FEATURED POST / MAD MAX

Mad Max: In Defense of the Fucking Union

It’s hard to say what tune I might’ve been singing if America had picked the other side of its false political dichotomy, but I woke up enjoying America this morning. It didn’t last long. A few minutes on the Internet pissed me off. All my Facebook friends were busy trying to explain to their Facebook friends how Canada and Europe aren’t exactly refuges from this insidious liberalism. The most tragic (and most potentially comic) line I heard regarding dismay with last night’s results: “At least December 21 isn’t far away.” Speculation on the 2016 election already started, and I’m still trying to figure out how enacting free democracy divides a nation because apparently that’s what’s happened, don’tcha know? As if we’ve all got some neo-Mason-Dixon-trip wrapping around individuals, separating us from ourselves based on which one of two choices we made–choices that seem so different because no one ever talks about their similarities.

There’s only been one unanimously elected President in the historical orgy of American politics, and we got it out of the way right off the bat. That guy on the dollar and the quarter had a “whole” country’s support (read: rich, white, land-owning, male fucks’ support), and he wasn’t even eager to take the job. Who could blame him the way we all complain about every little thing? We act entitled to entitlement.

I pulled a dollar out of my wallet and a quarter from my pocket for some brief reflection, and I noticed something on the non-George-Washington side of both those legal tenders: a famous phrase, a patriotic paradox printed on the paper and embossed on the coin: “E Pluribus Unum.” Out of Many, One. It’s recipe for a nation with one line: Throw it all in the Melting Pot and turn up the heat. An institutionalized evocation of the way relativity plays with our perception; the different trees coalesce into a forest just like the individual organs comprise the organism just like a shirt is an organized mess of fibers. That’s the beauty of the United States of America. Even though grammar dictates us as a plural, we never say the U.S.A. are. The brilliant minds behind Microsoft Word’s spellcheck (who still refuse to consider fuckwad a word) even set their word processor to green-squiggle that plural conjugation so that even our computers know that the U.S.A. is.

But what is the U.S.A.? A nation, certainly. We can say that at least, without the possibility of further reduction. It’s a claim we can evidence with the fact that we’ve got aPresident, a Congress, and a Supreme Court. We’ve got a singular citizenry, composed of plural citizens. And what a plurality it is: I defy you to show me a singular representative of the United States of America, just like I never believe the bastards who claim they can shine a light on ideal models. Even this President, powerful symbol of syncretic unity that he is, apparently can’t speak for our conservative fellowmen who think we’re a nation divided whenever they can’t claim the majority rule.

And that’s my real factory-farmed, store-bought beef with conservatism and the dickheads that act like it’s some kind of an answer: instead of embracing the Many as a One, they hold up a specific One and try to force the Many into its image. E Unibus Unum, so it seems, and if you don’t fit the script, you might as well put down your goddamn hamburger and leave those freedom fries for a true patriot. In the face of a Global Reality that they term as social, economic, and political problems, they offer solutions we stumbled upon as we fought our way into the right place at the right time in the 1940s. All this America-of-yesterday bullshit that seems so innocent (I’m a fan of the 20th century, too), but it’s really just willful ignorance of the end of the Cold War or dangerous stupidity about what the world really is.

Because ultimately, we don’t need the America of yesterday. We need an America of today that’s ready each time the clock strikes midnight to become the America of tomorrow. And that’s at least what liberalism seems like. Better than any other legitimate option in this political system, it accounts for how we ride the thin blade of the present out of the past and into the future. Obama convinced me of that with a single word: FORWARD. He slapped it on enough signs to remind me that there’s a whole shit ton of future headed our way, and if we get hit by it while we’re trying to take a step into the past, it could hurt. I hung one of the posters up in my living room, and I taped over his name and website so that all that’s there is “FORWARD.”

Don’t get me wrong: looking into the past is useful, but we can’t move there. We just had one hell of a century, and I’m just as tempted as the next proud American to believe that we found a method to work the system. But the game is changing; the players aren’t the same. This isn’t the 20th century’s planet anymore than it is the 19th or 18th’s. We’re moving forward whether we will it or fight it. And I don’t see much room on the board for a Righteous Christian Nation.

To D.-Trumpishly act like red and blue divide the nation is just a bratty, narcissistic self-indulgence on a national scale. We don’t have the time to call ourselves partisans because, in case you forgot, we’ve all still been Americans throughout these latest seasonal campaigns. Regardless of whether or not you’ve been a Republican ass-hole or a Democratic ass-hole, you’ve been an American ass-hole since you claimed citizenship.

And Americanism isn’t a quantity, and you can’t compare in levels against itself. No one is more American than anyone else. And to me, no one is more un-American than that ass-hole who calls others un-American. The whole concept of Americanism is premised on the idea that ANYONE can be it. I know some diehards so drowned in their own national illusion that they think Others can be disqualified as Americans. And I want to ask them, “What is this the land of?”

The Free, I think the song goes. And what’s disgusting to me is that some of the bravest people I’ve heard call this place home are the ones whose freedoms are the most consistently denied, endangered, and implicitly defined as less human than the freedoms of others. If this One is just a collection of Many, then you can’t call yourself an American unless you’re willing to do the same for everyone else who wants the title.

I guess my point is, if you don’t hear as much America in Hendrix’s version of the anthem as you do in every other Star-Spangled Banner, then your definition of “U.S.A.” could use about 100 years of (fully downloadable) updates. If this country is your cup of tea, like it is mine, then you should be able to admit that each drop might look different, but only under a microscope. A nation’s only divided if you decide to think of it that way. It’s all relative.

Another installment of chaos by the always entertaining Mad Max Cothrel.

 

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