Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Conflicted about the Conflict: I Hate America

I hate America.

Well, it’s true.  It must be: Rush Limbaugh says so.  All the conservative radio talk jocks say so.  If you’re a liberal and you’re against the war and you oppose the President, why there’s simply no other answer.  “If you’re not with us, you’re against us, and since we love America, you must hate it.”

This subject is what prompted me to start this WebLog in the first place.  It just took me a while to get around to typing it up.

For shits and giggles, though, let’s assume they are right.  If I do hate America, what is it I actually hate?  It’s unlikely to be the land itself, with its purple mountains majesty and fruited plains; I don’t hate physical things.  That’s America the place; it’s America as an idea or an image which I must hate.

So what is America-the-image?  Let’s look at it how the rest of the world does.  “America” is a land of dreams and promises and potential for success.  “America” is Hollywood.  “America” is McDonalds and Starbucks.  “America” is a country which thumbs its nose at the United Nations.  “America” is a country which won’t sign the Kyoto Accords, which backs out of the ABM Treaty, and which won’t permit gays and lesbians to serve in its military.  “America” is George Bush and Colin Powell and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

As an aside, I note that I am guilty of conflating Saddam Hussein and Iraq in my own writing.  The leader and the nation are not the same, but our national media and rhetoric make them the same to the point that even those of us who know better can only separate the two with difficulty.  It is thus very true that to the rest of the world, “America” is George Bush, and vice versa.  The Seattle Weekly had a take on this in Geov Parrish’s “Dubya War Glossary” from their March 19, 2003 issue:
Saddam Hussein n: The nation of Iraq, pop. 224,002,000 (2002 est.); area 172,476 sq. mi. (slightly larger than California), centered on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Southwest Asia, previously known as Persia and Mesopotamia; one of the oldest continually civilized regions in the world.  “Iraq” and “Saddam Hussein” are generally used interchangeably; e.g., “We’re going to bomb the hell out of Saddam Hussein.”
To the rest of the world, “America” is a big bully which likes to throw its weight around, both monetarily and militarily; a bully which insists that everyone else behave according to its whims.  It’s no wonder I hate America.  Nobody loves a bully.

Updated on July 2, 2010
Added link to a story not avaialble online when entry was originally written.

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