02. January 2005 · Comments Off on My Country, ‘tis of thee · Categories: Ain't That America?

My recent rant about “American Idiot” has brought Robin out of his/her cave. In his/her latest comment Robin writes:

That album totally trashes your belief system, your government and the man you elected president. I DO think it’s funny that you’re all happily plugging it regardless; I suppose “lefties” have all the best tunes eh?

In this and in other comments he/she’s made I get the idea that Robin is “not from around these parts.”

In response to his/her comment and to enlighten folks who may not be from America who look at us like we’re some sort of weird animal, let me give you some of my thoughts on these United States.

First of all, we LOVE to argue. No…perhaps that’s not strong enough…maybe you don’t get the full force of that. Some of us (blush) will argue a point we don’t believe in just for the mental exercise. When I was living in Germany I had a hard time explaining to a German friend of mine, what debating was. He didn’t seem to know enough English and my Deutsch sucks…so our boss was called in and he laughed and said a word I don’t remember and my German friend looked even more confused…”You take classes in word-fighting?!!!” Yes…we do. Some people even major in it…that’s called “Pre-Law.” That he understood.

The other thing that we Americans have the ability to do is to agree with a political party on one set of issues, while completely disagreeing with them on others. In my lifetime, we’ve had Kennedy Republicans, Reagan Democrats and (at least in ’92) Clinton Republicans. In my hometown of Chicago, many Democrats are much more conservative than say…Arnold Schwarzenneger.

Unless you’re working for a particular party or unless you have no other interests but politics, there are very few “true believers” in the population at large. Most folks are just too busy living their lives. The far right and the far left get a lot of press because…well, they’re the extremes and boring has never sold commercial minutes on news channels.

Now how does any of this relate to how I, a seemingly patriotic member of the U.S. armed forces, can somehow express my passion for what I think is a really good album that so trashes all I apparently believe in?

Ya see for me, to truly love this country we absolutely must look at its whole and not just its parts and some of that whole is just plain ugly. When it comes to “American Idiot” I understand the rage…I understand thinking this country I love is often insane, paranoid, psychotic, schizophrenic, psychopathic, and just plain weird. When that rage is expressed well with angst and poignancy and killer riffs and backbeats that tickle my chest cavity and clever lyrics, I celebrate that. I revel in it.

There’s nothing more American than an artist, musician, comedian…whatever, saying “Pssst, come here.” Turning over a rock…”Take a look at this shit. Look what I see under here.”

I don’t object to criticism of my government, I object to ignorant criticism of my government. I object to base and low criticism of my government. I object to criticism of my government based on someone else’s political agenda or worse yet, someone acting as a puppet for someone else’s political agenda. I object to criticism of my government by people who haven’t lifted a finger in their own defense in over half a century, letting us do their dirty work and then bitching about how we covered their ass.

Real life American rage expressed well…I’m all about that shit…whether I agree with it or not.

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