I understand that people believe what they are saying when they say something is “un-American.” But, after a long life, I have come to wonder, what exactly is “American”and what exactly is “un-American.”
Surely, I cannot be the only one who, besides being upset at the current state of democracy, is tired of hearing the expression “this is not the American way,” or “this is un-American,” or this is “not what Americans do.” Or whatever version of this notion comes out of the mouths of the talking heads, the political class, or whomever. “This is not what this country is about.” Maybe in some time and space when we weren’t massacring our indigenous peoples, or denying women the right to vote, or lynching black people, or invading innocent countries, or bashing gay heads in, maybe then we weren’t “about” this and that sentiment might have held some small measure of truth for me. But to hear someone say it now – when at least half the country’s adult population is in the thrall of an obviously lying, hate-filled, calculating sociopath – makes me a little angry. Okay, a lot angry. This is us folks. This sociopathic hate-filled narcissist Trump represents the “American way” in flagrante delicto. I may not like to hear this, you may not like to hear this, but this is who we are. We have to face it. And the sooner we realize that whatever this mythic “American way” is – it is a load of shit. And never more obviously as huge a load of shit than now.
I suppose we all would like to think of ourselves as a beacon for the world. The great democracy. The cradle of liberty. All that good stuff. But, in light of the many ugly events throughout our history I wonder what this “American” ideal is that we are so fond of reminding ourselves of. Early on we used the Doctrine of Discovery as the basis of the federal government’s dominion over land once controlled by Native Americans – which is to say, the entirety of the United States of America. The nascence of our “American Way.”
Shortly after that the Klan burned their hate for all to see…well, I guess that too was the “American way.” Matthew Shepard, a gay man who spent the last conscious hours of his life tied to a fence on a freezing Wyoming night…was that also the “American way”? Martin Luther King, who conducted non-violent protests to promote civil rights was gunned down. Again, American…American! Somewhere very early on this ideal, this “American way” we’re so fond of referencing slipped out the window while hate and violence, and lying, boldly skipped in through the front door without wiping its feet, and in doing so tracked its filth and mud throughout every room in the People’s House. A house that needed a good cleaning anyway then. And now made even dirtier by an election of a monster to our house.
Now, we have witnessed more and more ugly events ever since this monster got itself elected. Nazis marching in Charlottesville…this is America. Holocaust survivors gunned down in a Squirrel Hill Pa synagogue…this is America. In Detroit, a white ex-firefighter blasting away at a black teen with a shotgun. A teenager who knocked on his door and asked for directions…that’s right…America. The bigot who randomly attacked two gay men in Williamsburg – hurling a slur at them and then knocking them unconscious…this is our America. These, and the reports of swastikas at schools, racist taunts, and other hate-fueled attacks and acts of intimidation and so many more examples. This is not “un-American. No, sad to say, this is the”American way.”
Let us not give in to the fantasy that “un-American” is something aberrant when in fact these terrible things are the everyday normal. The real “American Way” is far from something noble and good. A quaint idea but…Tell that fantasy to the Cherokee. To the Cheyenne. To the families in Flint. To the immigrant children torn from their parents arms on our border. To the Native Americans in North Dakota now being denied by the court their right to vote. Or the people in Dodge City. A judge denied these citizens of Dodge City a new polling place so they could vote without having to travel miles to do so – even though their local polling place was closed because of a proven bald-faced lie regarding some imaginary construction. This is American justice. This is the “American Way.” Get used to it. Or not.
Or change it. Help to make it finally mean what it is meant to mean.
Vote as if your life depends on it! It does.
© tony powers and Barking in the Dark, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to tony powers and Barking in the Dark, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
I don’t know whether to classify this post as very American or very un-American. Flip a coin. Either way, it’s accurate.
a very astute observation…thanks LP. continue…
Tony, since the imbecile that is in the White House, I avoid most TV news, whether it is local and or national, as I just can’t get me head around the bullshit that the asshole says, and the talking heads let the asshole get away with it. It seems like the don’t give a fuck, or they are told not to say anything. If they do, then they know the would be soon, pounding the bricks.
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i feel you Don…thanks. unfortunately, i am hooked on this historic tragedy. let us hope it does not continue…
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I do read on what is going with the asshole, and what he says and does. Also, read informative sites, that don’t mince words, and then there is you. I immensely enjoy what you write, as you leave no stone unturned. Besides, like me, your a fellow Aquarian.
what a wonderful compliment Don! thank you so very much – it would take a fellow Aquarian….I need to be reminded every now and then that sometimes the “Bark” isn’t enveloped completely by the “Dark.” keep fighting the good fight. continue…
Tony, you know I agree with you one hundred per cent.
I’m too depressed and anxious to write about politics much anymore, but I tried a few times. I’ll include a link (or at least a copy/paste of the address) to something I wrote a while back at Medium, where I’ve been hanging out instead of WordPress. (They pay acording to engagement, and so far, it’s enough for me to keep my cat.)
I kinda wish you’d post “The American Way” over there so I can clap for it. I’d give it the full fifty on the scale. Anyway, it spoke to me.
View at Medium.com
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Hi Rey, thanks for the read – and for your unfailing common sense. i am trying to enroll in Medium but it will not access the Paypal site and i am loathe to enter my card number onto the enrollment page. How did you enroll onto medium? Because i’d really like to get my 2 cents in on that site. lemmee know. continue…
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I have a really nice friend on the site who’s doing well and wants to pay it forward, so she sent me the money to get a year’s subscription so I can read anything on the site and help people get paid with my “claps.”
I haven’t had any problems with using my debit card on Medium, but after the fee goes through, I do go back to my settings and remove the card number so there won’t be any of those stupid automatic payments. (I hate the whole idea of automatic payments!) I’m sure you could just remove your card number for month to month payments, too. But I don’t have a real credit card, so I don’t know if it works differently for those, what with the monthly statements and all.
Technically, you don’t need a subscription to write on Medium. You can lock (get paid for) any post you write just by setting it that way on the editing page. It’s just that it’s hard to engage if you can only read three locked stories a month for free. But since writers deserve to be paid for their work, it’s not really so bad a set up.
I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you give it a try. Let me know if you do, so I can follow you.
thanks Re, i’ve emailed Medium to ask why their Paypal won’t link up and if that doesn’t fix it i will use my debit card to subscribe. but when u write; “you don’t need a subscription to write on Medium” i don’t understand how i can post this particular piece – and a lot of others – without being a subscriber (which i don’t mind doing) but how can one post before subscribing? thanks Re and…continue…
It’s been so long since I signed up, I went back to make sure it hadn’t changed. 🙂
Here’s the link to the page that spells it all out:
Re, thanks…as i just wrote i figured it out using my tiny mind and your clues. this piece is posted on Medium…i wonder tho if you can tell me how you and the others on Medium get to see it…is there anything further i need to do in order that the piece gets viewed? thanks again, tony. continue…
P.S. Actually, i posted this on Medium just now because of how you said i could. so thanks again Re. xo continue…
Re, i have now posted 2 pieces…i wonder if you (or anyone on Medium) are/is able to find them though. will you kindly let me know. thanx and continue…
Yay, Tony! I saw your first piece and gave it the full fifty claps as I said I would. 🙂 Some, I hope, helpful thoughts for a newbie:
When you clap for someone’s story, the algorithm pushes it a little further into the feeds of folks who follow you. So, when I clap for you, folks who follow me will have a better chance of seeing it. If I clap a lot, and also if a lot of people reply to a story, the algorithm is supposed to register that too, and push your story a little farther out into the crowd.
You also get to choose five tags for Medium to use to catagorize your story within the site. (You probably did this right before you published.) So with your story under their politics heading, people searching that heading may find you, and so on. You’ll also want to seek out some like-minded political writers and follow them. They just might follow you back. Off the top of my head, I’d suggest Steven Rouach. He writes a lot of political satire.
Later on, after you’re comfortable with all the bells and whistles, Medium-based publications (who have higher follower counts than most writers do on their own) would be good places to send drafts. Pubs like “Extra Newsfeed” publish a lot of political satire. You’ll want to read their submission rules and send them drafts of pieces they may like.
I think stuff on Medium is automatically copyrighted to the writer, but a simple copyright sentence at the end of a story may suffice if you want to make sure.
You’ll want to make sure your photos and illustrations are free to use and then attribute them to the artists. (This is more important if you want to make money, because it’s one of the rules.)
Medium’s main fault is how slow they are to stabilize their site across platforms/devices. If you’re in a browser on a laptop or tablet, I find it best to make sure you’ve got a desktop window and not a mobile one, so you can access as many of the features as possible.
And last, although some Medium writers are stubborn about the dreaded like/clap button and refuse to keep hitting it (or find the sweet spot where it advances while they hold it), remember that a one digit clap feels like giving the waiter pennies for a tip. I personally reserve single digits for short responses people write to me. Not everything deserves 50 claps, but, techically 20 to 30 is the middle. (I mention this so people will be more apt to follow you after you respond to their work.)
I hope this wasn’t too much, but that’s what you get when you ask me for tips. 🙂 Now I’m off to see your second post over there.
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Re, oh…hmm…i didn’t realize i need to “clap” more than once – will rectify this immediately – and thanks for the “Extra Newsfeed” and Steven Rouach tips…i appreciate the kindness. xo continue…
and thanks for your highlight and for showing me that i can highlight something that strikes me in a piece. continue…
Re, does a locked story mean one has to be a paid member to read them? and what is the requirement for one to get paid for one’s story? how is who gets paid decided? it’s confusing to me. thanks, tony continue…
Sorry for the delay, Tony. I didn’t notice your last comment response in my email until just now.
Yes, buying the membership, or subscription, is what makes all the stories on Medium available to read. Until you get one, you can only read three “unlocked” stories a month. You can tell the locked ones by the little black star to the right of the story’s date and estimated read time. Stories with no star are free to read.
Since last week, people signing up to the Partnership Program to get paid, have to give info for tax purposes. After that, you can lock whatever you want. When formatting a story, there’s a prompt at the top of the editor that tells you your story isn’t eligible to make money. Click it and it’ll give you the option to get paid and a button to save it that way. You can go back into the editor at any time to make it free again. You have complete control over that.
Email me any time, if you have more questions. I’ll try to help. I don’t remember which gmail address you have for me, but I can leave this one here: It’s my public one. (You could also hide this reply so no one can see it but you. 🙂 )
Thanks for reading my stuff. It’s great to see you on Medium! I hope it works out well for you.
thanks for the info Re sweetheart, i will now try to “hide” this. you keep writing, i’ll keep reading. continue…
Re, i deleted your email addy. thanx again. continue…
and a heart to you too. continue…
You just said what’s been on my mind from day one. Every time I hear TV folks mention ” this is not who we are “, I cringe.
i am so glad to hear that other such as yourself feel this, know this. thanx RK. continue…