Friday, July 09, 2010

Sometimes, you've got to just say it.

Something's been bothering me, pretty much ever since the July 4th hullabaloo, but I never knew how, exactly, to put it into words. I still don't. I may lose some friends over this, but the nausea has built to a point where I just have to say it, or my head's going to explode.

I'm not, as they say, comfortable with huge displays of emotion of any sort. As I said to a colleague once, if we were supposed to reveal how we felt, we would have little windows installed in our chests. Patriotism is one of those emotions-when everyone, everywhere falls over themselves with hosannas of praise about America, I just don't feel it. Call me ungrateful, but I don't. I'm just not comfortable with it.

It took a Charlie Pierce essay to motivate me to write this. The primary thing that bothers me about this America-F&*k Yeah-ism is that the words in all these songs? They ain't so.

We don't love freedom-at least, not for everyone. We torture. We detain people without due process. We have become what we hated-a colossus, bestriding the globe, locking up people whether or not they did anything wrong, throwing them into dark holes where they are forgotten about. And, worst of all, we have stopped caring.

From Pierce's essay: "If we can accept Afghanistan as a semi-permanent drain on our resources and our souls, it's easy to accept a 10 percent unemployment rate as the dismal status quo, as the way things ought to be. The truths are no longer self-evident. We've done too good a job of hiding them from ourselves, and ourselves from them. But their terms are still plain, and they are still firm. After 234 years, if we ever truly engaged our heritage and its full implications, we'd scare ourselves to death."


  1. I think you may have just spoken MY mind. I'm pretty much an equal opportunity jerk when it comes to holidays of any kind- I don't play well in the arena of false platitudes.

    July 4th was pretty well summed up for me when I paddled my kayak by overcrowded fishing areas with ATVs parked IN a river, people smoking and drinking on the banks, huge obligatory campfires a-blazing on a sunny day and all with a huge banner screaming, "Happy Birthday America".

    If you lose friends over expressing your thoughts in your forum, then perhaps they were only holiday-friends.

    Let the lively discussion ensue...


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