America Will Never Be Great Until We Liberate the World From American Chains
There are children growing up in countries we bomb absolutely terrified of the consequences of American democracy. For them, all Western democracy has ever been is an excuse for Christians to kill Muslims so that Western Capitalists can come in and privatize their oil reserves. For adults who came up during an American-sponsored occupation, it is embarrassingly obvious to them that what Western strategists called “shock therapy” was the total breakdown of a nation’s infrastructure for the exclusive benefit of a handful of white guys and the corrupted layer of bureaucrats who service them.
Last year, I read a book called Radio Shangri-la by Lisa Napoli which documents one American’s journey to Bhutan, a nation once infamous for its rank as the happiest on Earth. Napoli admits openly and without apology that her own unhappiness and loneliness prompted her to leave America and seek her bliss in Bhutan. Yet what she found when she arrived in the happy mountain kingdom was a generation of youth now desperate to be the kind of people they see on Friends and Desperate Housewives, prized bootlegs they binge on from neighboring India. So desperate to be our mindless fiction, Bhutan’s youth are are no longer happy with being.
When Americans speak of their fear of China entering into first-world nation status, what they’re saying is they’re terrified of China becoming us. We argued that the poisoning of our skies was the inevitable consequence of our progress. China’s middle class now argues the same. They claim that it is their right as the middle class to pollute the skies. They use baby boomers’ arguments to defend the smog. America can’t ideologically counter its own ideology reflected back at itself. So now it’s just a race to see who can destroy the Earth the fastest in the name of advancing economic growth.
America’s chief export since I’ve been alive is fuckery. You might not see the connection in all three of these examples, but it’s plainly fuckery. What’s fuckery? One way to define fuckery is the employment of fucked up ideas to justify being fucked up. It’s fuckery when you claim air pollution is the morally acceptable cost of economic progress. It’s fuckery when you let a show as fucking bad as Friends become the global ambassador of American ideals.
America forces our garbage ideas on the world to justify being garbage. But in so doing, the blowback is a reputation so badly damaged, no other nation on Earth is particularly eager to claim us. The world no longer wants America to lead. The world looks at us and sees us bombing brown children into the sand and employing blue lives to end Black ones.
When dickweasels yell “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT,” what they’re betraying is their ignorance that you can’t just leave America. An American is so unwelcome abroad that it’s almost impossible to gain citizenship anywhere else without substantial sponsorship and privilege. For most people, borders are cages meant to keep them in more than they are walls to keep others out. And as the refugee crisis is proving to the world: the last place you want to be is anywhere without citizenship.
Accepting the premise that we can’t leave, American Millennials have no moral option but to end the exportation of American fuckery. The impossible task of rebuilding the world’s faith in democracy falls to us because our parents were the idiots who broke it. It’s a mindfuck, but we don’t have time to wait for another generation to do it.
Millennials cannot retreat into the snide cynicism that cocooned twenty- and thirty-something liberals through the George W. Bush administration. Snark, as I’ve said before, is the expression of privilege, the privileged position of being so distant from the fray, you can make jokes about it. Hence, millions of liberals watched The Daily Show every night while only a fraction joined organized resistance groups.
Our generation will not become what failed.
The desecration of democracy by a democratically elected candidate is paradoxical irony. And there’s no one better at deconstructing irony than millennials.
You might even say we were born to do this.
But like whatever, we’re not eating cereal or buying cars so what do I know.