Proud to be an American?

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

-Lee Greenwood, ‘God Bless the USA’
I remember having to sing this song back in fourth grade or so. It was one of those giant chorus deals, where it didn’t matter if some of us were off-key. It’s funny, really, since both the person to my left and right were off-key. Anyway, the most important thing I remember about singing that song was that I actually felt a strong sense of pride. It was overwhelming, as if Ronald Reagan himself would burst out of my chest at any minute, waving the American flag. (What? He was the president back then.) Today, though, I am older. I am jaded. I am cynical. Disenchanted. Grumpy. Bitter. Hell, pick any curmudgeonly word you want. That’s me.
I have lost my faith in this country. I used to believe in the system. I used to believe that the ‘bad’ politicians would get voted out and their wrongs would be righted in the next term. But it seems like, really, we only have bad ones to pick from anymore. Seriously, all of them are businessmen who are voting in their own interest. They’ll pass any regulation (or deregulation, as it seems to be more often) that can fill their coffers, whether or not it hurts the rest of the country. The ‘1%’ rules the country, and they’re only looking out for their own interests.
After the most recent economic recession, I did enough reading to figure out the basics of how it happened. A couple of weeks ago, I watched Inside Job, a documentary which filled in whatever gaps I had left in my knowledge. It’s disgusting, really, how we keep putting these crooks into office. (Also, I recommend the documentary to anyone interested.)
But what can I do about it? My vote doesn’t really matter. I probably couldn’t even win an election for something local, like city mayor, much less a national office, so I can’t bring about the changes myself. And even if I COULD get into Congress, my voice would be drowned out by the others, much like what is happening now. There are some reasonable suggestions being made, from both parties, which are being childishly dismissed.
In case any of you Washington types are reading, feel free to call me and I’ll explain how to fix this problem without going into a second Depression. But really, doing nothing will also solve the problem. Once the economy crashes and the Depression sets in, we’ll start getting our regulations back into place to prevent this sort of nonsense from happening again.
So what can I do, really? I could prepare for the worst by selling my stocks off and pulling my money out of the banks, stashing all of it into shoeboxes and burying them on some remote beach. I could try to organize a not-so-massive protest, which might get one minute of press coverage before being immediately forgotten. Or, I could follow through with something that struck me this morning…
I started looking at the actual costs of moving overseas. I have reached the point of frustration that I am willing to renounce my citizenship, and move thousands of miles from everyone I’ve ever known. And the worst part about that solution is that it’s the most reasonable one.

3 thoughts on “Proud to be an American?”

    1. I wandered too much in this post. The basic theme I was trying to convey was that there’s nothing I can do to make America better. My vote doesn’t matter, especially in South Carolina, where most of these rednecks think that the Republican Crazies (Tea Party) are doing the RIGHT thing by stonewalling a solution.
      Of course other countries have their own problems. I’m not so naive as to think the grass is actually that much greener. However, in a smaller country, perhaps my voice would be louder?

  1. Unlike you, I believe that your vote CAN make a difference. Look at the many ways in which one single person’s drive, fire, passion can influence others and change the world (Teach for America, the Red Cross, the Sisters of Charity just to name a few). Don’t lose hope! That’s what this country was founded on.
    And don’t renounce your citizenship. Think of the people who toil, fight, and do crazy things just to have the opportunity to live in this country.

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