Here’s what I think. The world is broken up into wee patches of this country and that country. Until recently, many people didn’t know much about the people who lived “far away” from them. Travel was difficult and not many people did it.
The people who lived in their own wee patch of the world, did things their own way and spoke their own language. They had traditions, rituals, beliefs and everything that went with them.
Often times rumors about others would find their way into those wee patches, and not knowing the actual people the rumors were about, they believed them. Whether they were true, or not, didn’t enter into it. That still happens today, or course, and there are rumors about most countries, that all of us have heard.
People are quick to believe, judge, and act. That came with us, when we crawled out of the ooze. To sit around trying to figure out what was true, got you killed. We react quickly and try to apologize later, if anyone is still alive. Everyone does it, even if they say, or believe, they don’t. It’s a survival thing. It’s like in the old Sci-fi movies where we killed the aliens immediately, before they killed us. We didn’t bother to find out if they were peaceful, which they usually weren’t because then the movie would be boring and we wouldn’t have anyone to fight. But since we live by the rule, kill or be killed, we do a lot of killing.
While we are all dumped into the species bucket labeled human, primate, homosapien, or homo safety pins, if you like, we hardly know each other at all. That’s understandable because in each of our heads, there is a tiny country all of its own, with its own laws and, opinions and view points. You’re reading mine.
In wars, each side wears a different costume so they can tell each other apart. Costumes and uniforms, are a necessity. Just like in sports. You don’t know who to cheer for if both teams are wearing the same thing. How can you hate the other side, or hope they lose, if you don’t know who they are. Right? Imagine a world where you couldn’t tell who the other team was, so it was impossible to hate them. In war, you may kill the wrong people if you can’t see their costume. Because in war, there are right people and wrong people, although most of the people fighting, don’t even want to be there. They’d rather be home with the people they love, no matter which side they’re on. That doesn’t matter to the two or three men who start the wars and are always SAFE.
So, America. Cue the flag and all the other patriotic and propaganda visuals there are. Amber waves of…well you know. We love our country. We’ve been TOLD and TAUGHT that we love our country and why we love it. We have been brainwashed to love America to the point that we can’t even think of any way not to love it, no matter how terrible it can be. Because every American knows that we are the best and that even when we suck, we are still richer and better than anywhere else in the entire world and maybe the universe. That’s what we are conditioned to believe, whether it’s true or not is something we don’t even think about.
Our streets are not paved with gold, especially in the ghettos. America is a big place with huge differences between people. I think we have lost our perspective. The words that come out of our mouths were put there by others and years of conditioning. Do I love America. Yes. I do. Would I fight to defend Her? Yes. I would. To the end? Sure, why not. That’s what it means to be an American, isn’t it? I have a flag. I know the songs. Well, most of the words to the songs anyway. I didn’t like it when they added “under god,” to the pledge (which started in 1892 and is still being fought over in court). We HAD TO SAY IT EVERY SINGLE DAY IN SCHOOL, so we wouldn’t forget we were hard core Americans dedicated to our country, when we were too young to even know there WERE other countries and people who loved their country as well. The words “under god,” were added to the pledge in 1954 and immediately proved that in spite of the fact that there is supposed to be a SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE, none exists. The Constitution doesn’t really matter. And, WHICH GOD? WHOSE GOD? THERE IS NO GOD is still in the courts. It’s a First Amendment right not to have someone’s god mixed up in America. I should have said it WAS a First Amendment right, because that didn’t seem to matter either. And the part that states, “With liberty and justice for all?” Seriously? Where is that happening? Maybe there’s liberty and justice for rich white males and the women who are married to them, but I think the demonstrations in the STREETS are a clear indication that liberty and justice don’t exist for all of us. The pledge is an indoctrination tool full of lies and false promises. We even fight over that because GOD DOES NOT BELONG IN POLITICS. THERE ARE TOO MANY OF THEM AND THEY AREN’T HERE SO IF GANESH WALKS INTO THE WHITE HOUSE, WE CAN LISTEN BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO INCLUDE HIM UNLESS HE DOES.
Anyway, while I have plenty of room in my head for most of the other wee patches of countries, even if I couldn’t point them out on a globe, or map. Geography isn’t one of our strong suites, since we were led to believe that we are the only ones who count.
I have a shirt with a ragged American flag on it, right next to my Anarchist tee’s. I also have a kind of American flag on my front storm door (poster) but it has a huge skull on it, because, hey, that’s a big part of who we are.
America is a LARGE place. I think people can almost walk across some of the smaller countries. Here, it takes hours to get to the grocery store and some states are so flat and empty, you can’t be sure you’re really moving, when you’re going over a hundred miles an hour. The middle of the country is…well, never mind. Because of this, we have mini countries, inside our own country. This can sometimes be a problem.
And another thing…the Pledge of Allegiance says, “ONE NATION INDIVISIBLE…” Uh, hmmm…about that. We are “divisible,” if you think about it. The Civil War is still being played out in the south. Reenactments, flags, and the idea that maybe they really won. The north, doesn’t think about it because the war ended in 1865 and, well, we won, I guess, and I don’t think the war played out in Chicago. So, really, a lot of us don’t get it, and some people even believe it was just a movie, called Gone With the Wind. A horrible war, pitting us against each other. Brother against brother, something like how friends and families broke up over the Orange One. Although that was more a war of words and people leaving each other.
Another thing. America is EVERYBODY. We don’t have people who are all the same. We aren’t all Swedish, Italian, French, Polish, Chinese, et al. The only real Americans are Native Americans. Even though a lot of us were born here, our roots are elsewhere and because of that, all of our traditions, beliefs, grudges, prejudices and the lot, are here as well. They were all brought here on ships, in baskets and worn, torn, suitcases and in the minds of our immigrant ancestors. Mine didn’t bother passing on anything at all. They just got here young and forgot Italy. Never had an accent and never said a word about where they came from. Tight lipped, silence. My cousins and I don’t know ANYTHING at all. At least there were no traditions, just good food. The only thing I got from the Scandinavian side were delicious desserts and Lucia at Christmas. But she was just a statue with a candle wreath on her head. No idea who she is.
Getting back to the “indivisible” thing…we are more divided today than anytime since the civil war. Secession has been threatened, more than once. States wanting to leave the “Union.” Red and Blue States, Right and Left, Democrats and those other people. WE ARE DIVIDED.
We aren’t one big happy country. We’re just a big country with some people who get along and some people who don’t. Our differences are too big for all of us to be friends. We can’t even understand each other, our accents are so different. We only come together when nature shows us who the boss really is. Once the crisis is over, we’re back to “normal,” whatever that is.
We can’t understand each other let alone people from other countries and they can’t understand anyone else either. Conditioning sets us up to be what we are and while we can overcome some of that, we can never NOT be what we are. Once an American, always an American mindset, even if we can be flexible.
I don’t think people want to hate and kill each other in wars, because they aren’t really enemies to begin with. That’s why we can go to Viet Nam and like the people and their beautiful country. We could have always liked the people, but some men with power just wanted more for themselves and sent people who were loved, to get whatever it was they wanted, at all costs.
Right now, our country is deeply divided. I see it as a huge chasm between Red and blue. But on each side, there are other divisions as well. All of this is caused by differences in beliefs, world views and perspectives and conservative fear and religion.