Saturday, July 7, 2012
I Love America
I've spent the last year kicking this country -- its militarism, its greed, its willful, braying ignorance, its tin-plated hypocritical morals, its hillbilly religious fanaticism, its contempt for freedom, its recklessness with the lives of its own citizens and sociopathic indifference to the lives of foreigners, and of course the mean-spirited jackasses it picks for its leaders.
I'm not gonna stop this. Just so you know, just in case there was any doubt in your mind... I plan to spend the coming months giving you people more of the same. But here's one thing I did want to make clear, before we get into the silly season as the election heats up, and the media does its necrophiliac best to Remember 9/11:
I don't hate America. I love America.
I really care about what happens to this (possibly literally) goddamned nation. I've got a gooey, wet place in my heart for this land and its history and its heroes. We have bourbon and crescent roll hot dogs and Brooklyn and Google and Facebook, and the world's best pornography. We are home of The National. I believe we're founded on an idea worth fighting for. And no matter how many times we ourselves betray that idea, it remains the truth. And also... I think some of our best citizens become soldiers and intelligence officers, because they want to protect this place. And we owe them.
You know what, though? Nothing in the Constitution says you have to be a fascist idiot.
You don't have to pretend you love jet noise. You don't have to wear a flag pin. You don't have to apologize to right-wing hacks for deviating from what they consider the proper narrative of Memorial Day, as if they somehow own the nation's military dead. You don't have to ignore the dissonance and betrayal you feel when you try to reconcile the Bill of Rights and the Declaration's preamble with Predator strikes, kill lists, waterboarding, rendition, secret prisons, black budgets, domestic surveillance, treating Muslims in this country like they're less than fully American, the constant humiliation of travellers and business people, and the complete refusal of our leaders to even talk about how maybe the 11-year red alert we've been under has something to do with the fact that we can't keep ourselves from invading countries all over the world. And you don't have to pretend that the military is defending us, when it's constantly involved in these distant conflicts for reasons no one can connect to the security of ordinary people.
What's under assault in this country is the basic meaning of important words. Like defense. And security. And patriotism. And ultimately, freedom. I want to take those words back. I want to change the terms of the discussion we're having in this place. We need to talk about how far we've fallen away from being the kind of country that protects its own people, defends their freedoms, and generally leaves others alone. This is what I believe, and what I'm trying - in my own limited way - to do.
I love this place. I'm going to talk about what a hideous joke it's become every single chance I get. Please join me in thinking like a grownup about this country, our home.