You’ve heard the chants before. They’ve been carefully rehearsed and performed by Americans for generations. And no matter how many times you hear them, as Americans, you buy into them, believe them, trust in them, and have faith in them. You don’t question the holy hymnal of American exceptionalism. It would be unpatriotic, blasphemous, maybe even a form of treason. No. As far as you’re concerned, that’s just the way it is. Right or Left, religious or non-religious, America is exceptional and beyond reproach for anything done in the names of freedom and democracy. It is America’s manifest destiny.
I’m an American polemicist. I enjoy exposing the underbelly of America’s myths. That causes a great deal of controversy from time to time. Whether it’s the claims of the Religious Right’s “America is a Christian Nation!” or “Freedom and Liberty for All… As long as they’re white, god fearing, hard-working, gun-loving, patriots!”… Even the Left’s “That’s not politically correct!” or “You need to be protected from yourself!” and the “What would Jesus do?”apologetics… I’m here to smash jingoism and social homogenous hegemony, because all of it is born from the myth of American exceptionalism. So, if you’re sensitivities are such that any exposure to America’s underbelly of reality might cause you extreme distress… Might I suggest returning to your sandbox and reinserting your head into the hole it was previously buried.
NEWS FLASH: America is not exceptional.
Far, far from it. America is truly unilaterally stupid, and Americans are the ignorance and foment behind it. “…conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” These are noble words. And who can forget “…government of the people, by the people, for the people”? I’ll tell you who forgets. YOU. Americans. And in large numbers. Mid-term election turnout for this year was 36.4%. The lowest in 70 years! Yep. And while 63.6 percent of voters decided not to vote, here are a few issues that continued to rot in the underbelly of American exceptionalism:
Glaciers are disappearing from Glacier National Park: “…mountains on the Canadian border boasted some 150 ice sheets, many of them scores of feet thick, plastered across summits and tucked into rocky fissures high above parabolic valleys. Today, perhaps 25 survive. In 30 years, there may be none.”
One in fifty children is homeless in the U.S.: “The consequences to our society will play out for decades. As we bail out the rest of our nation, it is also time to come to their aid.”
The Middle Class continues to disappear: “…middle class Americans are rapidly losing ground to the one-percenters who averaged $5 million in wealth gains over just three years. It also noted that the global 1% has increased their wealth from $100 trillion to $127 trillion in just three years.”
More Elderly. Fewer Doctors: “By 2030, the last of the Baby Boomer generation will have turned 65 years old, putting the population of “senior boomers” in the United States at approximately 71 million.”And “…the number of new trainees in the field of geriatrics is going down.” And “Without a fundamental change in public policy, financial reimbursement, and training this is unlikely to change anytime soon. So, how can we care for an aging population while our pool of geriatricians is shrinking?”
But wait! There’s more! Racism, bigotry, gender inequality, poverty, corporations considered people, the exportation of American jobs, the military industrial corporate complex, perpetual religious war with Islam, the militarization of police… The list goes on and on. And the myth that America is exceptional trumps all of these unexceptional facts. Americans are in love with a delusion of grandeur perpetuated by over 200 years of carefully crafted nationalism and an egotism that bleeds profusely from every fiber of the Stars and Stripes.
Voluntary Oblivion, Selective Swank Outrage, and ADHD
American’s are truly oblivious to the world around them. They’ve embraced the notion that ignorance is bliss, unless some particular subject matter touches a collective conscience trip wire. Then Americans will quickly rally, a force to be reckoned with… For about five minutes. It is the virtual political and social landscape of the Internet that recklessly lays down that trip wire, a cause of the moment, a selective swank outrage to “fight” for. But ADHD always sets in and soon voluntary oblivion returns, usually as the result of mainstream media’s coma inducing daily rhetorical tripe. Actually challenging any wrongdoing, travesty, criminality, injustice… Well, that is just too much work, requires too much time and energy, and might lead to taking some responsibility.
36.4%. That’s the percentage of eligible voters who actually voted this past mid-term. That number bears repeating because it is strong evidence in support of voluntary oblivion, selective swank outrage, and ADHD. Americans have donned their dunce caps in the shadow of that number. Stupid is as stupid does. But, let’s not forget that a certain percentage of the 36.4% who voted, actually barreled, pointy end-of-cap first, into the voting booth without a single brain cell firing. They, most likely, ceremoniously checked the “straight party affiliation vote” box at the top of their ballots without knowing, or giving one thought to, the candidate or issue at hand. Straight Republican or Democrat. To hell with who, what, when, where, how, or why. Herd mentality, with the only risk being that of breaking the barely used pencil lead.
Where’s the Outrage?
That’s a very good question. It’s there. It’s a trickle of discontent from the pores of the thin scrotum, hidden just beneath the tiny testicles of America. Unfortunately it only becomes visible when it drips down America’s leg. Too much delusion can lead to the seepage. Outrage in America is nothing more than reactionary, a spoiled child’s tantrum. It’s the result of a nervous tic inside the American exceptionalism psyche. Unfortunately, it shows up too late and wreaks of the stench of extremism. Instead of a united chorus of immediacy, importance, and fortitude dedicated to solid solutions, the outrage is a cacophony of panic, self-indulgence, and disorganized chaos adjudicated by ideological and/or social hyperbole. Interestingly, it also is very brief, myopic, and completely void of sanity and reason. As I write this there is this type of outrage in Ferguson, Missouri. The city is burning. Not the entire city mind you, just parts of it here and there. And the people who are burning it are outraged. They are destroying their community. They are ransacking their own home. They are proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Americans are stupid, that we are a nation of extremes, where reason and self-preservation fall victim to social, political, and religious suicide. In America, it’s not about winning a war against injustices. It’s about winning a single, insignificant, bloody battle, just to feel better… at the expense of living better as a nation.
A New Holiday?
America is stupid. It’s not really hard to see. So, in the spirit of stupid, let’s make stupid the centerpiece of American lack of ambition. America needs a new national holiday. Not another holiday, mind you. We can just make it a part of one that’s already on the calendar. I propose we add “Unilaterally Stupid America Day”, or” U – SAD” to the Christmas event. Christmas is a divisive holiday anyway, when you think about it. Everyone’s arguing over whether or not people should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. It’s a time of year when people love to fight over product sales and services, complain about the crowds, traffic, and store return policies. It’s the perfect time of year to be openly, unabashedly stupid and feel proud of the fact. So, let’s own stupid for once. Be proud America! Unilaterally Stupid America! USA! USA! We’re number one! We’re number one… At being stupid.