ideas for themselves and further flourish humanity. Such are primary desires and goals of most countries on this small planet.

America is no exception. For decades, billions of people around the world slept at night on empty stomachs amidst dreadful circumstances, often dreaming of the freedoms and liberties of America, which they likened to a great land, a paradise and a final destination point.


The best and brightest of the world gravitated to the great USA in search of golden opportunities; in hordes they came, and en masse they settled. America became the nation which acknowledged greatness and provided the driving force to allow the dreams of small, ordinary people to take form and flourish. Free from restrictions, allowing grand expressions with extraordinary liberties, that no other nation in the history of mankind has been able to match at such a grand scale.


But currently, it seems that this home of the American nation has started to resemble that old mansion, elegantly pristine but known to be haunted, sitting at the end of that dead-end street where ghosts, mysterious apparitions and unexplainable signs have emerged. This planet, like an old street, is already full of such haunted houses, which at times seem abandoned, lifeless and unable to give or receive neighborly warmth; factors so critical for any country on the global scene. But is America really haunted?


The Three Americans

We can easily divide the citizens of America into three key groups.

The first group makes up the majority of the American population; the 70-80% of which live happily across the rich land; the nicest bunch who are content with their daily lives, sports, cheap tobacco and liquor, often oblivious of the affairs outside their own state, never mind the globe. Often challenged with the simple and basic choices between paper or plastic, smoking or non-smoking, they hardly vote, hold faith in their flag and their president, and ask very few questions.


Secondly, the 20-30% of the population is comprised of first to few generation immigrants and their extended families that have settled primarily within urban sectors and have succeeded in commercial enterprise, focusing on growth. They make up a significant portion of the economic pillar in society, and are forced to keep a close eye on global affairs, which may directly or indirectly affect their ventures. They are active on the global scene.


Then, there is an extremely small remaining percentage of people comprised of the administrative gatekeepers, residing within each state capital, overseeing the remainder of the population with specific agendas to lead the country. This power group has become so preoccupied with identifying an evil that exists outside its doors, that it has lost the capacity to identify any possible evil within.


These three groups of the nation are co-existing despite their three very separate directions. There is nothing wrong with this as similar breakdowns exist in majority of the other hundreds of nations.


Trillion Dollar Mask

Can this badly damaged image of America be fixed today and by whom and at what cost? What must it include - a new costume, a new mask or a new heart? These are very important underlying questions, but the biggest question remains - can an entire country be branded to the rest of the world in the same fashion as a breakfast cereal or laundry detergent?


The answer is a flat no. Only the branding-circus would come up with such a fake, superficial, logo-centric-slogan-happy attempt to rebuild a nation painted with banners and billboards. In reality, countries cannot be branded in such a simple process from the past; firstly, nations are already branded over decades and centuries by their histories and cultural interactions and exportable identities.


A global image is not in the hands of a polling company or controlled by a branding agency, rather, they take form in the minds of the global masses, who paint their own mental picture based on their own interpretation of a nation. Therefore, it demands an awesome force, as the global public will not be swayed by ad-campaigns, rather by the exuberance of sincere and honest truth and internal fixing leading to an inviting charm. After all, this is how American image was build in the first place.


As a rule, if it has cost trillions to get where America is on global public opinion today, then it is easily understandable why it would cost a similar amount to fix the damages. Nations can only hope to improve their domestic issues first, before reflecting out to the world and preaching to the rest of the neighborhood.

In commercial terms, American brands have lost their luster at an alarming rate during the last five years, and are now in serious danger of being over-powered by brand new identities arising from all over the newly repositioned world. This super-accelerated nouveau-consumerism has all the making of this global shift increasingly permanent on brand image leadership, a position that the USA once proudly held. The future is clearly drawn out for new countries currently engaged in trying out this global-image-creation-wizardry with full force while the early signs indicate a major world-wide mega branding and global-image-repositioning shift.


How can this great nation housed in America immediately nurture harmony within, balance the out-of-touch extreme ideologies among republicans and democrats, educate its youth that is currently the lowest among G-8 and slipping into the level of developing countries? It must have a nation that deeply engages in voting and really take care of its own people. Most importantly, it needs real guts and must once again re-learn to face the truth and move forward in the good, old-fashioned American style.



Naseem Javed author of Image Supremacy is a world recognized authority on global naming and brand name identities complexities and expert on ICANN gTLD dot name global cyber branding affairs. He is founder of ABC Namebank, ...