The Worship of America

Disclaimer: Controversial Opinions is a series in which I’m essentially thinking out loud. I don’t think every one of my opinions is right, and I’m open to changing my mind when shown a new perspective. If any of this starts feeling like a manifesto, I assure you my intention is just to get my thoughts out and off my chest. You’re welcome to agree or disagree, I’m doing this for myself as much as anything, but I do hope you get something out of reading this.

Even though I think religion itself, particularly Christianity, is to blame for the majority of the world’s problems throughout history, it seems to me that there is a religioun in America that often goes unnoticed: the worship of America itself. Nationalism has become an American religion. Growing up in America, I have always been very disturbed by the way Americans treat this particular country and especially it’s symbols.

As a child I was taught to stand at my desk every morning before school, place my hand over my heart, and recite a cult-like chant in which I pledge allegiance to, of all things, the American flag. Even as a child, I was struck by the Orwellian nature of this, though I didn’t know how to express it at the time. The flag is a symbol of America, but it is so revered that it is treated as a religious object, the same way certain icons are in temples and churches. If you didn’t know, there are a set of rules about what you should and should not do with a flag, which are often taught in places like the Boy Scouts. I don’t know all of them, but I have absorbed a few of them from cultural osmosis, and I do know you are never supposed to let it touch the ground and you are not supposed to wear a flag as clothing, or hang it upside down.

What’s even creepier than the fact that children are expected to essentially recite a prayer each morning to the religious icon of the American flag is the droning uninterested monotone with which an entire school does so. As I stood in class reciting the pledge of allegiance, hundreds of other students did it at the same time within my school, and within my state and country there were millions of children, all droning out the monotonous prayer at once, not really concerned with the meaning of the words. Most first graders don’t really know what the word “indivisible” means, but because we have this chant drilled into our heads from our youngest age, we are psychologically prepared to accept the words of the pledge as gospel truth when we are old enough to understand them. It doesn’t occur to use to question it because we were indoctrinated, just like we were with religion.

Indoctrination occurs everywhere. The most popular video games in America are almost entirely shooting games, specifically war games, and even more specifically a lot of those war games are set directly in the middle east, priming young people, mostly boys, to view killing middle eastern people as sport, not to regard them as human. Is it any wonder then, that non-white people and particularly middle eastern people are treated with such racism in America, or automatically assumed to be terrorists?

The national anthem is equally creepy to me. I know that every country has a national anthem, but the way you are instantly ostracized for refusing to stand for the anthem or refusing to say the pledge is terrifying. I tried on a couple of occasions as a child to abstain from saying the pledge of allegiance (think about that, for a moment, the weight of that: CHILDREN RECITE A PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. That is third world dictator type shit), and I was reprimanded by teachers and given looks of confusion by other students.

There’s also an attitude in America that we are the best country in the world. And I mean that literally. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “America is the greatest country in the world.” But WHY is it great? If you ask most people they’ll give you some platitude about “freedom,” as though we’re the only country in the world with a bill of human rights in our constitution. The vast majority of industrialized countries in the world have the same personal freedoms Americans do, but Americans don’t consider that. As a child, I was told by my mother that in China, no one is allowed to have their own personal property, and people have to stand in line in bathrooms to receive their share of toilet paper. I was told that America is essentially a utopia where people from all over the world come to to escape persecution and share in our freedoms.

That is, of course, bullshit. America ranks incredibly low on a lot of factors that we consider to be marks of a great place to live. We have terrible education scores, we are almost single-handedly destroying the planet, we contain an incredibly small amount of the world’s population and use a larger share of it’s resources than any other country.

The thing that has always confused me about America’s place in the world is HOW it’s allowed to get away with all the things it does. With contributing to climate change, with affecting the environment, with not allowing people to have the same personal freedoms (such as marriage equality or voting equality) that other countries enjoy.

I think about it like this: imagine a house full of people, and this house represents the world, and the people represent countries. If one person in the house is sitting in the corner starting a fire that’s going to spread and burn down the rest of the house, isn’t it the responsibility of all the other people to step in and stop the fire, or stop that person from lighting a fire? Sure, he could say “this is my corner of the house, I’m allowed to do what I like here,” but he shouldn’t have the ability to do something that can endanger the safety of everyone else in the house. So why is America allowed to run rampant and unchecked like a bull in a China shop? Why do all the other countries in the world not sit down and say “Look, America, we can’t let you destroy our planet. Destroy your own country if you want to, but once you’re affecting the rest of us, we have to put a stop to it.” How is America allowed to do what it does?

I know that there is more nuance to all of these things, I do. What I’m doing here is essentially thinking out loud, I’m shouting questions into the void and hoping someone will hear them and consider them. I’ve wanted to do a series about some of my controversial opinions for a while now, and I hope to continue doing these. I know it’s essentially just me ranting, but I like ranting, and I think ranting is useful. My opinions are not set in stone, they’re open to change when new information is presented to me, and I’m open to admitting I’m wrong, but I hope that someone will see the sense in some of what I’m saying.

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Operation Organize Everything: Part 1

I’ve embarked on something I like to call Operation Organize Everything. Basically this is my attempt to pull the MANY scattered notepad documents, sticky note documents, photos, poems, music, and just about everything else together in some organized fashion. I’ve already mostly finished the poetry organization (fun fact: there are currently 102 poems with my name on them, about five of which are small collections of one-liners or just ideas that haven’t yet become full poems), and though I’ve gotten most of my old notes gathered in one place, it’s still going to be a monumental task to go through the several notepads I’ve kept on various phones and devices. My current cell phone has a notes feature with over 300 notes, with everything from song ideas, novel ideas, character ideas, and outright clips of speeches given by characters or outlines for stories, to lyrics, poetry, and journal entries.

Part of what I love about having this blog is that it’s a nice place to keep everything together, all in one spot. I like knowing that if something happened to me tomorrow, there would be some kind of faithful record of my thoughts, actions and ideas. So in that vein, I’m probably going to be posting a few things that are collections of writings I’ve uncovered. Some of them are recent, some of them are a year or more old, I honestly don’t know what everything will be yet. However, I’m going to kick off with this. I can’t say that these posts as part of Operation Organize Everything will be particularly structured or well thought-out, because they’re mostly comprised of snippets from word pad documents and some of them seem to have been pulled from my Facebook feed at one point or another.

Still, it’s nice to have them collected here, so that one day I can look back and know what I was thinking and writing about. It’s important to always question, and if you want to be a writer, it’s important to always write.

On The Premiere of American Horror Story: Hotel

I was very excited for American Horror Story: Hotel. I made it through 40 minutes and I turned the fucking thing off. What a complete disappointment. No substance, no story, no character building, just shit. It was literally just jump scares and shock shock shock. From a man being crucified to a bed along with his dead lover, being fed Viagra so that he’d stay hard inside of her corpse while his eyes and tongue were gouged out, to the fleshy zombie hidden inside a mattress, the gay heroine addict being ass-raped while Sarah Paulson gently whispered for his confession of love, and Lady Gaga having a cocaine-fueled four-way vampire knife slashing blood orgy…. it’s just appalling. This was not only disgusting because of it’s complete lack of anything lacking depth (and the fact that the show is now clearly just a Lady Gaga vehicle, devoting several minutes to showing her from every angle), but the fact that this contained literally ever kind of physical, mental, and emotional RAPE I can imagine, all within the span of an hour, and I didn’t even finish it.

I’m like, literally shaking from the panic attack I had watching this total shit. Not planning on coming back for more. I genuinely loved Asylum and Coven, the characters were portrayed with grace and finesse, but this… this is just a goddamn bloodbath for the sake of being a bloodbath. It’s Ryan Murphy’s talentless, crass stereotype-fueled jump scare fodder all the way.

My Fake Tracklist For A Kylie Minogue Christmas Album

What the tracklist for the Kylie Christmas album SHOULD have been:

1 Can’t Get Jew Outta My Head

2 Better the Jesus You Know

3 Give Me Just A Little More Presents

4 Christmas Light Years

5 Red Hooded Woman (Mrs. Clause)

6 Spinning (The Dradle) Around

7 ‘Twas The Night Before A Night Like This

8 Looking For An Angel (On Top of the Tree)

9 Kiss Me Once (Under the Mistletoe)

10 More More More Chocolate

On The State of American Affairs

Call me a misanthrope, but this country has just completely gone to hell. It’s unsafe to go to school because statistically there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get shot to death, you can’t be in a relationship because if someone gets pregnant or if you WANT to plan a family, all of your options are taken away, if you want to get married the clerks might just refuse to give you service, if you want to buy a goddamn cake you can be turned away at the door. Everywhere you go there are religious people holding signs telling you to go burn in hell, walk into a hospital and there’s an ethical debate about whether or not to treat you, walk outside with skin that isn’t the right color and you’re likely to get shot dead just for EXISTING, and the people who shot you will be portrayed as heroes.

I’m just so done and over it.

On The Pope

I swear to god if I see one more Pope story in my news feed… the man is absolutely NO different than any other hate-mongering, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist before him, he just smiles a lot and has a well-oiled PR machine that puts a spin on him to make him SEEM progressive, but not one OUNCE of change has been made in the Catholic church, and considering he is the one all-knowing vicar of Christ on Earth, he actually has the POWER to, with one word, change the doctrine, stop the violence, hatred, disease, sexual abuse, child rape, and ignorance the Catholic church is spreading throughout the world, but he isn’t BECAUSE HE ISN’T ANY DIFFERENT THAN HIS PREDECESSORS.

When the Vatican returns the treasures they stole, when he truly does something Christians and “sells all he has and gives it to the poor” (someone important in Christianity said that, can’t remember who, mighta been Jesus), and goes out and helps the poor rather than sitting on a golden throne (not an exaggeration by the way), then talk to me about how fucking progressive he is.

Charlatans Battling Other Charlatans

“The medical establishment and big pharma wants to steal your money! They know the cures but they don’t tell you so they can keep you sick! Here, instead of letting them steal your money, buy my three $25 hardback books about the secrets to health, this $60 bottle of essential oils, and all of these supplements for $14 each!”

On Cell Phones

I really hate cell phones. Put them down, people.

I don’t actually care about people having electronic devices. But there’s a difference between being uninterested in what’s happening around you and looking down at a Kindle to read or a video game to play, and holding a phone in front of your face AT ALL TIMES. People go to concerts and spend the entire time RECORDING the concert that they’re MISSING. They go to amusement parks and plays and movies and spend the whole time taking pictures of themselves there instead of experiencing it. No one poses for a picture while a nice stranger or the uncle holds the camera and says “Say cheese everyone!” Now it’s possible to document your every moment, to such a degree that you no longer need to EXPERIENCE those moments.

I never thought I’d be the one to say this, having been raised by television, Gameboy, and Playstation screens, but people need to look up at the world around them. These devices need to be used to ENHANCE the experience of life, not replace it.

An Orientation-Flipped Version of Anti-Gay Arguments

I know, it isn’t politically correct,but I’m just going to speak my mind.

Heterosexuals.

Now, I’m personally not heterophobic, but I just wish they’d keep their lifestyle to themselves. I don’t want to have that straight lifestyle flaunted at me when I’m out just minding my business, trying to shop for groceries or eat a meal. I mean, what if my KIDS see that? What are they going to think? What are me and my husband supposed to say when our daughter comes home and says that there’s a boy in her class who likes GIRLS? No parent should have to have that kind of conversation with their children.

What a straight person chooses to do in the privacy of their own bedroom, behind a closed door, with the lights out and a flashing caution sign hung on the front door, is their business. Well, mostly. For some reason I really can’t seem to stop thinking about it, and talking about it, but like I said it’s their business. How am I supposed to continue being who I am, and married to my beautiful husband, knowing that there are men out there who just think it’s okay to marry women??

Personally, I don’t think the framers of our constitution ever intended for heterosexual marriage to be an issue that would ever be discussed. Our nation’s founders would be apalled to see the straight “pride” parades taking place across our nation, to see men and women kissing one another on television, or to hear music on the radio about “acceptance” of that lifestyle. It’s sick, it’s wrong, and I don’t care if it offends someone, I have the right to speak my mind. If straight people would just try hard enough, they could turn away from their lifestyle and be normal, homosexual men and women, like everyone else. But no, we’re supposed to be “tolerant,” well I won’t be.

And I don’t care if anyone likes it.

On Roadkill

So guys, tell me if you think this makes me weird. I live in the South, and I know that there’s roadkill everywhere you go but I feel like there’s gotta be a significantly higher amount in rural/forested areas like the one I live in. Whenever I see a dead possum, squirell, or other animal laying in the road or on the side of the road, I really, really seriously think about bringing along some gloves, trash bags, and a shovel, pulling my truck over, and finding a place in the woods to bury them.

A long time ago back in Georgia there was a dead cat in the road, and this thought occurred to me that someone should bury that animal, give it some dignity. The fact that it’s a CAT means that ultimately someone probably will, but a possum? No, they’re just left to die on the side of the road because they aren’t one of our domesticated animals. But when I DIDN’T bury that cat, I drove by every day and watched it’s little body get smashed further into the pavement by cars running it over, and ever since then, I can’t help but think, if I were a possum and I died tragically because some stupid humans decided to pave over my natural habitat and hit me with one of their gassed-up death machines, I would want someone to return my body to the earth, or at least to a place where scavengers can come and feed on me, not lay there in the middle of the road to be run over again and again.

I’m totally willing to be the creepy guy in the neighborhood who buries dead roadkill. Does this make me weird or what?