the crises of being american

I’ve been going through a lot of drastic changes in the last couple of weeks. I’ve somehow awakened politically and it’s destroying my fragile birdheart. I look at the world, at the world shaped by this century of violence by the militarism and economic warfare of my country, and I feel the weight of the world throttling me to my knees.

I’ve long suffered from occasional crippling melancholia where the weight of existence, in a metaphysical way, buries me. But now, it’s actualised, concrete and quantifiable. And it’s worse. So very much worse than the mental pain of existence, from the unbearable lightness of being. Now it’s the crushing weight of humanity’s sin that does not only hang and press on me, but constricts me to complete immobilisation, both abstract and concrete.

I look at the world and the disgust and shame is absolute. It’s just, i look at the world and see nothing worth liking. I’m dissatisfied with the world. With imperialism and being a citizen of an empire and seeing, directly, how this empire imposes a surreal control over actions and attitudes half a world away. I’m sick of it, quite frankly, and i feel so impotent here, being a citizen of america. Knowing that there is nothing i can do to change even a single thing about america. And so where do you start? Is it enough to know that things are very much in a terrible way? That nothing has changed in our foreign policy in almost one hundred disastrous years. The more i know, the more crippled i feel. It’s partly why i gave up pursuing neuroscience, because the hands that hold the deck are so very much not in the interest of science, but of dollars. And when the place you’re a citizen of is the biggest terrorist state in the last century, and maybe the history of the world [though i’m sure england is rather close], what are you to do? Do you just allow it to continue the way it’s never stopped, an unbroken century of violence and hate and discrimination and xenophobia, coupled with all this other simultaneous hope happening in the technological fields, in science and understanding? But socially, where are we? Women are still underpaid and treated as a minority special interest when, in fact, they’re the majority of people in the country, and the majority of people in higher education, incidentally. Or the way our long genocidal war against native americans has never ended or how blacks have had their culture and family structure systematically destroyed by an outrageous and abominable prison system. The way sociopaths like Reagan are considered heroes of mythic proportion for no evident reason except the general belief that the past was some kind of golden time where it was always summer and we fucked without condoms on. But the violence didn’t start or stop with him, but just keeps going on.

And it’s not even an executive thing. We pretend like it is, but it isn’t. The faces of government hardly matter, which is why they can change with such breathtaking ease, while policies never do, because policies are not dependent on the people that the minority of the population elect. Policies are determined by the people who put them there, and, if you’re Obama, and a billion dollars were put behind you, you have a lot of hungry mouths to feed. But, like i said, this isn’t Obama’s or Bush’ or Clinton’s or Reagan’s fault, though none of them have helped, and most have made it easier for things to continue as such. We have our own Supreme Court acting as criminals, giving international corporations the rights of individuals, as if that’s in some way shape or form justifiable. We have three wars going on and soldiers in over 800 permanent military bases around the globe. We will never leave the Mideast, just as we’ve never left Japan or Korea or Germany.

No one is our equal so no one is our enemy. They tell us to leave, that we’re no longer needed, and we unceremoniously ignore them or tell them to shut the fuck up while we dock a nuclear submarine in Nagasaki port every month, as if that’s not a continual insult to the people of Japan, especially to the people of Nagasaki. They ask us to leave and we yawn, point towards the nuclear reactor.

And so what’s to be done? I keep asking myself and i find nothing. My generation is one of apathy and ambivalence and a stupidly excessive desire to be ironic. About everything. And so where is there sincerity left in the world? My mother used to tell me that i feel things too much, and i’ve always known this to be true, which is partly why i try to keep things at a certain distance, so that i can deal. But what is to be the start of what needs to be done? I think the best thing that could happen to america is for it to collapse upon itself and stay that way for a generation. I honestly don’t see solutions to the many problems that happen concurrently and neverend. Education, the depression, imperialism, rampant capitalism and militarism to a bloodthirsty and rapacious degree, our support of dictators around the world, to genocides across the century, to the nearly fifty year long occupation of Palestine, to our own bloodsoaked internal history, the way we raped the south and called it peace, the way we crushed the workers and called it progress, the way we seem to be heading back in that very same direction, they way we take lives before they can begin through an insane criminal justice system and financial system whereby every citizen who desires higher education must first go into a crippling debt that will last at least a decade, if not more, while even basic medicine like birth control can become unavailable.

And somehow we’ve been bought and sold into believing all of this is a good idea. And not just a good idea, but a new good idea.

And it weighs on me stupidly, like a millstone. And i have all this energy and capacity to just do things. I’ve never found something i cannot do, and most things come kind of easy. So i’ve been wondering, Is fiction an appropriate usage of this energy? What if i can do more? I should do more. I feel that i have to do more, to be more, but i don’t even know where to start. I’ve written over 300,000 words of fiction in the last nine months, which is more than many people write in a lifetime. I could write another 100-200,000 by the end of this year, but what’s the point? I don’t know.

So I’ve been educating myself politically at kind of a breakneck speed, but it’s the only way I seem to know how to do anything. But it’s been very good for me and has caused some thing to turn for me.

Today a breakthrough of sorts came. I’ve decided that fiction is the correct path for me. But not fiction alone. Art can be so much more than art, and I intend to make it so. More responsibility is on me and my words with this in mind. So it goes.

There’s so much more to say. So very much more to say, but I suppose that’s the gist of it.

I’d like to end this on a hopeful note, because there’s certainly a lot to hope for in the world. Even though the problems seem monumental and insurmountable, there are people trying.

And try we must.

More on this later.

2 thoughts on “the crises of being american

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