Saturday, October 30, 2010

Open Letter

Dear social conservatives, theocrats, corporate apologists, et, al.

The America I know and love has been progressive since it’s inception. From when the founding fathers made the clear and conscious decision to refer to its people as citizens instead of subjects, to the numerous decisions that over time have given every free adult citizen regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or educational background the right to be treated equally under the law, to the decisions that free speech is so fundamental that the protection of unpopular, and even outright stupid, ideas (be they godly, godless or anything in between) are allowed to be freely expressed (but remain subject to equally protected criticism by people you may not like very much) America has been a force for progress.

The American tradition ... is progressive. It was progressives that ended slavery. Progressives said women can vote. Progressives were responsible for letting two people get married regardless of race, and soon regardless of gender.

My America says you have the right to believe and say that science is an evil godless practice which is trying to destroy your faith while still reaping all the benefits of the scientific discoveries it yields like vaccines, electricity, clean air and water, and one of the highest per capita lifespans of anywhere in the world. Much of which is funded with government research grants, by the way, because research is not intrinsically profitable.

My America has a government that is allowed to collect taxes to 'provide for the common good' which includes all sorts of great stuff like roads, schools, and the previously mentioned research. It uses that money to keep our air and water clean, and to ensure that we all have the basic standard of living that allows all of us to embrace the freedoms we so cherish. And if that means that the people who profit the most from our way of life have to give back a little more to maintain that way of life ... so be it.

My America gave us jazz, blues, punk rock, George Carlin, TV, VCRs, NASA, the sexual revolution, cars, and the internet. It is not a sober community of staid and stolid statesmen; it's the greatest party that human civilization has ever thrown. Sure it also gave us the Westboro Baptist Church, prohibition, the war on drugs, and the A-bomb, but it's a 'more perfect union' not a perfect one. And that suits me fine. My America has never and will never be perfect. It makes mistakes; it's messy, sloppy, and complicated. It's a place where burning a flag can be just as patriotic as saluting one. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My America is a place where we're allowed to disagree with each other, and the government, and anyone for that matter. Which is great because my America is a dynamic, constantly changing place, where people argue, and bicker, and have different ideas about how we should be doing things. But we always, always remember that we're all one people even when, and especially if, we disagree.

If you would like to live in a conservative country which is founded on strong religious principles, where the women are modestly dressed, the children are taught scripture in schools, laws and punishments are taken directly from holy books, and the economy is largely centered around a small number of extremely profitable businesses that are owned and operated by a devout and enterprising business elite ... Try the middle east, they have several nations which fit that description perfectly.

Because, and forgive me for being so emphatic in my terminology, but you preachy motherfuckers need to come to terms with something you've been in denial about for a very long time. America isn't yours. It belongs to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The free and the brave are the huddled, unwashed masses. And we're definitely tired and sick of you self-righteous assholes trying to 'take back' a country that you never had in the first place. So maybe, just maybe, if you don't love it, then you're the ones who should be leaving it.

My America may well be a teeming throng of iniquitous, degenerate, self-serving, godless hedonist freaks; but they're also the nicest, kindest, most loving, caring, trusting band of unruly misfits you're ever likely to meet. You may occasionally succeed in
infecting us with your red-faced moral indignation, but I assure you it will always pass and we'll keep going forward, right or wrong, doing whatever it is we do no matter what you do to stop it.

You’re welcome to stay of course, but I fear your perception of this great nation is woefully inaccurate.