Are You UnAmerican?
Evrviglnt 2011/08/21 17:40:50
America is going through a difficult time right now. Our economy is sliding back into recession, unemployment is high and consumer confidence has tanked. Debt, from federal to state to personal, is crippling. Political leadership has been miserable, and our trust in government has hit rock bottom. The world doesn't seem to respect our nation any more, either. We're being lectured by communists about our debt and heckled by tribal societies about what we're willing to fight for and why. It seems America is exceptional only in that we're in deeper debt than any nation in human history.
And it's not just economic malaise that's got Americans nervous. Cultural changes ranging from sexual norms to drug use challenge our understanding of what 'freedom' means. Media culture has devolved, created now to titillate rather than inspire, frantically stoking our base appetites and desires for profit regardless of how that poisons the community we raise our children in. The internet, for many, serves as a portal to easily accessible porn of every and any kind. The sewer we swim in has changed us - coarsened us, dulled our sense of outrage - so that hardly anything anymore shocks us.
So we rage at each other over who is responsible for the condition we're in, and whether the nation we're transforming into is progress or a sign of pending collapse. We're at each other's throats, we're stressed
about the future and we don't see anyone willing or capable of leading
us out of the problems we've created. Our heroes are media creations. Our leaders are followers. Our generation endures changes no one could have predicted even 30 years ago - we are wandering in a strange land, having thrown away our compass and trusted to our whims.
It is in times like these that nations look to define themselves by the glories of their past, but we can't agree on that either. Many Americans find very little to be proud of in our history, it being just a long list of oppression, greed and murder. Generations of children have been raised to see America this way, and so wary of patriotism and the jingoism that ignites war and trivializes our common humanity. Others see a "land of the free, home of the brave." They idolize founders who revolted against tyranny, soldiers who fought against enemies of liberty, generations who each took a nation in their hands and passed it safe and thriving to the next. America is not perfect they insist, but it is good, and has brought more freedom to the world and raised the standard of living for every human being. Still others, who walk our streets, can not name the governor of their state or even the president of their country. They've never heard of the War Between The States, and could not tell you who won that war. Their knowledge of American history, it's political system, it's economic system...is either non-existent or a concoction drawn from Hollywood movies and late night talk shows. And still others live and prosper in this country and yet believe that it's government conspires against them; from chem trails to the World Trade Towers on 9/11, it seeks to murder thousands, enslave millions in domestic concentration camps, and surrender America's sovereignty to a One World Government complete with its own currency. They spend their days unwinding conspiracies and revealing false flag operations designed to rob the United States of her freedom. Yet all these people, and the many more we could splice and define from the nation's electorate, call themselves Americans. Each one would tell you that they represent what it truly means to be American - in the way they live their lives and how they interact with the world around them. They won't stand for being called "unAmerican." It's considered the worst charge you can level at someone, yet we're hearing it more and more, and not just from people debating on a message boards - our leaders hurl the epithet now all the time.
So here is my question: In a nation so large and so diverse; in a culture that is constantly changing and an economy that is forever challenged by technology and the shrinking world it presents - when someone hurls the charge at you that you're "unAmerican", what is it that you think they mean, and why does it piss you off that they would say such a thing? If they see being an American as being a progressive or being a conservative, then you're bound to be unAmerican to them in one sense or another. If being an American means being inherently skeptical of government power or its designs on world domination, couldn't being a 9/11 truther make you more of a true American than not? Or could it be that being entirely ignorant of American politics and her history and yet being a productive, peaceful and tolerant person is the epitome of the 'live and let live' ethos of our nation?
So what kind of American are you... what kind of American aren't you? There could be, conceivably, a time when being called "unAmerican" would suit you, no? So doesn't it matter just who is challenging your 'American-ness? Or is there such a thing as a 'real American'? Is there an American nature, like there is a human nature - that defining quality that marks us as different from the beasts around us? What is the American character? Is there such a thing? Or are we, as Americans, no different than human beings of every age and place who yearn for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? If we are only the realization of humanity's innate desire for dignity, how does it matter what we call ourselves? Why does it matter what people call you?
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