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

  • Child Bride Dies from Sexual Trauma

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    An eight year old Yemen child bride died from internal injuries brought on by sexual trauma suffered when her pedophile husband, nearly five times her age, raped her after the wedding ceremony.

     
  • Saban Films Promotes Executives Jonathan Saba And Ness Saban

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Saban Films' President Bill Bromiley announced that executives Jonathan Saba and Ness Saban have been promoted to Senior Vice President of Distribution, Sales & Marketing, and Vice President of Business Development, respectively, at the Los Angeles-based film acquisition and distribution company.  

  • Glenn Weiss Returns as Oscars® Director

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced today that Glenn Weiss will return as Oscars® director, his second consecutive year. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will air live Sunday, February 26, on the ABC Television Network.  

  • Glenn Frey, Guitarist and Co-Founder of the Eagles Dies

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Glenn Frey, a name synonymous with rock and roll, co-founder of the legendary Eagles rock band has died due to post-surgical complications from degenerative intestinal issues that plagued the guitarist for most of his career. He was 67.

     
  • FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES Acquires “A United Kingdom” Starring David Oyelowo And Rosamund Pike

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired North American rights to the true story A UNITED KINGDOM, directed by Amma Asante (BELLE) and written by Guy Hibbert (EYE IN THE SKY). 

Crime

  • Drive-By Shooting Kills Seven

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Gun fire erupted in the coastal community of Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara, in a drive-by shooting that left seven dead and another seven injured in what police are calling a premeditated attack by a disgruntled student.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Kim Kardashian West Robbed at Gunpoint; Kanye West Cancels Concert Mid-Song Citing "Family Emergency"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kim Kardashian West, reality television star and wife of musician Kanye West, was robbed at gunpoint of $10million dollars in jewelry while staying at a private residence in Paris for Fashion Week, according to media reports and her publicist.

     
  • Michael Skakel, Kennedy Cousin, Set To Be Released

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Michael Skakel, nephew to the late Robert F. Kennedy, is set to be released from the Connecticut prison where he has spent the last 11years for the 1975 bludgeoning death of neighbor Martha Moxley.

     
  • Colorado Officials Find Remains of 170 People, Including Infant Boy, In Basement

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The remains of 170 individuals who did not receive proper burial or cremation were discovered in the basement of a Montrose, Colorado funeral home after the property was purchased and the new funeral director began renovations.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • San Diego Jazz Fest Features Traditional Jazz, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, Gospel, and Ragtime

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    San Diego, California, For Immedite Release - The San Diego Jazz Fest takes place November 26-November 30 and will feature over thirty bands and guest artists from across the U.S. playing for dancing and listening in seven venues.

     
  • LA Lakers Great Tommy Hawkins Pens Reflections from the Soul

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Tommy Hawkins, former Los Angeles Lakers legend who helped shape the dynasty of today, recently launched his first ever narrative book of poetry.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Something Rotten Review – Raucous Surprises, a Roaring Good Time

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Something Rotten!, Broadway’s newest musical, is so fun it's hard to say for sure who was having a better time at the St. James Theater the other night, the audience or the actors and musicians on stage.  

     
  • Interstellar Soundtrack with Music By Hans Zimmer Out In Time For The Holidays

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (October 28, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA) WaterTower Music today proudly announces the November 18 release of Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with music by renowned composer Hans Zimmer, whose career has earned him Grammy, Golden Globe, Classical Brit, Academy, Tony, and American Music Awards.