What The United States Of America Means To Me, And Why It Still Kicks Ass

In the days leading up to this country’s Independence celebration, I found myself contemplative for this particular entry into the Memetic Press blog.  Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, a ragtag group of businessmen, smugglers, and pillars of their respective communities gathered together to solidify their ideas about national identity and natural rights on a piece of paper.  That scrap of hemp parchment was destined to live forever as history’s greatest middle finger, aimed squarely at the King of England.

This is the time of year I usually imagine this scene playing out: I see John Hancock, you know… chillin’.  Standing against the wall as everyone else signs, just hanging back, you know.  And Jefferson looks up and says… “Hey Hancock, you gonna get down on this?”  And Hancock’s just waiting, smug like, and he says, “Nah, I’ll get it in a minute.  Save room.  Lots of room.”  Probably drinking, too.  I heard they had to stop him before he dipped his gigantic balls into the inkwell and planted them right next to his signature.  Let the king see that, indeed.

THIS IS WHAT A PIMP LOOKS LIKE

Anyway, that leads me to the subject of today’s musing… What the United States of America Means To Me, And Why It Still Kicks Ass.

The ass-kickery begins, as most ass-kickery does, at the beginning.  For whatever reason the forces of fate decided to bring together the exact right people at the exact right moment.  Most of the Founders themselves would have called this Providence, but whatever the driving principle behind it, the result remains the same and the pattern is inescapable.  You can see it in other points of American history where two or more convergent forces raise the status of one another.  For example, without say, Howard Hawks and John Ford, John Wayne would be just another Western serial actor.  Without the RZA and the rest of the Wu, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard would just be a drunk dude screaming into a microphone.  And thusly, without one another, each constituent part of the Founding Fathers posse would simply be a historical footnote; Franklin a quirky 18th century inventor, Washington a prominent military commander in a forgotten war with the French, and Adams not even worth an HBO mini-series.  And so on.

But that’s not what happened.  What happened was that these men not only came together to combine their powers, not unlike Voltron, but they did so at the PRECISE moment that history required.  Think of it as a perfect storm of complimentary social, political, and philosophical ingredients, brought to a boil in the unrest of a shit-load of cider-drunk hemp farmers.  And the result, my friends, was something truly amazing.

ABOVE: WASHINGTON FORMS THE HEAD

For perhaps the first time in modern history, a nation set out to build itself FROM SCRATCH.  Without tradition or monarchy to guide them, without religious fervor to inform their ceremony, with nothing but the brains in their heads these men attempted to create a country that worked on the principles of REASON and COMMON SENSE.  It’s goal was nothing less than freedom to live for even its lowest and meanest of citizen.  Revolutionary?  Without question.

It was on the promise of this that a ragtag, disorganized citizens brigade proceeded to pull off the greatest military upset since Leonidas rallied Greece against Xerxes with his own blood.  The most powerful military force on Earth lost to screaming hillbillies and starving New England men who were fighting for nothing more than the PROMISE of a free land.  This was a message that resounded so clearly, so incontrovertibly, that every monarchy in Europe shook with fear.  In some cases, this fear was well justified.

EUROPE GETTING OWNED BY FREEDOM

In recent years, it’s become somewhat fashionable for our own intellectual elite and ignorant suburbanites to bash America.  And, considering the trajectory this country has been moving along in recent years, that’s somewhat understandable.  But I myself draw a line between criticism of our government’s actions (which, at the end of the day, we’ve no one but ourselves to blame for) and denigration of this country’s origins and ideals.

Was the nation born of the Revolution a perfect one?  Certainly not, nor was that ever the claim.  If the Founding Fathers pretended to perfection, they’d never have allowed amendments to the Constitution.  Jefferson for one advised each succeeding generation to throw the whole damn system out if it suited their fancy, and the day may yet come where I advocate taking him up on it.  But the INTENT, you see, was the important thing.  They TRIED.  Within the framework of their understanding of the universe around them, they created the best system THEY could come up with.  And, recognizing that future generations would have a greater understanding than they, implemented a system to adapt to that understanding.

This system itself hasn’t always stood up to the rigors of civilized dialogue.  The issues of states rights and slavery degenerated into bloodletting, but the nation survived.  The equal distribution of our freedoms to various groups has often come slowly, but it HAS come.  And today, the United States faces the painful duality of having a bloated expansionist government with an isolationist population.  Problems, as they will, arise.

But throughout it all, a ray of undiluted promise remains.  Freedom.  Independence.  The ability for any person of any persuasion to live their life HOWEVER they please, so long as it harm no other.  Some have proclaimed it impossible.  Some have mocked its very existence and called it an illusion.  Some have degraded the symbols by which this country pursues this promise, burning flags and championing degenerate failed political ideologies from overseas.  All these people, I say here and now, are fucking fools.

Is this country perfect?  Hardly.  No more so than the day it was formed.  But is it’s IDEAL the pinnacle of human achievement?  The notion that all humanity: large and small, rich and poor, male and female, has the right to pursue its happiness however it sees fit?  You bet your American ass it is.

Between the institutionalized self-loathing of the left and the twisted nationalist territoriality of the right there exists a medium of thinking that STILL makes sense.  Common sense, as Thomas Paine might recognize.  Freedom has been slow to come to some in this country.  But it has come.  And it will come.  And the inexorable march toward equality for all under the law and opportunity for everyone in this great nation will continue.  It survived the Civil War.  It survived the Great Depression.  That very simple notion that all should be free… codified in a document by a group of irritable, disagreeing, and heavily sweating men in powdered wigs… lives still.  The promise made in Philadelphia, the gigantic ‘go fuck yourself’ pointed toward King George and indeed all tyrants, still lives.

The United States Of America kicks ass.

RECOGNIZE

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

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2 Comments

  1. Ooo-Rah, here’s to many more centuries of it too.

  2. And, may I point out that the majority of those signnatories to that “Constitution” thing ended up destitute or dead for their troubles. D’ya think Rosie O’Donnell or George Clooney or B. Hussein Obama would be willing to lay all that on the line for what they’re espousing?


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