Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am a white male who was born in America and has lived his whole life in America.

I don’t know what it is like to truly struggle, except through all the predicaments I put myself in. I don’t have much money right now, but my girlfriend gets paid on Wednesday and I on Thursday. We have food; we will be able to buy more.

I suppose we are lower class, but we are not poor. We are in debt, but I think that is part of what it is to be American. We have a lot of stuff. What little we make in comparison to some of our peers is a lot more than most people in the third world. I will joke that I will need to sell some of my stuff to make ends meet. I will not follow through with it. I’ll wait three days, and I’ll have money again.

I wonder how America would have turned out if it was still under British rule. I wonder if we would communicate better, if we would be more sedate, if we would talk quieter. America is full of boastful, loud talkers. It is American to stand on a soap box. It is American to either argue loudly or to passively hate people. We’re free to argue loudly. We are free to hate.

I am free to walk around a city after dark, with or without ID, although it’s not a very smart thing to do. Someone might mug me, or kill me. There will be police to follow through. They will be on my side. I take this for granted because I’ve been to no other place in the world. I want to go, but I can’t afford to. Elsewhere, people will want to get out of poverty, to have electricity, to have toilets. They will not be able to afford to. They’re not sure what it means to afford to.

I am not a Christian, and this is not a Christian nation. This is a nation full of Christians. People will try to argue with me that it is a religious nation, and I suppose they are right. We also have many Muslims and a smattering of other religions, the lack of having one being a minority. We are full of contradictions and oxymorons. But we are free to be different, and once more, we are free to argue loudly.

It is Independence Day. Am I supposed to be proud to be American? I’m not proud, though. I am happy I live here. It was very lucky. I had a good life handed to me. To unquestionably raise a flag or to wear red, white, and blue today is not a patriotic thing to do; it is a nationalist thing to do and many will do it. I will do whatever I want today, and I will appreciate it. I may sit inside all day, and it’s my right to do so. In America, I can participate, or not.

Image by Markus Krueger