I have meant to write about this for some time. I know that I have other, pressing things to write about, but I believe that this is important too. I would like to start out by clarifying that, while I agree very strongly with the above quote, I am a patriot. I am not proud to be an American, not because I don't think that being an American is a good thing, but simply because I never had to make any sacrifices to be one. I was born an American, because my German grandmother made love with an American G.I. and brought my mother here when she was a young child. I never had to work at becoming an American, it was an accident of birth.
I do not love my country either. I have a profound and deep seated passion for the ideals upon which this nation was founded. I have a passion for the nation that I learned about in school. But I do not love even that. My country is not a person, nor is it a religious faith, it is nothing more, or less, than an attempt at freedom that at the time of it's founding, the world had never seen. Neither is my country, the country I learned about in school. It never really was. So why the melancholy and mirth?
A few weeks ago, I learned that another nation of recent greatness, Russia, has developed a great big bomb. A devastating and dangerous bomb. I also learned that Russia is starting to build up her military again. For the last few years Russia has been moving headlong into fascism. I suspect that this really began with the fall of communism and the end of the Soviet Union. Chaos ensued and while many Russians suffered under communist totalitarianism, toto is in many ways preferable to chaos, especially in the minds of Russians. The problem is that as Russia has begun to slowly stabilize, nationalism has reared it's ugly head. A super-power made largely irrelevant in the world arena, is rattling sabers, hoping to be somebody again.
So why the melancholy and mirth?
I would like you to pause for a moment, if your an American, and think long and hard about the questions I am about to ask.
Who are we, to the larger world community today? What makes us relevant in the global community? What does our super-power status really mean? Can we really be legitimately called a super-power? (if so why?)
Underlying it all; Why are we really in Iraq? Are we pulling the same sort of games that Russia is, just far louder and prouder? Even worse, does this not just speed up our drive into decadence and decline?
We embark on "noble" efforts of spreading democracy and "freedom" to other nations, while we have rampant poverty and killing in our own streets. While our leaders lie and attempt to destroy the bulwarks of liberty and freedom that have made this a nation worth having a passion about. While the power lies not with the people, not with the voters, but with those who can afford to influence power. While we the people practically beg our leaders to protect us, by taking away our privacy, by taking away our sovereign rights - by taking away everything that makes us Americans.
Decadence becomes us, a bitter, hollow existence. Spread the mediocrity and hope that the world only notices that we are making others like us, no matter how little like us we become in the process. Spread the mediocrity and lie to ourselves, pretending we are who we know we are, no matter how far down the path of decadence we go, no matter how much we give away, for an illusion of safety.
That silly big bomb the Russians made? So last year, when we tested our own. Sure the Russian bomb's bigger, but hey, we can build one that's bigger still, right? After all, we're Americans. And everybody knows that we have to have the biggest bombs. Everybody knows that we just won't be safe, without the power to blast the face of this planet into oblivion. The power to do it seconds before they can blast it into oblivion first. Because everybody knows that the country that annihilates the planet first, wins. Everybody knows that being a super-power means having the best ability to destroy us all. So you tell me;
Why the melancholy and mirth?
Throw me down into your lies, throw me down into your truth,
I just realized that I'm not God, the same could happen to you.