What I Miss About America
I'm a bit worried about America, however the one thing that I really love about it I hope is still alive, and I hope that it will traverse national borders and permeate the world over. What is that one thing?
It comes across in day to day life in America, in music, in movies, and one common factor in American history through all the dark periods has been a propensity for the oppressed to rebel.
That’s right, historically Americans don’t do well with being told that they must adhere to a specific social structure or stay in a certain pocket of society. I’ve been a bit surprised by how rigid the French social system can be; however it really only seems to apply to French nationals. There is further a clear ethnocentrism among many French, and it also applies to how they view members of their own nationality as well (a caste system of sorts).
Sure, America has the haves and have not’s, but don’t dare tell anyone in America that they can only enter a certain social class via birth or marriage, as that’s a good way to get slapped. In this sense I am proud to be an American. I don’t concern myself with anyone’s judgments or social expectations of me, and I’m free of the notion that I can only attain a certain level of social hierarchy. In fact, I reject the notion of social hierarchy altogether, and I spit in the face of anyone that attempts to enforce such a ridiculous concept upon me.
I’m an American, and I’ll strive for whatever I want, and don’t ever even attempt to tell me otherwise or you will face my rebellious wrath. Yeah.
Okay so now for the bad news. America is sliding into a state where this rebellious quality has been turned into hateful and toxic vitriol, and through misinformation and fear mongering, the natural rebellious of Americans is now a cancer to the principles on which America was founded. My interpretation of those principles is simple: equality among humans, the right to life, the right to live without being persecuted or oppressed, and the right to a freedom of expression. America is a long way from any of those principles, and I do wonder if Europe is now much closer. I find it disgustingly Ironic that the nation that the USA rebelled against (yes I am talking about England) may be inching toward being a better example of these principles. More to come.
My hope is that the American expressive rebelliousness will spread across the world in diaspora. I am part of this perhaps, albeit a small part, as I exude this quality and serve as an example of how to perceive someone who thinks they are better than me.
It’s not perfect here in France and there is a lot that can be learned from America, however I think a key difference is that France, and much of Europe for that matter, may be open-minded enough to listen, whereas America is now closed for any further ideological discussions. It’s the Trump era now. Time for blatant lies, unpunished crimes, inequality, death to the hometowns of those who built the great nation in the first place, and a relentless and endless debate about who the real enemy is.
All we need to do as Americans is look at all the marginalized people, incarcerated, and abandoned. The debate, however, is no longer about how to liberate those people, it’s about how to dismiss them. I sincerely hope that on Tuesday America takes a hard left turn, as the current path will certainly only further alienate the rest of the world and isolate America further, which only diminishes the great rebellious quality that made the nation so great in the first place. Trump talks about making America great again, but in my mind what has historically made America great is the refusal to give up, and the refusal to accept what someone else said about the way things have to be. We are the nation of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Nat Turner, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Mae West, Harvey Milk, and so many other rebels who fought against injustice and oppression. We can craft our destiny, but we can still do this and exist in reality.