I think I’ve figured out one fairly serious problem with this country: It doesn’t really exist. We, the people of the United States of America, have been taught that the United States is the best country on the planet. Even the whole “Make America Great Again” people think that. What they don’t realize is that America is not just the United States… and this is where the difficulties begin.
Let’s start with Americans. That’s the term used by millions of citizens of the United States to describe themseslves. Americans. What has confused me for years is that Canadians and Mexicans are Americans, too. The CONTINENT is called America. North America, to be more precise. Therefore, anyone who lives in a country on the continent, or continents, is an American. Let’s include South America into this and, presto, Brazilians are Americans. Venezuelans are Americans. There are a lot of Americans, aren’t there. So, what do we call people from the United States that sets them apart? People from Canada are Canadians. United States citizens are, what? United Statesers?
Instead, we break down United States citizens into their component states. If you’re from Tennessee, you’re Tennessean. California? Californian. New Yorkers. Iowans. Floridians. It doesn’t matter. There’s a step missing. We went straight from continental Americans to individual staters. Where is the country?
According to Dictionary.com, a state is defined as (once we get past the scientific definitions) “a politically unified people occupying a definite territory; nation.” A nation, in turn, is defined as “a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own.” Well, isn’t that what states are? Each state has it’s own government. Each state is capable of having its own laws. That’s why marijuana, for example, is legal in some states and not in others. There isn’t a unification of the laws from state to state.
Of course, there are some overlaps. Murder is illegal in all states. It’s not always enforced properly (see Taylor, Breonna), but it’s supposed to be there. But if you think about it, if the states are truly united, why aren’t all the laws in all the states? Basically, we’re not really the United States. Back to dictionary.com for a moment, a Country is defined as “a state or nation,” but a nation is a state and a state is a nation so we are a conglomeration of nations or countries. We are, at best, an allegiance. A group loosely held together by a group of leaders.
“Loosely?” I hear you ask. Yes, actually. What happens whenever someone changes a major law, such as letting African Americans have rights or allowing women to vote? One or more of the states threatens to suceed from “the Union.” Actually, that’s a pretty good way of putting it that people are not going to like. We are a polygamous marriage of fifty very separate states and someone wants a divorce frequently.
So, what is the solution? Perhaps, we, as a country, need a marriage guidance counselor. We’re not having a great relationship with ourselves. I know. That’s a bit silly. We’d never fit into one office. Instead, let’s progress as a nation and do something simple. Let’s get a name. The “country” is a couple hundred years old now. It could use an actual name other than “the Loosely Affiliated Territories of North America,” which, let’s face it, is what we are. Put it to a vote. Not like an election since people don’t seem to like to participate in those. A vote like American Idle (yeah, I spelled that right) or X-Factor (which was a comic book). Whittle it down to a few selections and vote. I’d nominate Country McCountryface but that would never fly.
Here’s a more practical idea. Why don’t we live under the principals that the “country” was founded on? Everyone is created equal regardless of skin color, gender, religion, sexual preference, or any other difference, prejudicial or not. Let’s include rich and poor in that. Equality for all. Let’s work together to make this country move forward. Make progress. (The opposite of which is congress, but you knew that, right?) We can rebuild. And we probably need to at this point. Infrastructure isn’t a bad place to start. Have you noticed that Flint, Michigan still has no drinking water?
One of the big issues is that we are remarkably hung up on the “well, they’re not us” attitude. Why doesn’t Miami (picked at random) help Flint, Michigan? They’re not Miami. New York, Los Angeles and HoleInWall, Tennessee haven’t exactly jumped in either. We’ve lost the “help thy neighbor” attitude that used to be prevalent on the planet. Just because someone isn’t you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help them. What’s wrong with helping people? And if you don’t help them, why should you expect them to help you when you need help? Set an example, lest ye find yourself being assisted by your moral betters.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re likely thinking that I’m horrifically wrong. What I want to know is: where am I wrong? What is incorrect about what is listed here? There is no term for United States citizens. If there is no term, what really is the country made of? I want answers. I want to know what we can do to make this the best planet to live on. That’s right. Planet. I’m not concerned with individual countries. Arbitrary lines in the sand created by people who claim to know better. We’re all people. Let’s start treating each other with respect and kindness. Isn’t that what we’re here for?