Today I am deeply and profoundly ashamed to be an American

I said that I would try to make only four blog posts in June.

Then, I pretty much decided what four things I would talk about.

Then, I realized I felt I just needed to write this post after, let’s say, a certain piece of news.

(This really seems like the sort of thing I thought about all the time that led to my excessive posting the past few months, but maybe I’ll allow this to take up the slots of one of my four June posts. This one counts instead of slipping aside!)

The title of this post holds without the word ‘Today’, of course. I haven’t really been extensively not ashamed of being American for probably since I, let’s say…first read a history book. I have been especially ashamed of America recently for reasons I’m sure you have at least a hint for if you’re bothering to read this post. But I am now ashamed to an acute and staggering degree that I am a citizen of this country that decided to leave the Paris climate accord, an event that truly makes the selfish narcissism and pretense of exceptionalism of the land of the free and the home of the brave sparkle like a gem. Specifically a diamond, I’d even say, as there’s no better gemstone that symbolizes an insatiable pursuit of money at the cost of the world or even the advertised efficiencies of capitalism than the diamond.

This event rings a bell. What bell is it? Ah, yes, the Kyoto Protocol, volume 1 of America farting in the global elevator and then leaving to let everyone else smell it. We haven’t improved, have we?

Not actually. We improved. We did originally sign the Paris agreement after all. We, America, are historically a country of claiming a lot of grandiose and awesome-sounding principles, then hypocritically defeating them in entirety in implementation, and then eventually realizing that we kinda failed very badly at our principles, but yes, improving. We went through this phase with slavery, we went through this phase with discrimination against pretty much every new wave of immigration that happened, and we went through this phase with “gee, how okay is it to just kill all these people that originally lived on this land?” Then we slowly improved, realizing the egregiousness of the previous actions this country has taken and slowly building acknowledgment of our faults in the past, though there are always some stragglers to this.

Anyway, yeah, we improved and signed the Paris agreement under the Obama administration. Then, we started walking backwards again and backed out, because supposedly it’s better for America and it’s making America great again. Because, of course, America is a country of thermophilic entomophilic pollen-hypertolerant fish.

Of course, perhaps America hungers for the oceans to expand because the oceans gave us power. In World War II, we, America, were the country lucky enough to be separated from the bulk of action by the mighty waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific, and thus came out of the war fabulously undevastated and a world superpower. We interpreted our luck as a sign that we were the supremely righteous as the Good Guys that Won, and thus took it upon ourselves to apply our unquestionable justice all around the world, where everyone surely loves us, from Grenada to Iraq to Afghanistan to Vietnam. It was an amazing process of supporting anyone that vowed against communism regardless of what else they did; we helped all sorts of people from Yahya Khan to Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden to Muammar Gadhafi come to power, because they hated communists and that made them good guys. Fascinating, if they’re good guys, what does that make us?

And because of the power of our whims, the rest of the world has to be so polite towards us. Lookie here, where French president Emmanuel Macron speaks to America with far greater respect for English ‘r’s than the vast majority of Americans have for French ‘r’s. Oh, Macron, you’re far too generous, do you realize the number and nature of the jokes Americans crack about the country without whose aid we would not exist?

I can see you wish to be courteous with saying you respect Trump’s decision with regards to the accords, but this decision really…can’t expect that. We, America, are ruining the world. We have ruined the world. We are continuing to ruin the world. We are accelerating our ruining of the world.

And I really don’t like the common standard of apologizing for things that aren’t one’s fault, as it detracts from the meaning of the apology (and I’m pretty sure I have nowhere near the power to have responsibility for the current state of American politics), but to the rest of the world: I am so, so sorry. I am a citizen of a nation that has truly done terrible things to you and you very greatly did not deserve it.

Please don’t consider the USA a role model for democracy. Or at least, just consider our constitution! The great, groundbreaking ideas were written there, not used in practice. Please look towards a nation like Sverige (called “Sweden” in the language here that is inconsiderate enough* to call countries names containing sounds not even in their language) as a better implementer of a good democracy in practice, a country with actual respect for the various nations of the world, working towards bringing peace and justice among people, helping the previously oppressed make their way forward, passing on the torch of knowledge, helping preserve the planet for tomorrow. They are what we can only wish we can be. As for now, I can only be sorry that I am an American. May enough of us see the need to make our home actually livable, like you can.

*I should probably make a disclaimer here that I mean this relatively lightly, and that Sverige has a share in this sort of naming with its neighbor to the east, with ‘Finland’ for Suomi (which English also borrowed). But I do consider it rather questionable that languages have given other countries names unpronounceable in their native tongues when there is a clearly closer and still phonetically sound name available.


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