America Gets a Lot of Shit.

Published March 26, 2019

And much of it is well deserved. Much of it is not. Quite a lot of it seems to miss a fundamental point: America acts like it’s different from the rest of the world, because it is different.

Basically every other country in the world is founded one on of two things:

  1. An identity (ethnic or not) based around or in opposition the traditions of the folks native to that region.
  2. An identity (ethnic or not) based around or in opposition to the traditions of the folks that most utterly conquered that region.

America is hardly unique in that respect, having committed mass genocide against countless native peoples times and time again in every increasing orders of tragedy and horror. And of course, there is nothing that can ever be done to recover from such acts.

And Yet.

The point of America is everyone gets to play. That’s it. Yes, the complete ramifications of that concept were not fully explored by the founders. Yes, even though we have made truly significant strides we have fucked up the implementation time and time again. Yes there is zero indication at the moment that we are ever going to get any better at it.

And Yet.

America is here to stay. And I would argue that — overall, in the grand, grand scheme of things, we’re talking the macro of macro here — that the US has achieved on a global scale — by a hair — a net positive effect.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and mostly boils down to the usual alphabet soup: CIA, NSA, DEA, ETC — and you’re not at all wrong, not even a little. We’ve done horrifying things as a country, time and time again.

And Yet.

We still have a few things going for us:

  1. The media and our sense of American identity. Every country’s art reflects that countries values in one way or another — for, against, or existing within those confines because they know nothing else. American art, again, is no different — it reflects our sense of identity. That of the underdog.

Yes that makes no sense. But think about it — Star Fleet’s idealized vision of the future aside, America rarely depicts heroes as people working in concert with authority. Even our cops and doctors are mavericks, working against the grain. Bull Pullman, playing the US President, flew into battle against alien spacecraft against the advice of his cabinet. And we all were like yeah that tracks” 1? That’s how deeply ingrained this shit is.

  1. Our technology has tilted the world toward democracy. Even though Russia’s putting a big bag of severed GOP thumbs on the scale at the moment, the last hundred years have been a steady climb of democratization and inclusion — speaking at a global scale.

And make no mistake — America has made itself fundamental to global society to the point that it is global society (especially combined with our media export).

  1. The world needs a bully. And we’re the kindest one available. Truly. The world needs someone to unite against and that someone can be Russia and China and we can have more fun cold wars, or that someone can be us, and we can instead have friendly bullshit alliances like schoolgirls or cast mates on Survivor. And wouldn’t you rather have either of those in charge than the fucking meth-head child molesters from across the lake where all the gators seem really, really fat?

And America can take the punches, we honestly don’t give a shit because we are the standard against which the rest of the world compares their own countries and that makes us the best. Suck it, Europe. Don’t mail me your croissants and tweet at me from your fucking typewriters, just suck it and like it, and move on with your lives. I have.

My point is this: every true American patriot, when they imagine themselves in Civil War times (fuck you, everyone does it don’t lie) imagines themselves (regardless of color) as being on the side of the anti-slavery folks. Even though the truth is that most of the white ones wouldn’t be, and neither would a fair portion of everyone else. We want to be on the side of good, giving voice to the unheard.

The point of America — for me — is to make that identity aspirational.

That’s it for today, because class warfare is a whole other kettle of rotten fish.

  1. Source: that movie fucking rules.↩︎

Last modified October 3, 2023  #ideas   #misplaced_hope 

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