Friday, December 19, 2003

This is my United States of Whatever

This entry should be longer than it will be, but to quote a song, "Whatevah!"

There is a person I work with who asks me on a semi-regular basis (more or less as a joke) "So, P@, what have you done for your country today?"

I should point out that this guy is an ex-Marine, and was more than likely asked this himself while he was doing service.

I used to come up with witty (and truthful!) responses. "Ate my Cheerios." or "Well, I didn't blow anything up!" Things like that. The last couple of times he's asked, though, I've responded with the truth. "Nothing. Proud of it, too."

JFK said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

And I say, countries don't deserve people to do things for them. A country is not a real thing. It exists in our imaginations only.
A neat little couple of sentences to prove my point.

P@ types.
America types.

Stephanie wants a Pepsi.
The United States wants a Pepsi.

Saddam Hussein is a killer.
Iraq is a killer.

The countries are compossed of people who commit the verbs. The nations themselves can not. You can not do anything for your country. Your country can not do anything for you. You can do things for the people who live around you, and the people who live around you can do things for you. But the USA is not a person, despite our efforts to anthropomorphisize (that looks wrong) countries.

And here's the other thing. If we're going to treat arbitrary areas of geography as individuals, then we need to go all the way. America the country will have the respect that it thinks it deserves when it treats it's people with respect. It's a two way street.

Bah. I wish I could express myself better. Whatever.

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