I use your nickname here to make a point. You know I’ve always hated this epithet, the colloquialism that your redneck followers and Bush re-election supporters have drilled into the world’s head. Along with images of hot dogs and bacon on extra cheese pizzas, Christmas cards portraying rifle-packing families on plantation front porches, and Chuck Norris making love to a bald eagle.
I think we need to take a break.
I’m not saying this is the end, so please don’t launch a premature air strike on an Afghani hospital in your irrational anger. Despite your faults, I still truly love you. You get caught up sometimes in fear, anger, and ignorance, but I haven’t forgotten your virtues. You’re the strongest advocate for Freedom of Speech, you legalized gay marriage and you elected our first black president. However, your accomplishments are beginning to fade as I spend more and more time away from you. I’m starting to see you how a lot of other people around the world see you, and it’s not looking good.
We’ve been doing the long distance thing for nearly a year now. You, remaining as ludicrous in nature, actually even more so, as when I left you. Me, enjoying a new kind of first world life in Melbourne, Australia. We’ve never spent this much time apart, but the distance has made me into a different person. I’m sorry to break this to you, but I’ve fallen in love with another country.
Australia is like you, but better in so many ways. It’s an advanced democracy too, but it actually provides its citizens and residents with basic civil liberties and first world rights, like Medicare, comprehensive welfare allowances and affordable education with interest-free government loans. Most people live comfortably off of what they earn in Australia — without the need to get a second or third job — and they still have the freedom of will and the excess dollars to spend on trips around the world. Your residents, on the other hand, almost never travel unless they’re taking their meager two-week holiday of the year to sit poolside at a lavish resort in a country that’s slowly developing from squalor to poverty.
Being with Australia has opened up my eyes to the fact that there are plenty of countries in the world that can give me freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Right now it’s Australia, but if things don’t work out, who knows? Denmark? Sweden? Canada? All I know is that I have finally gotten the perspective to be able to tell you: I’m over you.
You looked so good and welcoming on paper. I was taught that America was the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” I thought that we had settled the fact that Black Lives Matter when you rightly abolished slavery. You were the first country to break free from British imperial rule, the first country to put separation of church and state into your Constitution, the first country to invent flight and land on the moon and provide the globe with the World Wide Web. You gave the world jazz and Jimi Hendrix and Shark Week and Apple products and Mark Twain. You’ve shown me some of the most amazing natural wonders in the world, provided me with year after year of whimsical Halloween celebrations and fat turkeys on Thanksgiving, and given me endless hours of Hollywood entertainment.
But I hate the way you treat other countries.
It’s no secret that you’re rather lacking in foreign policy. Your occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq show that you are only somewhat capable in beheading terrorist leadership, only to put up a proxy pop-up government that’s about as stable as a house of cards. But what really gets me, personally, is that you don’t even seem to appreciate the countries, like Australia, that have been right there with you, fighting all those wars in the Middle East. The Coalition of the Willing and you’re not even willing to invite their citizens to live and work with you. If our soldiers can fight together, why can’t our citizens work together to create a greater bond among friends through reciprocal cultural exchange programs? Is your relationship with your allies purely dependent on the existence of threat and tactical geographic advantage, or can it be based on a system of shared values of liberty and democracy and equality?
Also, who is this walking toupet speaking for you right now? He’s talking about building a wall. Between you and Mexico. Seriously? And apparently, Mexico’s supposed to pay for it? What? And apparently, he’s not going to honor NATO commitments either. This guy’s supposed to make you great again? I thought you already were great.
Speaking of that, why does your election process drag on for two whole years?
Nothing is going to happen until November, you attention whore. Stop putting yourself in the public spotlight until you absolutely have to. When I look at the Facebook profile of the United States, I not only see that the NRA still has you by the balls and that you haven’t put any logical gun laws in place, but also that you’re continuing with this spectacle that is our presidential election process in 2016. Meanwhile, Australia’s Facebook profile got the attention of the masses for about a month during their election. Citizens were debating who would provide Australia with the fastest internet and the best universal healthcare. You know, productive stuff. (And, it only took one massacre for Australia to revoke their citizens’ gun rights, and they’re just fine without them.)
Don’t you know that your election is just a reality show for the rest of the world? Every Aussie who meets me for the first time and hears my unmistakable American accent feels the need to ask me if I’m voting for Trump… Because clearly you’re considering this madman! You’re making me choose between Godzilla and the She-wolf of Wall Street as the leader of our nation. In so many strangers’ eyes, I am guilty and stupid until proven innocent and intelligent. Australia won’t even let me extend my working holiday visa for a second year. Probably because they’re pissed they let me in in the first place.
Which reminds me, I wish you’d offer meaningful reciprocal working holiday visas.
At least to our allies. I don’t think you realize that most other developed countries send their citizens abroad with backpacks on their backs, not M16s in their hands. I feel far too singular as an American on the backpacking trail.
I know you’re stubbornly persisting in this, but we are living in a global society, and America is hardly even a part of it unless we’re the butt of a joke. For fuck’s sake, Australia is the most isolated country geographically speaking, yet they still have reciprocal working holiday arrangements with 34 countries, and that includes reciprocal healthcare. Are you going to help me pay off the $500 I spent at the emergency room in Australia from a sports injury? Didn’t think so.
You need to promote real travel, to encourage your citizens to get a PhD in Life rather than stressing out every high school junior with SAT scores and acceptance letters to prestigious universities. Because any American who’s gotten a useless higher education in a subject they chose as an idiotic child, knows that the exhilaration of acceptance and four years of intellectual pursuits and frat parties will amount to fuck all once the grace period ends. The rest is all existential dread, the occasional Groupon voucher for an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica, and paying off student loans until we’re 50. ‘Sup with that 6.8 percent interest on my federal student loans, by the way? Unbelievable.
You’re cheap, you’re sexist and you’re weirdly religious.
Among other things. I’ve tried and tried again to believe in you, to carry the faith and pride that made us work in the first place, but now, you’ve gotten too comfortable. I want to grow and change and make friends with other nations, while you’re just stuck in your ways. Until you get your shit together, I really don’t want to come home. I’m truly terrified for what outcomes November will bring. I hope you smarten up and get on board with the rest of the world.
Your former flame… Of liberty
Have you ever thought that maybe you shouldn’t let Bible Belt douche bags vote in local school board elections to keep Creationism in the lesson plan?