America is a nation that loves its fairytales and folklore, not just the legends that we teach to our children as if they were scientific fact, but the stories we tell ourselves that make up the very fabric of our day-to-day lives. The fables baked into our sacred holidays and tightly woven into our collective consciousness as a self-ordained master state, the indispensable nation, the greatest country on earth.
There’s the first Thanksgiving when desperate pilgrims seeking shelter and tolerance in the New World graciously broke bread with their new native neighbors.
There’s the glorious gunpowder miracle of the American Revolution when our sage-like Founding Fathers threw off the king’s shackles and magically invented democracy out of thin air.
Then there’s the Second World War when the Greatest Generation saved the planet single-handedly from the scourge of Hitler and his undefeated Nazi stormtroopers.
And of course, there’s the time that Ronald Reagan saved the world from the evils of communism by defeating the Soviet Empire in the name of freedom, capitalism and apple pie.
We tell ourselves these stories so often that they’ve become almost second nature, forming a sort of national identity so existential to our very sense of self that even in the most heated of partisan political debates, the argument is never about the accuracy of these stories but rather which side lays claim to their tainted legacy.
But these kinds of nationalist fairytales and folklore are really little more than a nostalgic and downright mystical variety of propaganda and, like most propaganda, they bear very little resemblance to the ugly truths that they were designed to obscure. Uncoincidentally, this kind of jingoistic zealotry has also made Americans downright allergic to these very same ugly truths. But here they are.
The truth about our buckle-loving pilgrim ancestors is that they were really little more than a puritanical death squad sent over in the Mayflower by King James to ethnically cleanse the native Wampanoag Nation of Turtle Island and prepare its scorched territory for use as slave plantations. Thanksgiving was invented by the nation these butchers built on the unmarked graves of the innocent during the Civil War and were then revived to its current folksy format during the Great Depression, on both occasions in order to galvanize a splintering empire beneath the authority of a single flag.
The truth about the American Revolution is that our Founding Fathers were wealthy oligarchs who hijacked this popular uprising and turned it into a glorified mutiny against a crown that they feared would threaten their ill-gotten wealth with its growing disenchantment with the slave trade and its intentions to limit the powers of these greedy colonists by granting rival Indian nations increased sovereignty. The very same Indian nations that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson plagiarized with their invention of democracy in a document suspiciously similar to the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy which they would later destroy to make room for more plantations.
The truth about the Second World War is that America spent most of that battle aiding their old frenemies in the English Empire by helping them safeguard their own racist colonies in the third world while Nazi Germany depleted its resources slaughtering over 30 million Russians in a genocide that Churchill gleefully encouraged. The US only opened up the Western Front at Normandy after it had become frighteningly clear that Stalin had Hitler on the run and was about to steal our spoils across war-torn Europe.
As for Reagan’s Cold War victory, while America may have hastened the Soviet Union’s collapse with our creation of Islamic terrorism on their borders, the Cold War only officially ended after our rival indispensable master state collapsed beneath the weight of its own vast rusted military hegemony and the increasingly hollow fairytales and folklore that they used to justify its existence to a populace that had grown too desperate to believe them anymore. The abyss stared back and Reagan saw victory in the mirror.
America’s almost amniotic attachment to these lies that our government proliferates like bombs is made doubly tragic and strange when you dig a little deeper into our blood-spattered history and discover not only how deranged the true stories are but how many truly inspiring American stories there are lying just beneath the surface that simply never get told.
Like the colonial uprising known as Bacon’s Rebellion, when, in spite of the genocidal intentions of Nathaniel Bacon, European indentured servants and African slaves joined forces to liberate themselves from the King’s despotic tobacco plantations and gain sovereignty over the soil they toiled on, burning Jamestown to the ground in the process and scaring the Crown into inventing the white race just to divide the pissed off poor people of this country against themselves.
Or the creation of the Seminole Nation by a renegade coalition of escaped slaves and Indian refugees who tamed the wilds of Florida to form the original stop on the underground railroad, much to the horror of plantation barons like Andrew Jackson. The American government attacked this rebel swamp republic in their first foreign intervention only to get their newly white asses whooped through the Everglades for nearly fifty goddamn years without the poly-colored savages giving them an inch of free soil without taking a mile of pink flesh.
Then there’s the GI Movement, a motley crew of long-haired, dope-smoking, antiwar, active-duty soldiers who forced their imperial masters to end the genocidal war on the people of Vietnam by threatening to wrestle control of our nation’s sacred armed forces from them. During the late 60s and early 70s these rebel Ronin launched a rabid campaign of mutinies and officer fraggings that struck terror directly into the dark heart of the Pentagon itself and convinced the brass to pull the troops before they could join the Vietcong they were sent to kill in firing in Washington’s general direction.
And of course, there’s Timothy Leary’s Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a rag-tag religion turned cartel of burnout surfers and ex-bikers who built America’s greatest pot smuggling ring all so they could finance their messianic mission to turn the whole country onto the revolutionary power of LSD and forge world peace by encouraging an entire generation to tune in and drop out.
This is America’s other history. The history beneath the folklore. The history of the other America, my America, our America, the outlaw America. You see, dearest motherfuckers, I’ll tell you a dirty little secret if you promise to spread it around, in spite of all my unpatriotic histrionic fire-breathing, I actually love this fucking country. I just hate the government that occupies it. America has always been a wild wide-open space, too vast for any one tribe to rule, so when our Founding Fathers forged an empire to do just that they inadvertently created a nation full of blind spots where a wide variety of tiny outlaw utopias could bloom out of sight from government eyes.
Polygamist compounds, mutual aid societies, proto-feminist brothels, new age movements, nudist colonies, hippie communes, outlaw biker gangs, gay cowboys, swinger’s clubs, opium dens, Anabaptist farms, Black nationalists, temporary autonomous zones, red light districts, Afrocentric temples, hobo villages, and black markets. This is the America I love. The decentralized collage of tribal freak nations that gave us free love, cryptocurrency, civilian militias, punk rock, internet porn, gangsta rap, and blotter paper LSD. I love this country because I’m an unpatriotic histrionic fire-breather, and it’s because I love this wild wide-open country that I hate the government that tries to control it.
What truly makes America great, what defines America’s glorious outlaw culture is in direct opposition to everything that defines the American government and the toxic mythology it relies on to justify its very existence. Overthrowing this government, the one that jails, murders, censors, and assimilates the freaks that make this country great, is the most American thing you can do. If you truly love America as I do, you’ll tear it down. And the best way to do this, the least violent way to do this, is the way our American heroes from the escaped slaves to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love did it. By turning on, tuning in, and dropping out.
Secede from this nation with fully autonomous communities that are completely unreliant on its largesse. Expand the grey market by creating a counter-economy that includes everything from pot to furniture and bleeds the government dry by denying it the pilfered tax revenue it relies on to bomb poor people and build prisons. We do all of this without firing a shot, but the moment the government tries to coerce us back under their dominion, we stand up and fight like Seminoles. With any luck, our derelict empire will go the way of their old Soviet adversaries and collapse before it comes to this because that’s what governments too big for their nations do. However, we must be ready to defend this great outlaw nation of a thousand flags from all enemies, foreign and domestic, by any means necessary. But first things first, we have to break the spell of American folklore and wake the fuck up to live this wild American dream. No more fairytales of pilgrims and master states. No more worshiping power and voting for sociopaths.
Maybe this all sounds a little crazy, like the rantings of a star-crossed, dreamy-eyed, freakazoid. But what do you expect, dearest motherfuckers? I’m a fucking American.