America: You Keep Using That Word…I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means
Written by Jim Wright
So, I’m driving into Anchorage this morning.
Along with the usual herd of jackasses who, despite living in Alaska still don’t seem to know how to drive in snow, one vehicle in particular caught my eye.
It was one of those enormous black pickup trucks, with the huge knobby tires and smoked glass windows and chrome roll bar complete with half a dozen giant chrome halogen lights and a ten foot high antenna whipping about in the slipstream and pipe organ-like exhaust pipes jutting up from behind the cab belching thick plumes of white diesel smoke like the twin contrails of a fighter jet on full afterburner.
The great steel beast wasn’t, in and of itself, unusual for the Glenn Highway at 6AM – or even unusual for Alaska in general, where giant manly trucks full of patriotic manly Viagra-fueled studs are quite common.
What caught my eye were the bumper stickers:
– Proud American emblazoned across a red, white, and true blue Captain America shield;
– In God I trust, In big government I fear. We must protect the country we love!;
– and my perennial favorite: I love my country, it’s the damned government I hate.
Now, to be perfectly honest, those bumper sticker slogans aren’t particularly unusual on the Glenn Highway at 6AM either – and normally, they wouldn’t be enough to rise above my “What the hell?” threshold.
Not by themselves.
No, what caught my eye was the giant Confederate flag treatment in the back window.
And suddenly I’m the Old Spice guy: Liberals, look at your little sissy Prius. Look at it. Loser. Now look at this awesome RAM truck. Look at it! It gets five miles a gallon. Look at the patriotic slogans! They’re American. Now look at the Confederate Flag! The Confederacy. It’s American. Now look back to the bumper. Back to the Flag! The bumper! Now I’m a Confederate! Look again, I’m an American! A Rebel! America, hell ya! I’m on a horse…
Proud American. Confederate flag.
I wanted to pull up next him and roll down the window and ask, So, Just to make sure I’m clear on this, you’re a proud patriotic American who loves the United States which is why you display the battle symbol of a long defunct political/military organization that directly and without equivocation attempted to destroy that self same country. Is that correct?
No, strike that. That’s wrong.
That’s really not what I wanted to ask him.
What I really wanted to ask is this: Proud American? Really? What is it exactly that you’re proud of? You say you love your country? You say you love the United States? Really? Which part? What is it that you love about it? Specifically, what exactly do you love about America?
Because, see, so far as I can tell, people like you seem to hate just about everything that makes the United States what it is.
You hate the President, you call him a Nazi and a socialist and communist and an enemy of America. You’re embarrassed by him. You hate his big jug ears and his oh so white smile and his funny alien name. You hate his politics and his elitist education and his religion and his agenda and the way he speaks. You hate his wife and you hate his kids. Now, to be fair, you hated the last president too and in fact you’ve got a beef with damned near every president except for Good Ole George Washington and maybe Ronald Reagan. You couldn’t stand Carter or that pig, Clinton, Nixon was a crook, Johnson got us into Vietnam and the best thing that Kennedy ever did was to take a ride in that convertible – too bad he didn’t invite little brother Ted along. You hate the president all the way back to FDR. Hell, you even hate Teddy Roosevelt because he was nothing but a goddamned anti-American Progressive – you know that’s true because Glenn Beck told you so (and don’t you hate it when people accuse you of getting your ideas from him? Like you can’t decide who to hate all by yourself).
You hate Congress. You hate the idea of a republic, of representative democracy, where Senators and Representative don’t do only what you want. It’s we the people goddamnit. They’re all crooks. They’re all liars. They’re all corrupt greedy bastards. They’re all ineffective. You hate them all. They should all be thrown out – well, all of them except for your guy that is. What’s that? Oh you hate your guy too? Yeah, that figures.
You hate the courts, especially the Supreme Court. Oh how you hate that they won’t let you make your hate the law of the land. You hate the whole damned liberal American legal system. You hate the lawyers, you’d like to line them all up and shoot them first. You hate that criminals get a legal defense, you hate that people can’t seem to see that they’re guilty, just drop them into a hole and throw away the key. You hate those groups that keep using DNA to vacate death row convictions, the scumbags are guilty of something otherwise they wouldn’t be scumbags would they – but now they get to go free and collect a big fat settlement and, man, don’t you just hate that? Of course, you hate paying for prison too, and as long as we’re on the subject you hate that prisons are big country clubs nowadays, what the hell are those scumbags complaining about? You hate those damned judges, they’re all liberal activists, everybody knows it. You hate the fact that we can’t just string people up in the town square any more, those were the good old days you bet. You’d like to see more military tribunals, that’s the ticket. Not like that’s going to happen, and boy don’t you just hate that too?
In fact, you hate the whole goddamned Federal government. You really hate the “united” part of the United States. You say you love the Constitution, and you do – the 2nd Amendment part anyway – but you really hate the parts that let other people say what they like and worship religions different than yours and give the Federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce and award citizenship to brown skinned babies and give people you don’t like the same rights as you and make the government a secular organization instead of a Christian one – yeah, you really hate that part. You hate federal regulations and federal law and federal taxes. You hate the Fed and the fact that our money isn’t based on the gold standard. You hate that the government won’t let you sell defective products and contaminated food and unsafe toys coated in lead paint or snake oil that purports to cure cancer – that’s just bad for business. You hate the idea of anybody other than you getting affordable healthcare or retirement or a home loan. You hate Social Security, even though you yourself never bothered to save not one single penny towards your own retirement. You think the military is “broken” and you hate those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but you hate the idea of ending them even more because then the terrorists will “win” – and you hate that we haven’t yet declared war on Iran and North Korea and maybe even Libya because you hate those bastards too. In fact, you hate the idea of peace all together, goddamned sissy liberals, real Americans love the smell of napalm in the morning you betcha.
You hate the American political system. You hate political parties. You hate those filthy liberals, oh you hate them so much, that’s a given. But you hate the Republicans too, you hate Progressives and Centrists and Moderates and there’s nobody you hate more than those traitor RINOs.
You hate your neighbors, you do, you hate them. You hate the niggers and the spics and the chinks and the gooks and spooks and hajis. And, man, there’s nothing you hate more than when they call you a racist and a bigot. You hate all those minorities with their whining about equal rights and political correctness and affirmative action. You hate that they get a free ride. You hate how they can’t take a joke. You hate the greedy Jews. You hate the terrorist Muslims. You hate the child-molesting Catholics. And you just goddamned hate those atheists. You hate anybody who wasn’t born again. You hate that guy with the long beard and the red turban who runs that store you hate downtown. You hate those people who can’t speak English without an accent. You hate having to dial 1 for English, my God how you hate that. You hate the fags in their little Speedos, demanding the right to wed just so they can mock your third marriage. You hate immigrants, and not just the illegal ones either. You hate the idea that those dirty, diseased sons of bitches come here to this country and take all the good jobs. You hate that your daughter is dating one of them. You hate that one of their kids can become president when there are plenty of good God fearin’ naturally born white men around – speaking of which, you really hate how white men have become the most persecuted minority in America, it’s shameful is what it is. You hate the poor, the lazy bastards should just lift themselves up, stop being poor. You hate the rich, the ones born with a golden spoon full of coke in their noses and the ones who robbed their way to the top. You hate feminists, those damned dyke bitches, and you hate that they think they should own their own reproductive organs. You hate city people, the ones from New York and Los Angeles who think they’re better then you. You hate those ignorant country bumpkins too, those pig shit covered farmers and their subsidies always sponging off your tax dollars. You hate those college boys, those elitist snobs with their law degrees and science majors. You hate people from the East Coast with their old money and blue blood, you hate them almost as much as you hate the fruits, nuts, and flakes from the West Coast, and by God, how you hate those crooked bastards from Chicago. You hate single mothers and women who breastfeed in public. You hate fat people, those glutinous slobs taking up more than their fair share of the space. Of course, you really hate it when that America hating Michelle Obama suggests that your kids eat right and maybe get some exercise so they don’t end up overweight, how dare she, how dare she, if you want to be fat, by God, you’ll be fat and no hate-filled bitch is going to tell you what to do. You hate kids with long hair and tattoos. You hate old people, the Greatest Generation of assholes, always complaining about how much better things used to be, why can’t they just die already and quit sucking on the Medicare tit? Speaking of Medicare, you hate that too, even though you yourself can’t afford health insurance for you family – besides, the emergency room is free. Right?
You hate the environment. You hate the flora and fauna and the terrain of the great American landscape. You hate the polar bears and the snail darter and that stupid spotted owl. You hate saving the Redwoods for generations to come. You hate those national parks and the bureau of land management. You hate clean air and water that’s safe to swim in. You hate that you can’t just shoot every deer and dip-net every salmon. You hate catalytic converters and lead free gasoline. You hate the fact that the fascist EPA won’t let you dump toxic waste into Love Canal or strip mine Utah. You hate carbon and separating your paper from your plastics. You hate blowout preventers and containment booms and hearing about the Exxon Valdez – honestly, hasn’t Exxon suffered enough? Drill baby drill that’s what you’re talking about. You hate the word “Green” and you hope Al Gore burns in hell for all eternity because you hate that commie fucker more than anybody else – well, except for maybe Obama, but that just goes without saying.
You hate public education. You hate the Department of Education, you didn’t used to, but you sure do now. You hate it because it’s not in the Constitution – the Constitution which you hated having to learn about in school, in that government class you so hated. You hate the school board and school administrators and the school principal. You hate schools, you hate having to pay taxes for a new roof so the kids don’t get rained on and you hate having to buy classroom equipment and you hate those afterschool programs – well, except for football, that’s OK. And, by God, you hate the damned teachers, you hate those lazy, greedy, selfish bastards. You hate that the arrogant pricks laugh at your poorly spelled TEA Party posters and you blame them for your ignorance. You hate that you have to pay them a living wage, you hate the idea that the modern world means that teachers have to be highly educated professionals instead of some chalk scented school marm who was good enough for your great grandfather. You grandfather didn’t need to learn about computers or technology or world events or funny looking people in countries that don’t matter, and you hate it when people tell you that your kids aren’t living in that world anymore. You hate that your kids might have to learn about actual science, oh how you hate that they might hear about evolution or global climate change or plate tectonics or that people didn’t, in fact, live with dinosaurs and that the world is actually a lot older than 5000 years despite what you learned in Church last week. You hate the liberal colleges with their long haired professors and their weird ideas – and you sure as hell hate how higher education tends to make people more liberal, not less.
You hate the media. You hate CNN and MSNBC and ABC and the Washington Post. You harbor a special hatred for Arianna Huffington, a hatred that flares as brightly as a burning deep water drilling rig. You hate Hollywood, you hate how it’s controlled by the Jews or maybe the Bilderbergs and their New World Order or perhaps it’s really secretly controlled by the Illuminati or the Muslim Brotherhood. Whoever is in charge out there, you hate how every movie seems to have gay people in it, or blacks, or an Arab.
You hate American capitalism – oh, you love Capitalism with a capital C, but you hate what those greedy conniving Wall Street fat cats have done to it. God, how you hate those sons of bitches, the ones like Bill Gates who built his business from the ground up and became for a time the richest man in the world, and then – and this is the part you really hate – he started giving his money away. Of course, it’s all a lie, he’s just giving it away for the tax break and how you hate that too, don’t you? And you hate those pricks in management, those prissy white collar MBA’s who have never done an honest day’s labor in their privileged lives. Ah, but as much as you hate the executives and the management, that’s nothing compared to how much you hate labor. You hate unions. You hate that middle class Americans enjoy a living wage in safe working environments at a reasonable number of working hours per week. You hate that they’ve thrown in together, bargaining collectively so that they might have a bit of leverage against those fat cats and greedy corporations you also hate. You call them socialists and communists and you hate it when somebody points out that in far left socialist and communist countries workers have no rights whatsoever (and didn’t in America either, until the unions came along). God how you hate being confused with facts by liberal Nazi Commies who dare to question your cognitively dissociative reasoning.
In point of fact, other than the flag (the American one, not the Confederate one – though that works too, I guess), there doesn’t seem to be much about America you do like.
So, when you say you love America, what is it exactly that you love?
When you say you’re a proud American, what is it that you’re proud of?
Because, I’ve got to tell you, I’m just not seeing it.
About the author
I’m a retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer. Nowadays I live in Alaska where I spend most of my time working in my woodshop or fishing. I occasionally consult for the Military. I have delusions of becoming a full time writer – or conquering the universe, whichever is easier… You can email me, your future ruler, at firstname.lastname@example.org, be sure to put “Stonekettle Station” in the subject line or else my moat monster will eat your messenger and make a funny origami hat from his skin.