“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask not what you can do cause you’ve probably already done it your country thanks you very much. Ask nothing, and if you’re lucky you shall receive nothing worse than nothing.”
Well, why NOT ask what my country can do for me? Why not ask simply, what’s in it for me?
What has America done for me lately, that big plot of land shared by 280,000,000 head trips, some minute percentage of which are somewhat similar to my own in some small way, but otherwise born to be programmed, propagandized, brain-washed about how god wanted us: manifest by god and destined by god to take god’s country and everything in it, and every one, and do with them what we will?
Maybe I’d fight for the old neighborhood where I grew up. Or maybe I’d die to protect the ‘hood. But even NYC is too big and complex — 8,000,000 head trips. Might as well be 280,000,000 or 280 for all that “united we stand” bullshit.
How many people do I really stand united with? How many is it possible to stand united with? Certainly not 280,000,000. Only thing I have in common with most of them is I want to be left the hell alone. But that is the one impossibility in America, unless you happen to be very, very rich and connected to the kind of wealth that is not to be fucked with. The kind of wealth that frightens even government to stay at least 100 feet away at all times, to look at you with awe and defer to your superior collection of whatever stuff it is of value (another fiction) that you possess in obscene abundance – paper, metal, electronic pulses of on and off, one and zero.
“Stay away, I’m a wealthy man. Just stay away. Don’t begrudge me my freedom.”
Now there’s a word you don’t hear everyday. “Freedom.” You can’t possibly hear it, it’s repeated so often it’s part of the aural atmosphere. Freedom in the air, choking us like smog. Who needs this kind of “freedom” anyway, this gift to us from Uncle Sam for being such good children?
“Really you’re lucky you weren’t born in China or Somalia or some place REALLY bad…”
But am I? I mean, “Who says?”
We should be grateful that government officials, elected or selected, don’t kill us or torture us or throw us away like garbage? Grateful that they’re not – at least to white people – as vicious as some others (whom they nonetheless support with guns and butter)? Well then, my wife and kids should be grateful I don’t beat them half as badly or as often as my neighbor next door beats his.
Freedom to work for a corporation, to be locked in a cubicle in the labyrinth of the great office on the thirty-somethingth floor. Working away at nothing particularly important, but it’s the only way to get health insurance, and possibly money enough to live in your “own” apartment, if you’re single, or share a decent apartment with your spouse and kids, provided they bring in money (these damn spoiled kids! in the good old days before child labor laws, kids were worth something, whether you were a farmer sending them to the fields or a shopkeeper making them sweep up or a factory worker begging The Big Boss hire your kids “oh PLEASE, master! they’re all at least ten years old, the eldest almost thirteen.”)
Went to the National Institute of Health (NIH) to become a guinea pig but thought to myself, “There’s no national aspirin, there’s no national penicillin, there’s no national out patient clinic, hospital or anything else that might let people benefit from experiments done on yours truly.”
So where is all this research data going? Who’s benefiting from this NIH? I don’t have to tell you to go to your Duane Read or Walgreen’s or other National pharmacy chain to figure that out.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand: what has “my” country done for me lately?
Besides waste my most impressionable years drumming lies into my head?
Besides terrify me with tales of nuclear menace and drudgery and breadlines and having to share apartments with strangers (!!!) and other horrors from them Commie Soviets who no longer exist, allegedly, because my tax money afforded Uncle Sam more missiles than “Collective Ownership” provided Uncle Misha?
Besides perpetual war for perpetual fleece, the mayhem and suffering that I am perpetually funding, thereby making me perpetually complicit to murder?
Besides making me “grateful” I was born with white skin and therefore not a congenital enemy of the state?
Besides making me an enemy of EVERYONE ELSE not lucky enough to have been born on this great chunk of stolen property?
Besides spending an incredible on $400,000,000,000 of peoples’ tax money on its war machine, and a fraction of that on feeding, clothing, housing educating and tending to the health of its citizens?
Besides being nothing but a legal fiction, created on and held together
by a piece of paper, yet demanding that I love it and its corporations, which are not “which’s” but “who’s” and far more important than its people, for corporations are immortal and richer than god, who may not bless America, but certainly blesses Raytheon and Boeing?
Besides being nothing but a MERE fiction and demanding that I love it, not a LEGAL fiction, because it broke nearly every law written on the piece of paper that allegedly provided its life, its “constitution?”
Besides allowing me to follow the advice of a friend and take “Unemployment” when I was unemployed (“Hell, they took it from your paycheck these past fifteen years, it’s your money,” he said), and forcing me to undergo the humiliation of not serving a corporation, at least not the one that downsized me, and then…and then…double-dip TAXING me on these measly “benefits.”
Besides telling lies, lies, lies everywhere and always, from the lie that it is anything more than a fiction (and not even a legal one) to the lie that it values me as a customer; therefore, I should love it.
I know, I know: “America, love it or leave it!” Well I’ll leave it soon enough, Jackson, and YOU can pay the bill. I hope my corpse gives you the plague.
ADAM ENGEL can be reached at Bartleby.firstname.lastname@example.org