I was recently asked in a forum of construction workers a question by a conservative guy who occasionally posts there after I made a derogatory remark concerning this country.
“Why do you hate America?”
I took the question to heart, thought about it, and following is my answer.
I was born at a time when every morning before class the entire assembly placed their right hand over their heart and recited the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
I was raised on John Wayne movies and heroism.
When I was old enough, I joined the military because I thought standing in the gap for this country was the highest of honors. I wanted to be the best because I believed I was a part of the best.
Living the experience eventually put a huge hole in the bubble that my elders had carefully blown up for me as I began to get a glimpse of reality.
Now in my old age there is little left of the kid who once stood proudly before the Stars and Stripes reciting: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
America, after conquering the American continent (and her aboriginal peoples) grew in leaps and bounds during the Industrial Revolution. She emerged from the ashes of WW2 victorious, head and shoulders above everybody.
No one can dispute that we had saved Europe from the German fascist nor Asia from the Emperor of Japan. No one can dispute the fact that we had created the greatest war machine and economy the world had ever seen.
We were at the helm of seemingly everything. We led in the sciences. We led in the arts. In industry. In giving. The world looked upon us in awe and a large majority of her went to bed at night dreaming of one day becoming a part of the melting pot.
We were at the cusp of greatness, our potential was unfathomable. If ever in the human experience there was a country who could change the flow of world history it was us. Our constitution promised it. Our religion promised it. Our military might promised it . . . What happened?
Like the allegory of the Prodigal Son in the Christian bible we squandered our inheritance on self-righteous greed becoming just another Empire with a beginning, a middle, and a soon to be ending, not much different than the Greeks and Romans before us. Me, Myself, and I became the law of the land as we slowly drown in our own waste.
Today every where I look I see decay. Oh, there are those who still strive for greatness and are willing to sacrifice to get it, but the flow of history is going against them. Most will die with the dream lying dormant in their hearts.
I hear the bravado. I hear the hero talk and the call to patriotic sacrifice. But giving your life for your country these days has a decidedly hollow ring to it.
Since the glory days of WW2 when have our children sacrificed their lives for a worthy cause? Korea? Vietnam? Iraq? Afghanistan? What good has any of these deaths accomplished? Who has benefited from them? Simple. Follow the money and see who’s getting rich.
I guess to answer the initial question, “Why do I hate America?” I gotta say, “ Well, I once loved her. I felt married to her. I laid my life on the line for her. I lived with her and partook of her many blessings. Then one day, when I least expected it, she decided to go out and fuck my best friend. My bubble burst and I found out she had been nothing but a whore all along. Whores can change their way, but never if they continue to justify their occupation.
So do I hate the dream? No. Do I hate what we’ve done to it? Yes. I am perhaps an embittered old man, I suppose…….but we had such an opportunity . .. we actually could have lived up to the PR.
We weren’t just contenders, we were the champs……..damn it!