For the past two decades come Fourth of July I was always the happy hedonistic warrior you have come to love, or loath, celebrating all the great things about the United States. Now I always had the suspicion that many people out there thought I was being sarcastic with some of what I celebrated. I am sure my genuine love for something as American as “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was treated as mocking by many of my left leaning friends. I would often get comments about how they could never tell when I am being serious or where I really stand. What they and far too many others don’t get is that it is the “Murica” part of the United States that has made this country so fucking awesome!
I spent most of my first two decades as your basic privileged, white male, nerd who also happened to play sports because this is America and you can be both a nerd and a jock at the same time. Growing up in the 90’s suburbs I developed the left of center, let's take care of the great unwashed masses, let them eat cake type of liberalism in high school. In college, while still identifying as a “liberal” I moved right of center while watching how the left was being pulled further left by radicals.
I was somehow elected to my dorm government as a floor representative in the beginning of my sophomore year despite not actually living on the floor when the election was held. Still not sure how that happened. I became known as the budget hawk and one day the dorm VP came to me and asked that I be sure to be at the meeting that night because the black caucus was asking for a lot of money for some trip and they needed someone to cut it. I showed up and to find the entire executive board had decided to publicly support the funds out of fear of looking racist if they didn’t. They actually expected me to fight it without any support. So myself and the people who always voted with me, seriously not sure how that happened either, abstained. We then gave the rest of the semester’s funding to some frat guys for something because fuck ‘em. This was an early, at least in my experience, example of how fear of being labeled racist would cause people to capitulate.
I kept my right of center attitudes for a couple of more years until life wasn’t turning out the way I thought it would and clearly it was the fault of the American system.
Obviously the reason people were listening to Britney Spears, 98 Degrees and Dave Mathews instead of Dream Theater and Rush was because of the evils of capitalism. It couldn’t possibly be that well produced music and scientifically proven hooks were the reason people listened to this style of music and not the kind of music my friends and I were putting out. We would have been stars if not for capitalism. Clearly socialism was the answer because socialism is all about freedom from the collective thought of masses.
It was right around this time when I had a life altering experience that sadly too many out there cannot get. I started dating a girl from Denmark who was an exchange student. I went to spend the next fall in Denmark. This was a very fortuitous moment in the life of Nero. Despite all the warnings from the other Danes who told me repeatedly how much I would hate the Danish system I was looking forward to a break from the freedom bludgeoning American system.
To make this long story short the first thing my ex-girlfriend’s dad said to me when we met was “I am sorry as an American you have to witness this country. We are the last communist country in Europe”. I quickly realized how fucking good we have in the United States. In Denmark there were harsh restrictions on when businesses could operate, those with bigger market share were forced to close earlier than those with smaller etc. Everything was decided by the state as to how you lived. Sure they had taxpayer funded college but it was decided by the time you were 13 if you went to college and the majors were allocated based on what the state assumed they would need people educated in. So no the taxpayers are not going to fund your Comparative Eskimo Poetry degree.
I recall seeing what passed for million dollar homes in Denmark and laughing. They were the equivalent of middle class starter homes in the US. These were the millionaires my ex kept talking about? In September the health system had run out of money for surgeries so I asked what if someone can pay out of pocket. The answer was “well that wouldn’t be fair to those who can’t”. What kind of fucking nonsense is this? The world isn’t supposed to be fair. I really could go on like this but that isn’t the point of this piece.
The point of this piece is that the beauty of America is that you are allowed, at least for now, to live as you see fit regardless of what the Karens think. When I went to Denmark I hated the excess I grew up around by the time I came back I loved it. Not because I wanted to partake in it but because being in a country that allows wild excesses like McMansions is what allows me to live the life I want.
I truly love what this nation is and what it stands for because it is the kind of place where people are free to live as they see fit. If they want to be completely awful and go all “conscious vegan” pissing off everyone they meet they can. If they want to only eat at Flavortown approved restaurants and develop diabetes at 35 they can. It’s the freedom of choice that made this country work for 200 plus years. The only thing that can bring it down is trying to tell others how to live.
So this weekend I implore you to go out. Have a few drinks. If you want to wear a fucking mask wear a fucking mask but don’t yell at someone who isn’t wearing a fucking mask. Embrace that we live in a society where people are allowed to have differing values. Sure you may not like the values that others have but they aren’t your values so who cares. If we don’t accept that people are different in how they think and that it is perfectly okay for them to think differently this nation will cease to exist. Many on the left would sadly celebrate that but in the end they would miss this great nation because…..