Monday, July 04, 2005

Land of the Free, home of the 99 cent store

Today is officially America's birthday. 229 years old, which by the standards applied to nations, is just a drop in the bucket. Our country is just entering it's angsty teenage years, which actually might explain a bit. Other nations like France and the UK might scoff at us, but in reality their present governments don't look anything like the ancient kingdoms sustained by forbidding castles and mail-clad knights. Ok, I think France still has knights, but definitely not castles. You might expect me to tell you which country is the oldest: on the contrary, I have no idea, though I suppose it's luxembourg, because why the hell should they be changing anything?
The newest country, of course, is the Federated Democratic Republic of the Unified Congo States, the bloodiest dictatorship ever known to man. I know it's ironic, but it's mostly that they're counting on a preponderance of words in the country's title to stave off any coups. And yet there are coups aplenty. They've had coups that weren't even finished when another coup started. The old coup didn't even have a chance to put new drapes in when the new coup started.
But we're here to talk about America, land of my birth and, yes, land that I love. One question that invariably comes up is America's overall effect on the world. I will list the top three American exports to the world:

1. Confederate memorabilia, most notably a statue of Robert E. Lee that doubles as a flask (for moonshine, ostensibly)
2. Celebrity. America loves nothing more than to take a nobody and create them into a multinational star. And then to utterly destroy that person's reputation. Some may call this unhealthy, but for us it's very theraputic. Some people have 12-step programs, we have this.
3. Freedom, liberty and justice- now all conveniently packaged as "Jusberdom". Just unpack, remove the instructions in Chinese and assemble; in no time flat you'll have 10 Inalienable Rights of Man, with a new Inalienable Right every month.

The fact is, I can't define what America is. Nobody can, because as soon as we establish ourselves in one way, something else comes along and we go with that. We're the ultimate consumer whores, always travelling towards the newest thing. Sometimes, that gets us into trouble, but often it makes us look like visionaries, like we had any idea that we were going to be successful. It also makes us like the wily mongoose. The mongoose does it's own thing, and nobody fucks with the mongoose because it fights cobras. And cobras are awesome, which makes the mongoose even moreso. I'm not sure of my point there, but I just wanted to mention the mongoose because they are badass.

So this leads us to the inevitable question: What is the future of America? Will our nation lie in ruins for future generations to pick through? And what will they think when they find that sticky slime stuff that comes in the little plastic eggs? Or will America endure forever, it's ever-growing bureaucracy causing it to labor needlessly to perform even the merest of actions? The answer is that I have no idea, but I bet it involves robots.

Happy birthday, America. Try not to set the house on fire with all of those candles.

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