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

  • World Cities Celebrate New Year's Eve

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    From Sydney, St. Petersburg, and Dubai to New York, London and Hong Kong, cities throughout the world welcomed 2014 with brilliant, dazzling displays of pyrotechnic majesty, revelry, champagne toasts and midnight kisses.

     
  • D23 Brings Disney Magic To Fans Across The Country In 2018

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In 2018, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club brings a new roster of events including a special birthday celebration for Mickey Mouse, advance movie screenings, exclusive tours, Broadway shows, and a return to Walt's hometown of Marceline.  

  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Announces Release Of "HOME" From Singer Nick Jonas To Lead Upcoming Ferdinand Soundtrack

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Twentieth Century Fox today announced the release of "Home," an original work by actor, multi-platinum and Grammy award nominated Nick Jonas and the "official" song from the forthcoming animated feature FERDINAND due to be released this holiday season.  

  • Money News: US Markets Rally, Asian Markets Struggle

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The three major U.S. Markets, Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ and S&P 500, rallied over the past week recovering slightly from the melt down felt in the ten top world markets over the past week, the Russell 2000 stubbornly refused to rally and closed slightly down.

     
  • HL Wellness: Do You Need A Therapist -These 5 Signs Point to Yes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    You lose a loved one, a job, a relationship, a pet or get into an accident, have an injury, gain weight, have a baby, return from war or experience something else that just rattles you to your core. You know something isn’t right, you feel a bit off, but continue living your life thinking you’ll get over it. We all have been there and often with time we do get over it, sort of.

Crime

  • Columbia Rape Accuser Continues Protest Project

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Columbia University rape accuser Emma Sulkowicz, determined to have her accused rapist suspended from the Ivy league University maintained her vigil of protest, and carried a mattress the symbol of the weight and burden rape victims carry daily to the 2015 Class Day Ceremonies.

     
  • Two Majors Cities Hit With Mass Shooting Scares in One Day

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Three days after a TSA agent was killed at LAX during a Mass Shooting, the Westfield Garden State Mall in Paramus, New Jersey and Central Connecticut State University Campus were both targeted by deranged individuals.

     
  • NYPD Solve Baby Hope Cold Case

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NYPD Detectives, for twenty-two years, never rested in the determination to bring justice to a little girl found dead, badly beaten and sexually assaulted, in an ice cooler on the Henry Hudson Parkway.

     
  • Eleven Boston Cops Wounded, Two Critically, by Body Armor Wearing Suspect

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Boston police officers shot and killed a gunman after he opened fire on responding officers wounding eleven and critically injuring two who are now fighting for their lives, in what has been called a domestic disturbance gone bad.

     
  • Four Dead, Including Two Special Education Students, in San Bernardino Elementary School Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Two special education first grade students, their teacher and her estranged husband died in the murder-suicide shooting at North Park Elementary school, in San Bernardino California, stemming from what authorities are calling an escalating domestic violence separation.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette Review – Surprisingly Interesting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Penned by renowned Civil Rights attorney David M. Weitzman, Living A Life That Matters will not jump off the shelf for the causal bookstore window shopper. The title, the image all suggest an intellectual read reserved for professors, scholars, politicians and the like.  

  • NYPD Green Book Review - Page Turning Detective Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NYPD Green, a memoir from Luke Waters, details his life from undocumented Irish immigrant to ranking detective in one of the largest police departments in the world solving horrendous cases and the interactions and working with other judicial agencies.

     
  • Ten Top Gourmet Food Shops and Eating Establishments in the Latin Quarter Revealed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Stepping into a Paris restaurant can be a formidable experience for any traveler. Not only do you have to make your wishes understood by a waiter who may or may not speak your language, but you must quickly learn how to adapt to local dining customs as well.

     
  • Joshua Tree Spring Music Festival - A Global Experience in the Magical Mojave

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Merging its funky desert style with an internationally acclaimed lineup of musical artists, this three day (and four night) family-friendly festival is truly a global music experience. The 13th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival melds the overwhelming spirit of desert freedom with powerful music from around the world to create a lighthearted oasis for music lovers.

     
  • Broadway's Best: Celebrating the Music of Ron Abel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Birdland, the legendary Manhattan Jazz Club, played host for two nights only to celebrate, one of Broadway's best and Hollywood's hottest talents, composer and musical genius Ron Abel.