In honor or the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I thought it might be nice to talk about America. Just talking about America, of course, has become a bit of tricky business in recent years. But, since being yelled at for talking about what I think of America is infinitely better than letting someone keep me from speaking my mind, I’ll just go ahead and ramble a bit on the topic. I may have made some of these points before, but they bear repeating.
If, at any point in the following post, you find yourself becoming angry, frustrated, confused, or ill, please, feel free to click away. It’s a bit longer than my usual posts, and lacks the normal comedic flair, but once I got rolling….well, the heart says what it wants.
There is a lot of talk lately about America being on the downward slide, and I can totally understand why. We have lost a ton of respect overseas. We have a government that cannot pass a budget, much less balance one. We have tens of millions of people unemployed, with no relief in sight. We cannot even seem to agree to disagree anymore, choosing instead to vilify anyone that does not agree with our own point of view as if they were a common criminal. We lob angry labels at one another like “racist,” “homophobe,” “bigot,” “religious nut,” “socialist,” and countless other epithets.
And what has all this dissension gotten us?
Endless hand-grenades of discord thrown from even the highest levels of our great “experiment in democracy” serve no purpose but to prove that maybe, perhaps, we aren’t worthy of the freedoms we have been lucky enough to have as Americans.
We are worthy, of course, even if we are continually told that those freedoms are not absolute, not inviolable, or not even correct.
Freedom of speech? Sure, as long as you don’t say anything about/against X, Y, or Z.
Freedom of religion? Yep, just don’t practice or acknowledge it anywhere except in the privacy of your own home or inside whatever house of worship you happen to ascribe to.
That mighty Constitution that was for so long the envy of the world as the guardian of rights guaranteed not by man but by nature? Too archaic, too outdated, too restrictive of “progress.” We’ll just ignore it. Those “rights” aren’t really rights; they’re privileges that you can have taken away.
If a single right is limited, then all rights are lost.
If Americans continually allow ourselves to be separated by hyphenated race, gender, sexual orientation, income, and geography, what then is left to bind us together as Americans? Language? No. We have no “official” language, and any thought of acknowledging one is viewed as “racist” or “divisive.” If we cannot even speak the same language….?
We cannot agree on a process that allows immigrants—the necessary lifeblood of any nation in order to avoid stagnation—to enter the country in a controlled and logical manner. Instead we are left with an unfettered and overwhelming deluge over our borders. If we cannot keep anyone out, especially those who would actively seek to harm our citizens….?
Now, it seems that we cannot even agree that a person must be a citizen in order to vote for government officials. If the selection of the government is no longer in the hands of those who will be governed….?
How, then, can Americans remain united as a nation?
We may be on the verge of something once thought unthinkable: the dissolution of the United States of America. Not by war, necessarily, but by the inevitable result of a culture that has not diluted itself into obsolescence like so many others throughout history, but rather as one that has failed to assimilate to any reasonable degree.
“E Pluribus Unum.” From Many, One.
No longer. Now it is “a multis tamen multa”*: From Many, still Many.
With no binding force, there is no America, there can be no America. Entire states and regions might be lost, forming territories, confederations, and alliances of their own, as only a vestige of the “United States” remains, centered on the East coast around Washington D.C. as some shadowy remnant of its former self: a ghost, Hamlet’s father, lamenting its untimely and wrongful death, praying for retribution from beyond the grave.
Unlike that Danish King, however, there will be no Hamlet to avenge or restore America once it is lost. Only by seeing the threats to our country before they destroy us can we stave off that final, agonizing death. If we allow it to perish, it will be gone forever.
I hate the fact that I spent 20 years in the military, watching people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds work together every day to solve problems and protect a nation that cannot seem to get along—at even the most basic level—with itself. What have we become, if not a nation of segregated, victimized, and exploited groups, encouraged into staying that way by the government, by own own elected officials, and unable to work together.
I hate the fact that I spent my college career getting my degree(s) in English, focusing on literature, and now being unfortunate enough to see the world through the prism that so many great authors have provided for us: seeing how the best of intentions can have the worst of consequences.
How the purest of motives can be twisted for personal gain.
How utopias are a dream that can never be achieved, no matter how hard humanity tries, because human nature itself is the snake in the garden.
How every deception or compromise leads to another in order to protect the first.
How the imposition of fairness is always weighted towards imposition and is woefully light on fairness.
How those who claim to “know better” never seem to deliver on the “better.”
Death by a thousand cuts, and we are killing ourselves by not seeing and stopping it.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe we’re not worthy. But that’s not for me to say; only Americans—all Americans together—can determine that.
I wish I could be president, or even a congressman, just so that I could be that voice of the average American, spending my one term (because I would surely be removed from office somehow) shaking my fist and raising my voice, calling out the hypocrites and liars, exposing those members of all parties that actively work against Americans.
But I can’t. I could never get elected; I speak too freely. But perhaps, together, Americans can shake the tree of liberty and dislodge some of the dead wood that is holding back the whole, and cure the rot that is killing the country.
Speak. Be heard. Or sit quietly and do nothing.
It’s your country, it’s your call.
*my apologies if the Latin is incorrect, but you get the idea…