American identity

2008 09 15

The middle-American identity has, for the past several decades, been driven by a fabricated image of the nation itself. In this view, America’s great attributes--her strength, benevolence, commitment to freedom, etc.--are not derived from other more fundamental principles, but rather held as axiomatic.

The amount of historical introspection and self-criticism encouraged in schools is anemic to the point of non-existence. Even what little is there is attacked mercilessly by a vocal nationalist contingent as ‘anti-American’. So, we have a general population in which a large number of individuals have their personal and national identity inextricably tied to a particular American mythos.

The radical right wing which currently runs the executive has tapped this mythos and bound themselves to it. A wholesale rejection of that ideology is now equivalent, implicitly, to a rejection of American cultural and historical identity. And, consequently, kicking the current administration out would require acknowledging the gross magnitude and extent of the mistake the American population has made, acknowledging the fact that the American national mythos is built on much the same substance as was the late book-value of so many American houses: some kernel of real stuff, and a large chunk of inflated, imaginary bullshit.