Monday, July 7, 2008

Hate America? Jog On!

Independence day has just passed. I spent the day with a good friend and her family, cracking jokes, cooking, shooting off fireworks, eating good food and drinking good beer. Present were people of diverse faith, and diverse history, ancestry and political stance - We talked guns and beer and soldiering (her father is a retired Chief Petty Officer, her brother 7 days and a wake-up from shipping to boot for the Army and others present are planning to serve) and hunting and family and old HeeHaw routines ("And the storal of the mory is...") until well into the night. Our little (neo-)bohemian circle broke conversation long enough to chew food, swallow brew and migrate to the field out back to set off playful explosives in the grandest tradition. It was in all senses a great 4th of July - A celebration of independence, nation, tradition and future.
Going to college, surrounded by the young, fiery and easily influenced (or as my father would say; young, dumb and full of cum) I hear a lot of sentiment one way and another from my fellows. But one of the ones which consistently disturbs me is the old "I hate America" line. I really think the next well fed, well bred, affluent snot nose who says that around me is going to get busted in the mouth. Wont stop him from saying it - thats his right in this nation he hates - but I'll voice my opinion in return. It's not that I always agree with the current administration - Dont recall as I ever have, nor do I ever expect to - or even like them in the least. But I am fond of this country. The country is more than the actions of the sitting government, more than the ignorance of its citizens, more than the force of its commercialism. It is an idea - A shining, golden, god damned idea that we've made work longer than anyone else who's tried it recently. That counts for something. Dont like it? Leave it. Stop using its resources and go elsewhere. Particularly if you are a college student - Dont like this country? Dont believe in its ideals? Dont feel like its worth working on? Then why in the world would you want to get an education here?
Thats where I draw the line and separate myself - I am fundamentally disappointed in my country. I love, not hate, it, and am fundamentally disappointed in it. I am disappointed because of the ignorance of its citizens, the blindness and greediness of its leadership, and the "moral decline" of it all. Not moral decline in the popular sense, not in the "fags roaming the streets, teens getting pregnant, sex on TV" sense of moral decline - The decline in the ethos and morality that was written into the nations founding documents, the decline in the belief in and adherence to those ideals. That is a moral decline - Not homosexuality, not tits on the television, not a decline in faith and church attendance - The sheer pig-fucking ignorance with which we have come to do damn near everything we do as a nation; Vote, Shop, Educate, and Believe. And that is exactly why I am disappointed in my country - Exactly why I love it - Exactly why I want to get an education from it: Because revulsion has power here, spending money has power here, education has power here, voting has power here. It may be tarnished, it may be dim, but it has power still. And it will continue to do so until the very last person has given up on voting, settled into the ignorance of letting judges make law, and thrown their library card out with the rest of the trash in favor of whats on the History channel.
Dont like that? Dont want to fight for it? Thats fine. No one asked you to. Please, be our guest and go elsewhere. Go settle somewhere that is willing to carry your burden of choice for you, that will give you all the knowledge you need to live within its idealogical framework (but no more, and none that is uncomfortable or disquieting), and will protect you from the unpleasantries of history and responsibility.

“If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

—Samuel Adams

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