Heed them.

June 22, 2011

Why I'm an American

 Pictured Above: Nikola Tesla. An American.

The United States has a lot to answer for. Indian extermination, manifest destiny, slavery, horrible massacres in the civil war, the KKK, the execution of labor and civil rights activists, the assassination of leftist South American politicians, involvement in countless pointless wars(going back at least as far as the Philippines and continuing to Lybia[yes I can]), McCarthyism, the war on drugs, the continuing prison-industrial complex, the war on drugs, the continuing prison-industrial complex, the war on drugs, on and on.

I know about all of the blood on United States hands, because I'm interested in my countries history, because I like it here. Discussion of any or all of these things is fine in a constructive context.  But I get really angry when history is reduced to simple muck-raking by some 'Liberal' blowhard. I want to tell them-

"If you don't like it here, then why don't you leave?"

Right; I know that line could come from any conservative radio host, which I hope that I'm the opposite of. I'm violating 2 of my own rules here. I'm using liberal as an apparent insult, and I'm suggesting that someone leave my country because of their beliefs. But in this case it makes sense.

 If the atrocities committed in the past and present by the United States are completely irreconcilable to you, if you can never forget, then why haven't you left? I was tempted to say earlier that 'no country is completely innocent' but I realized that's false. There are plenty of countries with extremely clean histories compared to the U.S.- Switzerland and Costa Rica are 2 just off of the top of my head. Those and others appear to have higher living standards than the U.S. as well.

I'm sure you have the money to leave, or could save it up after a few years of working in fast food and eating at the dollar store(I know because I was on that budget for a while), so what's stopping you from moving?

The truth is I've thought of moving and something stopped me. Something was hard to let go of. It could've been American inventiveness, American humor, American art, American music, American comedy, American literature; it could've been simple loyalty and nostalgia. But in any case, I'm staying here for life, unless someone gives me an extraordinarily good reason not to. Because this is an interesting time and place to be alive.

The mexican immigrants and puerto ricans I work with are fond of saying-

"Only in America."

At really stupid or unusual things. Someone complains about the piles of cardboard next to the overfull dumpster.

"Only in America."

Someone makes a special request for Gluten-free fried chicken.

"Only in America."

The MVA requests  a bank statement to get a driver's license.

"Only in America."

My co-workers children are future Americans. If I have children they're future Americans. The American America-haters children are future Americans. The billionaires who're robbing this countries children are future Americans.

Only in America.

1 comment:

  1. I am fond of this bit by Howard Zinn in A People's History of the United States, "My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims."

    I like being in America, too. I'm grieved by our history and I'm angry at our government, but I don't know how moving would fix anything. I can choose what I can do, and I can write, and I can vote.