It’s easy to be an American. All you need to do is be rich, and loud, and willfully ignorant of basic math and science. It’s also easy to be embarrassed to be an American. Because we’re rich, and loud, and willfully under-educated.
If countries are people, then let’s face it, America is the drunken uncle who shows up late to the party, doesn’t bring a gift, makes inappropriate sexual advances toward his in-laws, and passes out in the potato salad. America the person is casually racist, has had 4 DUIs, is in his fifties, fat, balding, and still wears his high school football jersey to bars. America the person has severely unregulated diabetes from a lifetime of double bacon cheeseburgers and Busch beer. America the person is almost universally disliked, but America the person thinks he’s popular, because everyone laughs at America the person’s jokes. America the person doesn’t know that everybody only laughs at America the person’s jokes because America the person is a little scary.
Americans think the world revolves around America, and are adorably confused when it doesn’t. Americans think America is the greatest nation in the entire god damned world, despite almost overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Americans don’t really know what “evidence” is.
I’m an American. I know that my country is deeply flawed. I know that we are a bully who enjoys super-power status due to an abundance of precious resources, lucky geographic positioning, and an obscenely over-inflated military budget. We’re the unwanted, unappreciated world police, bringing freedom to the huddled masses one drone strike at a time. Domestically, our political system is a corrupt joke, and our politicians are owned by banks and mega-corporations. Our culture is systematically racist and sexist, our infrastructure is crumbling, our manufacturing capabilities are non-existent, and our education and healthcare systems are unforgivably over-priced. Like you might go bankrupt if you take a college course or break your arm. But we have a lot of tanks and guns. So that makes up for it.
Despite all of that, today is the Fourth of July, and I’m proud to be an American. Partly because because bald eagles are fucking sweet, but mostly because the Supreme Court finally upheld the universal right to marriage to all Americans, not just boring cisgendered heterosexual couples. I know it’s out of character for me to be all mushy and emotional, but this is a major and well-deserved win for love in all its forms, and I’m fucking stoked.
Granted, the fact that this had to ever even reach the Supreme Court is bullshit. Here’s how the process should have gone the first time a same-sex couple applied for a marriage license in the United States: “Hi, we love each other and we’d like to apply for a marriage license”
“Here you go, congratulations.”
The first time some hateful, small-minded scum-fuck decided to take offense to same-sex relationships, the conversation should have gone something like this: “Thems fags is getting married.”
“Don’t say fag, it’s offensive. And who cares? They’re so happy. It’s nice. Kind of romantic.”
“But…the bible says…”
“I’m going to stop you right there. Your particular religious views are not relevant to this conversation.”
“Again, not relevant.”
“Are…are you just saying stereotypical redneck things?”
Throughout history; love, family, and human relationships have held many different forms in many different cultures. What works for some people doesn’t work for others, and that’s number one A-OK. America, supposedly the land of the free, is an enormously diverse country that benefits from the mixing of all the best features of the entire spectrum of humanity. We should be at the forefront of liberal social progression. Step up your game America, you used to be cool. If you can’t openly support people who are different from you, you need to do some serious soul searching, or at the very least mind your own damn business.
I get it. White America was founded by intolerant Christian religious zealots, and that legacy has infected our cultural consciousness, but the modern United States were founded on different principles. Do you know who our founding fathers were? For the most part, they were well-educated young men in their early twenties. They got together in a bar, discussed interesting ideas about social reform over a few pints of beer, and then decided to do something about it. Basically, they were like the modern Occupy movement, but with guns. And work ethic. And intelligence. And sweet hats.
Had they lived through the past two-hundred and fifty something years, I like to think they would have supported the general direction we’ve been moving socially. Emancipation of the slaves. Women’s suffrage. Equal rights. Gay rights. These are the things that are good. We need to keep it up.
If you have a foreign friend, ask them how the world views Americans. Sure, we’re loud and fat and ignorant. But we’re also friendly. Hardworking. Generous. Ambitious. Optimistic.
I like that last one. Optimistic. It’s true, we’re taught we can be anything we want to be, do anything we set our minds to. Of course we can, we’re Americans. So this Fourth of July, be anything you want to be. Do anything you want to do. Fly our flag high. Shoot off fireworks. Eat some wieners. Personally, I prefer my wieners off the grill with spicy mustard and chili. If you prefer yours thick and veiny however, do your thing you big gay bastard. This American salutes you.