I SEE America as a continually evolving imperfection in an ever more imperfect world, charting her way among peer societies of today, imperfect also, towards a ‘more perfect’ reality, even as she trips and stumbles and presses on along the path of these pursuits.
America is she who is full of imperfect contradictions, many of which you love and hate with equal passion, which cancel out each other to birth an imperfect comfort in your imperfect consciousness – an imperfect comfort for which many near and afar yearn for but a quick experience, if not a lifetime of same.
It is America who deploys her imperfections to seduce the imperfect person to deny his heritage after tasting of her ephemeral spring. America is she who visits you, and leaves you happy and free to be vain, violent, kind, materialistic, generous, greedy, virtuous, industrious, judgmental, hardworking, hypocritical, freedom-loving, sex-obsessed, lawsuit-loving, obnoxious, gluttonous, insatiable and notoriously incurious.
America is she who spawned Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. yesterday, and tomorrow, Timothy McVeigh – and Lee Boyd Malvo’s tutor and Jim Jones. She also inspired and equipped a Mujahedeen in Osama bin Laden before burying him at sea as a villain loathed everywhere from New York to Mumbai.
America empowered and built up Saddam Hussein as a connoisseur of western style and tastes in the middle of the Mesopotamian desert, but hung him as a sadistic, raving brute, feared and dreaded in the region by friends and enemy alike. America is she who gave the world the quiet, dignified strength of Rosa Park, and the energetic, defiant voice of Nina Simone.
Of course America also gave us the genius of Sarah Palin and the holy piety of Michele Bachmann, alongside revered women like Eleanor Roosevelt, Sacagawea and HarrietTubman.
This same America it was who showed the world an improbable path to the moon, while its centuries-long struggle to live by the tenets of her very own creed left people of a certain race-type blue. She lectured and lectures us on equality, louder than any other but still struggles with entrenching equality for good. She freed the gays and lesbians to pursue marital harmony, but subtracted a rib from the cage of the Voter’s Right Act.
America gave the world Little Boy and Fat Guy by way of Eleanor Gay; gifts which Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nor the world at large, will never forget – especially as America is the only country ever known to have gifted any people such.
America has done its share in teaching the world to love guns and money and sex, three of the most common factors in cases of crime and death. Alongside her worldwide campaign to spread freedom ‘from sea to shining sea’, none other than America is a bigger merchant of guns or sex or money. And America’s wealth and influence guarantee the spread of her reach in this regard.
America, conqueror like Rome of yore, gets what she wants by hook or by crook. If in doubt, ask the Iraqis, who were freed from the grips of a mustachioed megalomaniac in the heart of Mesopotamia into the control and influence of a conclave of Mullahs to their East.
America was she who witnessed a bloody me gasping for my first-ever gasps of air, in the middle of the harsh winter West of the Appalachians many years ago, but whom I barely knew for two seasons before I departed for tropical shores across the Atlantic. She was the one I held in rose-colored esteem, and whom I longed to meet for two decades, only to be jarred to reality by her indifference to me on meeting her.
As far as I know that she cared, she simply didn’t give a damn who I was; I was just another one out of millions out there, supposedly created equal, and supposedly endowed by an imagined supernatural being with ‘certain inalienable rights’, among which are ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. These rights, I understand, I enjoy so long as I live by her many edicts – some of which seem like they were enacted more to keep me in line to guarantee some powerful person's liberties, than to guarantee mine.
America is the one to whom I am ‘married’, who watches my every move and eavesdrops on me. I am told I have nothing to worry about concerning the eavesdropping, so long as I live just as I am told to live. I am also told I am free to live the way I want. But I can’t hit that gas pedal and exceed the stipulated 55 miles an hour on I-95 along the Eastern Corridor near Boston, or exceed the 65 miles an hour on I-90 in upstate New York, nor exceed the maximum of 70 miles an hour on the stretches of the I-80 stretches in the Midwest.
Yes I am aware that it is ‘for my own safety’. But I also know it is a money-maker for America.
America tells me I have to be responsible, but I see others equally married to her as I am, everywhere from Wall Street to Washington D.C., being irresponsible and artfully circumventing the law with little consequence.
I saw America lead a generation into the costliest military campaign in modern memory that left tens of thousands dead, and many more permanently maimed. Yet I see America holding nobody accountable for that horrific war that was propagated on a tissue of lies.
She is imperfect, this America, even after 237 years. She says I am free, and indeed it appears I really am. But I am only free within the range – I am the free-range chicken on the farmland, fed and protected for future output. I am required to live within a range of liberties. Anything outside of that range comes with a price; it is the price my marriage to America, that beautiful, bodacious wife of mine, full of talents and pleasures cheap and real, in which I often bask and wallow with naked abandon.
Her imperfections are serious, and we don’t always get along. But her imperfections are not any more serious than that of any of her peers out there. As a matter of fact a solid argument can be made in her favor according to the words of her motto: E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one.
America is my imperfect wife. Tomorrow July the Fourth, for America, I’m going to get into my shorts and tees and go out for fun and drinks. After all that is what America says she is about: ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. So I am going to go out there and please my wife, and come back home to watch it all on that electric box to which America, my wife, is so terribly addicted.