Thursday, April 30, 2009

“Truth, justice, and the American Way”

My childish mind always wondered what that third thing was. By age 12 I had read both the Bible and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and the concept of the American Way began to come into focus. Superman was a Marine, not the captain of the debate team.

(Before I jump into this, it should be stated that I am an American, and claim loyalty to no other nation. But regardless of which flag may or may not wave over my bed I am human and my primary loyalty is to the freedom and fun-loving members of my race.)

Americans tend toward a polemic state of mind and this condition is ingrained into our core with a very simple cliché’: “Two sides to every story”.
Cowboys vs. Indians.
Black and White.
Kill or be Killed.
Democrats and Republicans.
Good vs. Evil.
Main street Vs. Wall Street.

We re-enforce this static mindset to such an extent that it becomes difficult to act as though we lived on a spherical planet. We gloss over the fact that our race has invented thousands of languages, ostensibly to express the same basic, common, needs. But it seems that the beating heart of the American Way lies in the ability to hold two innately conflicting ideas at once, and act on both simultaneously:

We have warheads called peacekeepers.
We have amassed wealth beyond all comprehension, yet our leaders profess loyalty to a man who lived in poverty.
We claim to have landed people on the moon, but cannot land all our citizens in modest shelter on earth.
Spitting on someone will get you arrested, but torturing people will spark a national debate.

Our intrepid founders, freedom-loving, god-fearing Christians nearly one and all, had no problem waging biological warfare on their red siblings. They had no real issue kidnapping, enslaving and murdering their black siblings. Might makes right in America, and that is the true bottom line.

I think we still have the opportunity, in the sense of the word “way” as a path, a tiny door in our collective imagination, to act freely, to make the other half of our politicized brains take the reins and live up to the potential we have laid claim to rather than the boring history we keep repeating.

And in light of the recent and spectacular death of American Capitalism, the time to strike out on this new path has arrived. Whether it will be American or not remains to be seen, but I have the feeling we will claim victory no matter what.


  1. Not to take one small thing from your post but I read comics and your post made me think about an interesting "what if?" story published by DC Comics about Superman entitled Red Son. In it, Superman is explored as a communist Russian superhero who is adopted by Stalin. He believes all of the ideologies of the USSR and fights for mother Russia. It's an interesting take on what we've (even people who don't read comics) known to be an "American hero". But all in all, Superman's utmost loyalties lay with his adoptive human race and he helps and protects even those citizens that are Russia's adversaries. Superman, American or Russian, has no flag that he pays more allegiance to. It's just Earth and he's not even human.

  2. That's rad! I think my friend has a copy that he tried to show me one time, but he's a socialist and Islamic, so I try not to pay attention to his propaganda.

    I, sadly, do not read comics. But i used to watch a lot of tv, so that's my main experience with the superman. They always had the tagline at the beginning of the show. And now it's the only thing i remember about it. Old age is fun!

    One does have to wonder why Superman bothered trying to "pass". I would have definitely, at some point after noticing that most humans were incapable of acting in their own self interest, made myself king of the planet and got things moving! I think our weak yellow sun didn't feed his brain enough.