America, Canceled: 1776 – 2017, give or take.
Politicians boldly proclaim America as The Greatest Country in the World. A Democracy unparalleled in world history. A City on Hill. A Place where all are welcome. A place where anything is possible and anyone can be president or start a small business. To rise from poor to wealthy and achieve The American Dream.
The American dream idea made its way around the globe and attracted people from the four corners of the world all seeking to get in on the American promise and dream. To find refuge and shelter. Safety from war and disease. Escape religious prosecution. To seek land, gold, freedom, wealth, and to seek out what was broadcast as the land of opportunity where anyone from anywhere regardless of their color or faith or station in life, could achieve fortune, fame, health, prosperity.
The Marketing of America
The marketing of America for the past few hundred years was and is a case of false advertising for Natives, Black, and other non-white citizens and newer arrivals.
Behind the American wizard and his curtain are the ugliness of genocide, slavery, jim crow, mass incarceration, discrimination, unequal justice, military-industrial complex, and unequal healthcare. And if one looks deeper they will find the demonization of the poor and needy, contaminated water and food, rigged financial and banking systems, unfunded public schools, restrictions on voting, police brutality, and deification of long dead advocates of slavery.
We were told that America saved the world in two world wars, and that our military fought for the cause of justice and freedom around the world while promoting democracy and defeating fascism, communism, and socialism. Dictators and warlords, we were told, feared American justice as we covertly or overtly toppled their corrupt regimes and ended their reign of terror on their innocent civilians or allied countries. The list of countries America intervened in is… long and only surpassed by our parent country, England.
The American Way or Else
Depending on how the word invasion is defined, the United States has invaded 84 of the world’s 193 nations, and has been militarily involved in 191 of 193 countries – or 98% of the world’s countries. And the United States remains the only country to deploy a nuclear bomb on another country – on citizens, no less.
From the African continent including the Middle East, to Central and South America, near and Far Asia, and across the European land mass, America has injected it opinion, military, financial power, and religious viewpoint, on willing and unwilling recipients.
America was the world’s guardians, police force, and beloved emancipators who championed the rights of all people and put all governments on notice: We will bomb the fuck out of your country and destroy your government unless you treat your people right while also giving us access to your infrastructure, your food supply, your precious metals, oil, land, and agriculture, and your financial institutions.
The American way of life must not be interrupted or impeded in any way, so if you interrupt our banana imports, we will send our military to overthrow your government and install someone who will bend the knee to American exceptionalism. (see early century banana wars).
The old America demanded gold, oil, bananas and the new America demands minerals for technology, cheap labor and open markets for our products, and little to no restrictions on businesses employing children, or indentured servants to make our shoes, purses, clothes, electronics, cars, and medicine, and technology, i.e. the phones, laptops, cars, tv’s, and pretty much anything you get from Walmart, Apple, and Amazon.
We became our own worst enemies extending genocidal habits to far flung lands, blanketing innocent civilians with the terrible bombing campaigns designed to topple dictators and corrupt governments and open markets to our vast military-industrial -financial complex and institutions.
The Calls are Coming from Inside the House
But America failed in achieving its goals. It allowed the open wounds of genocide and enslavement to remain open so long each infected society in ways large and small causing the American dream to remain distant and unrealized for tens of millions of honorable citizens, descendents of original peoples and descendents of the enslaved.
America refused to pay its debts to its own citizens and failed for hundreds of years to tap into the skill, knowledge, and moral viewpoints of its sidelined citizens, preferring instead to almost singularly focus on the viewpoint and wants and needs of white males and, to a lesser extent, white females.
But no fear, because American-style religion will save the day while saving souls, too.
Calling themselves “Christian” they championed slavery, public hangings, KKK terrorism, jim crow, mass incarceration, redlining, gerrymandering, job and housing discrimination, death penalty sentences from all-white juries, school prayer, segregated schools and public spaces, separate worship from their fellow Black evangelical “Christians” and a takeover of elected politicians.
They applauded and cheered foreign interference by the military that was an extension of their belief that they were God’s champions on earth and at every public opportunity they asked God to bless them and their country, without saying what everyone else knew and heard – bless us, don’t bless them.
National Consciousness of Guilt
It it is said that something happens to the subconscious when crime is committed. A consciousness of guilt, whereby the guilty demonstrates guilt by actions or words.
America has a consciousness of guilt and it is seen in ways large – spending more on military than all other nations combined and insisting no other nations deemed an enemy acquires a nuclear bomb even though America is the only country to have deployed a nuclear weapon and did so on a civilian population. And even owning more guns and military-style weapons by American citizens so much so that there are more guns in America than there are people.
And it is seen in relatively small ways of constant reaffirming how great America is and the requirement that all politicians publicly recite America’s greatness and their love of God. It is seen in the words spoken on queue by celebrities, athletes, and public figures who must unequivocally state their allegiance and loyalty to America and its ideals whenever asked or forever be shamed for pointing out American deficiencies.
While America allows for criticism, that criticism must first and foremost come from white Americans to be accepted as “Honest.” Anyone and everyone else who dares point out a fault with this flawed country, no matter how small, will be not so politely asked to apologize, leave the country to go back to wherever they or their ancestors may be from, or leave their position if they are in such a role.
Black Americans have spent decades pleading to remove statues and other confederate imagery from public spaces – i.e., where their taxes are supporting – only to be ignored, ridiculed, and threatened by white men who control the laws and law enforcement governing and protecting such displays.
Candle Aroma that Smells Like Racism
The candle is burning at both ends and America is being confronted with the consequences of international malfeasance, weapons selling and war exporting. Domestically America’s mismanagement is fueling its decline, from unlimited corporate political spending, unsecure elections, money mismanagement and wealth hoarding, to denial of science and intellectual pursuits, and lack of access to higher education and better paying jobs.
The grand experiment is messy, racist, violent, and lacking in empathy and concern for citizens and foreigners alike as we cheer locked up kids in cages, demand political opponents are “locked” up, and celebrate ignorance while cheering or ignoring ten-thousand documented lies from the president over the past two plus years.
The candle is burning brightly and quickly, demanding definitive action to prevent a disaster. The action cannot be allowing a cheating, lawbreaking, lying, bankrupt, racist, and accused rapist, to have access to thousands of the most deadly weapons ever created by humans. Instead, the action must be deliberate, specific, clearly outlined, and delivered in a timely manner before the candle has burned out.
America Please Go To Therapy
Without such actions, America will cease to exist, like hundreds of other nations throughout history. Perhaps our distaste and infighting with one another over the past few hundred years is indicative of the need for a dissolution of the American marriage.
As with any couple who considers divorcing, attempts at reconciliation and therapy are often necessary steps towards understanding whether the union is salvageable whether for the sake of the kids, money, religion, or prestige. America’s therapy could be considered the time immediately following the civil war where instead of surfacing and confronting our main issue – enslavement, racism, redress and reparations – we buried the lede while convincing our therapist that “everything is fine, the slaves are free.“
Things were and are not fine, though. Things never are in an abusive relationship and America has an abusive relationship with millions of its minority citizens and a good therapist would eventually lead their client to understanding why they are in such a relationship, why they remain, and support them as they arrived at a decision to leave.
Is America Salvageable?
There are a few actions that could reset our foundation so that we can move forward with trust, hope, and clear plans on what each of us needs to do in order to save this country from its own worst impulses. Here are a few ideas to start:
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission – To copy from South America, we need to dig into the roots of all American conflicts and they start with what is called America’s original sin, Slavery. The project 1619 expertly covers the “why” behind need.
- Reparations – Honoring the government promise made to former enslaved citizens whose free labor fueled American and western wealth for hundreds of years to the estimated tune of trillions of dollars that is still weaved into banking, colleges, and businesses. *Something to note is that slave owners received reparations for losing their slaves.
- Honor all Native treaties
- Fully fund k-12 schools attended by minority kids
- End gerrymandering and redlining
- Mandatory history classes on Black American history, as written by Black scholars
- Release from jail/prison non-violent drug offenders
- Free healthcare
- Automatic voter registration when eligible; change eligibility to age 16
- Remove all Confederate symbols from public land and spaces, including street names and schools
These therapy steps will go a long way towards uncovering uniquely American unresolved issues that inform most of our internal friction, hatred, racism, institutional racism, unequal application of laws, and powerful symbolism that target Black Americans. We cannot heal as a nation until we address the roots and cause of the hurt and pain that we’ve allowed to fester and thrive for far too long.
The American dream and ideal can be saved and healing can begin if we get to work as a family with shared interests and goals. The problems have been calling out for attention and solutions for hundreds of years and it is about time that Americans heed the call before it is too late and America really is canceled.
© 2019 Myron J. Clifton, Dear Dean Publishing. All Rights Reserved.