I was watching a movie last night in which the main character gets detained by homeland security at the airport. In it the agents authoritatively ask him "Do you hate your country?"
It was a comedy movie with no real political message to it but it struck a nerve in me because of how many times that's been asked of me in the past, and how impossible it is to give an answer to such an unsophisticated question. The question itself demands simply a yes or no"that's why propagandists like the ones at Fox News revert to these kinds of conflict questions and give their guests very little time to answer when logical arguments back them into a corner.
Do I love the bill of rights and capitalism, and all the opportunities, products, entertainment, and creative people that those things have produced? Absolutely.
But in every society there is a sinister side. There is a class of people that want to rule over everyone else. The dark spiritual seeds that produce tyrannts are spread equally around the world without respect to borders. And as the sun shines more and the rain falls heavier in some lands than on others, some governmental systems make it more easy for these emperor wannabes to gain power over everyone else around them.
In other countries these tyrants are poor peasant kids kicked around throughout their childhoods who rose up to become dictators and blood thirsty generals through sheeranimal because where they"re from that"s just how business is done.
In the western world these people are the bullies on the playground with the same ambitions, who grew up. The ones who learned how to punch-out the weak while the teachers were not looking, and later how to usurp the system by wearing a badge or making lots of money and putting their minions in office.
The foundation of America created by our fathers was strong and their system of rule by law, not men, is why the ideals of this country's revolution have survived so long.
However, over the past 100 years it has slowly been overrun by the bullies, incrementally stabbing away the constitutional protections that once made it harder for them to impose their will on the world.
The story of America is not about whether it's good or bad. It's both things. Good and bad, people struggling for control over the national agenda and who has the power"the few or the many. The same could be said about the people of Europe, China, and Iran. It is more than one person and one action. It is about more than just who is in office and what the country did yesterday or 100 years ago.
Soon the president is going to give his state of the union address. No doubt it's going to be a bunch of phony pandering and applauding and pundits afterwards talking about his well crafted message, with a response from the fake political opposition added in, as if these so called leaders we see on TV really represent us anymore. The fact is, politicians don't help us, they "handle us" because in our system we the people are still an obstacle to their narcissistic ambitions and we still have to be appeased for them to stay in power.
But how strong is our union when the bullies attempts at appeasement are now so weak? When the promises are so blatantly insincere and the explanations so arrogantly and cynically delivered? When they run over the will of the people with patronizing explanations that it's "for their own good", and blissfully turn their back on those who once supported them because they naively believed there would be some kind of change and were ripe for the picking?
It's isn't about whether or not America is good or bad or if you hate it or not"it's about the fact that the bullies on the playground are now somehow the teachers, and the principal, the school nurse, the superintendant" and they don't steal your lunch money or make you do their homework in secret anymore. They're doing it right out in the open and hint that you might go to detention if you don't do what they say. Serving their own personal wants is now becoming more and more the school curriculum, but none of the students want to talk about it or stop it because to do so is "uncool". Plus they'd rather play kickball for the few minutes they're given as a release.
The state is our union is you. You are the power and you are the strength. And it's not because you're American, it's because you're alive and you have free will. You can continue to do what the bullies say and go along to get along because then you might get some, or you can stop worrying about being the cool kid and kick and scream and cry until the sounds get so loud that even the bullies have to cover their ears and retreat.
Once they realize that you don't care what they think of you, or what they might do to you anymore, and empower others to do the same, will they realize that you outnumber them and back down.
Then, once again, the state of our union will really be strong.