And I feel it needs to be said.
It might seem strange, especially when you know that I was born in New Jersey, grew up in New York, presently reside in North Carolina, and a few hours spent in Canada is my life total of time in other countries. What else could I be?
But it must be something else, because I can easily tell you what I’m not.
I’m not someone who needs to tell everyone who I am or where I’m from, or that I’m proud to be this. I’m not proud, actually; the US does some incredibly stupid things, and its foreign policy falls everywhere in the spectrum between ‘opportunistic’ and ‘reprehensible,’ and has been that way for the past century. We can do better.
I’ve never thought, “My country, right or wrong,” was a meaningful ideology to hold. Shouldn’t one have some goals, some ideas for improvement, rather than declaring complacency?
I’m not someone who tries to deny this by waving a flag or chanting jingoistic slogans; we do not create our status through declarations, and to be honest, most of the people who have to tell you how great they are, aren’t – they’re trying to disguise how shitty they are in reality.
I have never believed that the flag, any flag, had any meaning whatsoever, much less felt the need to wave one or wear it or paint it on anything. It’s an archaic symbol intended to differentiate in times of war. That’s all. While residents of any country might believe their flag represents something virtuous, residents of other countries may believe it represents far less reputable ideals. If it can be interpreted at will, what’s the point?
I have never believed that patriotism, or any kind of crass tribalism, was a worthwhile pursuit. I would prefer to stand behind values and actions rather than some ill-defined concept of a ‘country.’
I have never believed that arbitrary, invisible, indistinguishable border lines made a difference between those on either side. Want to cross? Fine, have at it, and if you can find a job someplace, fantastic! That’s how free enterprise works. The US economy isn’t in the shape it’s in because of immigrants, but because of the self-absorbed greedy douchecanoes who believe they should be amassing vast amounts of wealth to win some fucking game, who knows what. I’m not proud of that either, or that much of US culture glorifies this for some reason.
I’ve never felt that calling this a “free country” was an excuse to engage in whatever self-important idiocy happens to come to mind. The concept of a ‘country’ is a culture of cooperative, mutually-supportive people aligned to common goals, not a subset of nitwits that want to play with guns or feel that bigotry makes them special somehow.
I haven’t forgotten what is, and isn’t, in the Bill of Rights, or that it does not exist solely to support my indulgences. Or that, if any portion turns out to be more harmful than beneficial to the populace, it can and should be changed.
I have never failed to understand that personal freedom stops when it comes to harming anyone else, even potentially. Actual harm, by the way, not just offense – I have no patience for those who try to trash free speech over butthurt.
I do not own a gun, and have no desire to. I know what the Second Amendment to the US Constitution says, and it has no application to me (I also know that it can be further amended as needed.) I see no purpose in individuals owning guns at all. I do not consider firing a gun a ‘sport.’ I do not imagine myself an impending hero. I am well aware of the overwhelming statistics that show guns are openly harmful to the populace, and I place the people higher than I place my own petty indulgences.
I haven’t forgotten learning about the founding of the US and that it is not, in any way, shape, or form, a ‘christian nation.’ There are countless aspects that confirm just the opposite, in fact.
I am not political, and openly despise the idea of partisanship, regardless of where it manifests. ‘Sides’ are for people that cannot count above 2, and labels for those who have to be told what to think. I can judge individuals without the assistance – and far more accurately, it appears.
While I consider a military force a necessity for defense, the US hasn’t engaged in defense since 1945. Most of the conflicts America has been involved in for the past 75 years have been its own doing, often to manipulate world markets and power structures, and I certainly cannot glorify or support that. Death should always be considered a last resort, not a means of leverage.
I haven’t fallen for the blatant demonizing tactics that are used constantly, so I don’t consider communism or socialism or any particular ideology as inherently evil or good, or that any ideological goals are maintained in actual practice. Again, we’re talking labels here, which hinders actual understanding.
I also don’t mistake ‘socialism’ and ‘socialized medicine,’ knowing they’re two entirely unrelated things, because I made it through the fourth grade without issues.
Most especially, I’ve seen that the vast majority of those that proudly and defiantly claim to be American have no reasoned arguments to offer nor any desire for accountability, and in many cases remain willfully ignorant of the world around them, often outright insular and xenophobic. This is despite the bare fact (known for a few generations now) that we’re all one race.
So with all that said, I can definitively state that I am not an American. What that does make me, I can’t say, except that it would be another label and who needs that? But kindly, do not lump me in with any of those ‘Americans’ above. It’s offensive.