The Problem with Saying “Merica”

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

"Merica." No, that's not a misspelling. In recent years, we've all heard someone say the name of our nation in this ironic manner. I'd be lying if I told you I've never uttered it myself jokingly.

And yet, as with all terms and phrases, there's a hidden meaning behind this formulation of the word "America," a cultural explanation harkening back to the heightened form of patriotism experienced in the years following 9/11.

It's hard to believe that it's been over a decade since the most important event of the Twenty-First Century thus far. While I was only ten, I can still remember the immediate national response. It was a time best symbolized by Toby Keith's song, "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." Within a week of the attacks, there was an American flag flying outside of every house, and everyone seemed glued to their televisions, waiting to hear how we would respond to such a dastardly act of terror.

Surely, this would be our generation's Pearl Harbor. Surely, we would take it to our enemies and usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. To everyone's relief at the time, President George W. Bush would strike back with the full might of the most powerful military force ever assembled, but against what?

Within two years of 9/11, the U.S. would decisively topple two Middle Eastern governments and start the always difficult process of nation-building. Many Americans rejoiced at what seemed to be an affirmation of the very ideals their country was founded upon.

Yet slowly, as the decade continued on and public opinion turned against both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a distinct problem could start to be felt, especially among the young Americans of my generation. It was a problem not deriving from a lack of military or economic might.

No, this problem applied to our national morale, our collective belief that what America did in this world was, on the whole, right, and it came to be symbolized by people shouting "Merica" instead of "America". This problem would only be exacerbated as our enemy in the war carrying its name, Terror, seemed to continue on undaunted as each year passed.

Fast forward to May 2, 2011. Osama Bin Laden, architect of the 9/11 terror attacks, is killed by a Navy SEAL team in Pakistan. For a brief moment, shouts of "U.S.A.!" could once more be heard outside the White House, and the patriotism that gripped our nation a decade before returned as President Obama seemed to call an end to the War on Terror. But just three years later, another manifestation of the evil we have fought for so long now, ISIS, would take over much of the very nation we tore from Saddam Hussein's grasp in 2003.

Fast forward to July 16, 2015. A heavily armed man by the name of Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez murders five servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The motives of Abdulazeez are currently still being investigated, and so far no direct link has been made between him and groups like ISIS. Yet the undeniable fact of the matter is that this was a seemingly depressed Muslim man who decided to attack representatives of our nation's armed forces. Whatever his particular motives were, it would appear that Abdulazeez was attacking America itself.

Why do we need to stop saying "Merica"? Because the more we act like our country is just one big punchline, the more opportunities our enemies have to gain ground in their recruiting efforts, in what has long been called "The War of Ideas".

While Abdulazeez's motives still remain a mystery, I honestly wonder if much of this young man's documented depression was in fact a disillusionment with the place his immigrant parents had brought him to several years before.

If this is true, Mr. Abdulazeez's actions should be recognized for what they are. This was a naturalized U.S. citizen attacking his own country, a path that many have sadly taken in the years since 9/11. During this time, we have come to realize that Terror is not as concrete as Nazi Germany or Communist Russia. In the end, Terror is an idea, one that we must ultimately not defeat with physical weapons, but with ideals we have touted since our country's founding.

There are many who would say that in July of 2015, the American spirit is exhausted. There are many who would say that "the energy, the faith, the devotion" we once put in to defending freedom around the globe has diminished, an uncomfortable truth that modern Americans try to brush off with a joking "Merica" here and there.

Yet now, more than ever, Americans cannot forget, nor stop being proud of, who they are. They are the sons and daughters of immigrants, human beings who each overcame immense struggle to build new lives for themselves and their offspring. They are physical proof that political and economic institutions set in place more than two centuries ago work in producing what are, on the whole, positive results.

They are the inheritors of what Abraham Lincoln called the "Unfinished Work," an experiment in freedom and equality that, in comparison to the long expanse of human history, is still very young and very vulnerable. These are sacred truths that our society has to stop uncomfortably acting like it does not accept, lest they be forgotten to the forces of time.

I believe in America, not "Merica". Do you?

 

Brian McCracken is a South Carolina native and graduate of Wofford College with a BA in Government and Economics and a minor in Religion. He was also a Rhodes Scholar and a Fulbright finalist. He is currently pursing a dual degree in International and Comparative Law at Duke University.Proverb: A Story of the Second Civil Waris his debut novel. For more information visit:www.brianmccracken.net.

Haute Tease

  • Beauty Watch: Seven Skin Care Tips for Any Age

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    November is National Healthy Skin Month and the perfect time to learn how to maintain healthy skin care habits. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning damages the DNA in our skin cells. This not only increases a person's risk for skin cancer, it can also lead to premature skin aging in the form of wrinkles and sun spots. 

     
  • di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art Unveils Artist Projects and Programming for Part 1 of Be Not Still: Living in Uncertain Times

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is proud to present its first institution-wide exhibition comprised of new commissions and guest-curated projects utilizing work from the permanent collection unfolding in two parts from November 4, 2017, through 2018.

     
  • Elegance in Japanese Art Book Review – Beautiful, Cultured, Refined, Exotic

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    PIE International, already well known to Japanese book lovers, art historians, curators and Japanese art collectors as one of the nation's leading art book publishing houses, is quickly becoming equally well known through the Western world.

     
  • Holiday Gift Guide for the Last Minute Shopper

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As much as holiday shopping is a thrill-filled function, it can also overwhelm amid the glut of retail marketing messages asserting deals, steals and grand gifting opportunities galore. With so much to choose from, here’s a start.

     
  • Phoenix Demon Dad Murders Infant Son

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robert Anthony Resendiz, 30, has been charged in the murder of his six month old infant son on December 19, 2017 after he admitted to authorities of using approximately 65% of his strength to silence the baby.

     
  • Post-Royal Wedding Commentary from On-Site Correspondent: Reception Gown Revealed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Royal wedding expert and British bridal designer, Caroline Castigliano, at Windsor Castle covering the nuptials of Prince Harry, the youngest son of Diana, Princess of Wales, and HRH Prince Charles, to Megan Markle provides observation on dress and tradition.

     
  • The FIAT 500: Experience A New Era In Italian Luxury

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Los Angeles Chrysler Jeep Dealership rolled out the red carpet for the unveiling of their Italian luxury automotive acquisition, the FIAT 500.

     
  • US Markets Struggle; World Markets Fall Sharply

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial struggled throughout the week, laboring as the market limped along throughout the first full week in August cooling the New York Stock Exchange as the DOW attempted to stay above the mid 16,000.

     
  • The Tall Trees of Paris Book Review - An Exquisite, Vibrant, Introduction to The New Parisian Art Scene

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Tall Trees of Paris, a flamboyant coffee table art book from Portland gallery owner and curator, Matt Wagner, introduces readers to the colorful world of Parisian artists from the point of view of the artists themselves.

     
  • Kim Wall Died “In an Accident” Inventor Says

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kim Wall, the Swedish Journalist that mysteriously disappeared while on a submarine ride along with Danish Inventor Peter Madsen, died in an accident and was buried at sea he said in his second accounting of the events.

     
  • The Good Dinosaur, from Pixar Disney, Premieres in U.S. Today

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pixar Animation Studio and Walt Disney Animation Studio release "The Good Dinosaur" today across the United States. Following Pixar's "Inside Out" release earlier in 2015, this marks the first multi-release year for the animation studio.  

  • state Presents Yarrow Slaps: More Water in The Artist’s Debut San Francisco Solo Exhibition

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    state is pleased to present More Water, a solo exhibition by Yarrow Smith-Lazer a.ka. Yarrow Slaps opening May 5 and running through June 16. This will be the artist's debut solo show in his hometown of San Francisco.

 

Login Form