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

  • HL Miami Pictures: Celebrities Join SunTrust International Center To Celebrate Multi-Million Dollar Relaunch

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Crocker Partners celebrated the re-launch of the SunTrust International Center on Thursday, October 15, where more than 150 commercial real estate brokers, local tastemakers and celebrities were introduced to the properties new world class facilities with a lavish invite-only cocktail party.

     
  • The Summit Review – Stunning, Shocking, Devastating

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “The Summit,” a doc-drama from Image Now Films, Fantastic Films and Passion Pictures, recounts the day eleven climbers were killed on K2 in what has become known as the deadliest day in mountain climbing history.

     
  • ACADEMY NAMES 2013–2014 BOARD OF GOVERNORS

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Ten first-time governors have been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors. In addition, eight incumbents have been reelected and one previous governor is returning to the board. This year's election increases the Academy's governing body from 43 to 48.

     
  • Celebrities Use Bee Venom Cream Mask such as Kalon Skincare to Keep Their Vitality Glowing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    It has been reported that celebrities around the world have turned to the highly effective lifting properties of bee venom. From Fashion forward Royal Kate Middleton, Victoria Beckham, Gywneth Paltrow, to Supermodels Danii Minogue, (Huffington Post, Vogue 2012, Sunrise Australia) Kylie Bax, and many others have turned to various bee venom skincare treatments that were reportedly first introduced to Ms. Middleton by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

     
  • Advocates Launch Campaign On Inauguration Day To Impeach President Donald Trump

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Impeach Donald Trump Now, a non-partisan campaign led by Free Speech For People and RootsAction.org, launched on Inauguration Day with a petition calling on the U.S. Congress to initiate an impeachment investigation into President Trump.

Crime

  • Three Women Missing a Decade Found Alive

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, three Cleveland, Ohio, women, who had been missing for over a decade, were found alive held captive together, after a stunning escape.

     
  • Misclassification of Homicide Case Aids Murderer in Escaping Justice; FBI Offers Reward

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brittanee Drexel, of Rochester, New York, was last seen in 2009 leaving a beachfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to hotel surveillance cameras, the FBI said in a recently released statement and simply vanished.

     
  • Notorious Cold Blooded Killer to Face Murder Charges

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Juan Elias Carlos, 21, a pint sized killing machine, has been returned to the United States to face murder charges in the execution style deaths of his former lover and her two year old son.

     
  • Girl, 16, Dead After Vicious Attack

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amy Inita Francis-Joyner, 16, a sophomore at Howard High School of Technology, in Wilmington, Delaware, died Thursday morning after she was jumped in the girl’s restroom by two other sixteen year olds and beaten to near death over a boy.

     
  • UPDATE: Chicago’s Bloody Christmas Weekend Thankfully Ends; 2016 Expected to Be Third Highest

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Chicago’s bloody rampage continued Monday with a sharp spike in shootings and with five days before New Year’s Eve the 61 shootings, 50 wounded and 11 homicides, over the three-day holiday weekend bring the 2016 total to 785 homicides.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • After Snowden - Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age Review – Opens The Floor to Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), from several laptop computers, exposing flaws and violations of the Fourth Amendment routinely practiced in the Domestic Surveillance program.

     
  • Blondie and Garbage To Co-Headline Rage And Rapture Summer 2017 Tour (Music/Tix Links)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Blondie & Garbage announced their North American tour will kick off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wrap on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second.

     
  • In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Review - Compact, Beautiful, Informative

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In My Footsteps, A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, from author Christopher Sutterland and Schiffer Publishing, presents a comprehensive guide to one of the most iconic and affluent summer island destinations on the Eastern Seaboard.

     
  • HL A&E Presents The Best Summer 2016 Music Festivals, by the Numbers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Every year, thousands of people flock to church. The devotees pray in flower crowns and straw hats, fringe-laden vests and neon body paint. They are the congregation of music lovers, gathering from many different corners of the world to worship at the summer’s many music festivals.  

  • A Pink Suitcase Book Review – Empowering Stories from Women Who Dared

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Pink Suitcase, from World Traveler Press, presents twenty-two provocative individual stories of empowered woman who dared to fulfill their dreams of global expedition, from hiking the Appalachian Trail to entering Gutsy Gal adventures.