The Tea Party and the GOP; Bondage Themed Strip Clubs; Guns; Gayscam; Patriotism and other buzzwords.
Welcome to America.
Typically I don’t like delving too deep into the American psyche; perhaps I’m afraid of what I’ll find. But mostly, I feel that because I’m not an American I shouldn’t be consumed by the posture of their politics. After all, there is no greater sin to be committed by a Canadian than to be an American. I am not speaking plainly in the terms of citizenship; in the cannon of Canadian literature Americans often come to represent foreigners in a broad sense, or antagonists generally. For the nameless narrator of Margaret Atwood’s book Surfacing, being American is representative of human violence, and the male aggression that has been legitimated by society. It appears to me now that one must preface any, well, what is this anyway? An article? An inane rant? Whatever it is, I write it knowing that citizenship is only really understood as a vague ghost-concept. I am Canadian insofar as I was born here, I have imparted in me values that I am told are of a ruling Canadian Spirit. As for America, it is constantly debated what that means – what it means to be a Real American. For whatever reason the right has taken broad ownership of that term.
At times the Real America is in the South, at others it’s the Mid-West. Whatever the case, it is said to house a prototypical conservative; he fights vigilantly for free market capitalism, Christianity, individual rights, American unapologetics, and other ‘distinctly American’ virtues. He is both the big guy AND the little guy. Joe The Plumber for instance was a Real American, however he was not a Real Plumber.
What is important about this claim to being a Real American is that it provides the right-wing a platform from which they can argue down at Fake Americans (democrats for instance). It is this perspective that allows them to explain things away – things like; RNC expenditures that involve bondage strip-clubs; the denial of global warming; and Sarah Palin. The Right in America argues from such strength that it could address all of these things with a resounding ‘so what?’.
When you take ownership of the very nature of the country’s spirit, when you are the authority on Americaness you will always be vindicated by history, who is always kind to the powerful and the affluent. However, not all serious conservatives are wealthy, some aren’t even middle class. The far-right in America has managed to convince poor white laborers that market liberalization and low corporate taxation are somehow beneficial to them. They have duped The Real Americans.
This posturing about what it means to be American oils the joints of the Republican political machine. It allows them to use empty buzzwords, while making them sound both undeniable and inexorably tied to the American Dream. They are Patriots, they are Main Street, they are defeating those Fat Cats in Wall Street (whom they are of course), they are in defiance of Global Warming Alarmists, Socialists, Gayscam, and all the people who want to take away their Guns, Bibles, and their Freedom. This is a debate about debating – politics for the sake of politics.
My aim with this trip is not to affect change in America, but to warn my fellow Canadians; it is coming.
Soon their will be Real Canadians and Fake Canadians; a heartland and another place. On the heels of what has been a conservative revolution this past ten years, there will be a change in dialogue that will mirror the politics of the South. Once they assume that position of strength nothing will stand in their way. I don’t warn against this for the sake of leftism, to do so would be a sin of equal weight, I am only trying to protect politeness, level-headedness and intelligence. If we become Americans in the sense Atwood meant it, the Country is doomed.
How about a change of pace? Some music perhaps? Floating Vibes by Surfer Blood
Surf rock is my sound of the summer this year, I just can’t get enough of this stuff. This is a good band, a good American Band. A Real American Band.
They are called Surfer Blood. I hope you enjoy this song. Try to listen to it outside. We’re getting some great weather in The Greater Toronto Area, and I hope you are getting great weather too, where ever you are, whoever you are. Sometimes that is the simplest distinction between a good day, and a forgettable one. Right now the high sun is making a myriad of geometrical shapes on my front lawn. I’m going to go play basketball.