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American? What’s/Who’s that?

January 31, 2011

American — now that’s a word.
It’s a word that even those who say they wear it can’t agree upon.
It’s a word that makes people overjoyed and underwhelmed, included and actively excluded, fulfilled and hatefilled.
My passport say I am, but I don’t feel like I am, nor do I want to be.
But the news bombards me with stories of millions who want to be, wish they were —
Those who travel thousands of miles on broken glass through deserts with face masks to the border of this nation that I call home — they’re so alone with nothing owned —
They just came for a name that I wouldn’t think twice to disown.

What is American?
Is it grilled cheese? Apple pie? Kentucky fried chicken with gravy on the side?
Is it low cut shirts and exponentially increasing girths?
Tramp stamps and postage stamps and evaluating our worth based on the superficial things that make us hurt?

Is it freedom? Is it revolution?
Is it denying evolution?
Is it the profane graffiti scribbled on yellow yield signs?
Is it the scowl we throw at those at the back of the line?
Is it charity? Is it chivalry? Or is it something much more?
Something I still can’t see because I refuse to be
American?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kirk permalink
    January 31, 2011 10:51 am

    rock it.

  2. January 31, 2011 11:17 am

    I think you mean “low-cut shirts” — but I’ve also seen some “low-cut shits” in my day. That said, I’ve got my problems with the government and right wingers — but I’m happy to call myself an American. The birth of America was a death blow to royalty and hereditary aristocracy. And the launch of our messy, rude, confused, but ultimately human democracy. To be an American is to strive for an ideal: a victory not yet won. Proudly Progressive Americans are still struggling to achieve Lincoln’s more perfect union, despite the blowback from right wingers who call us un-American.

    • emiliab9291 permalink*
      January 31, 2011 11:39 am

      I absolutely mean “low-cut shits”. 1) I never make mistakes and 2) I’ve seen some things … things I wish I could un-see. But no amount of soap or prayers or episodes of Dr. Phil can change that … believe me, I’ve done the grunt-work.
      And I know what you mean about your definition of being “American” — but I feel like, if the word “American” was an entry on Dictionary.com, yours would just be definition 1, and definitions 2 – 10 would be something more like the above. I feel as though the definition of what being an American is has changed over the years, and it hasn’t been for the better. Sure, some Americans will agree with you about the progressive definition of that adjective, but I feel like, across the world, that adjective is becoming more and more of an insult with each piece of legislation we pass and each political gaffe we make.

  3. March 1, 2011 11:34 am

    yeah nice

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