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

  • Hey, You're That Guy: Actor Paul Willson Talks Improv and an Actor's Life

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hollywood has launched a thousand careers, and among them are the many extremely talented character actors and comedians we’ve watched for years, whose nuanced performances knock us on our asses every time we see them.

     
  • Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Announces Inaugural Line Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, held in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings for the festival's inaugural year.The five-day festival will take place May 27-31, 2015, and will open with acclaimed Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney's new documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine 

  • KYOCERA Ceramic Coated Cookware Review – Elevate Your Cooking Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kyocera, of Kyoto Japan, a well know and established name in high end cookware and cutlery tools, recently provided the opportunity to test the ceramic coated cookware so sure of its excellence ability to create only the finest.

     
  • Amazon Brings Season Two of Fleabag Written by and Starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge Exclusively to Amazon Prime Video

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amazon today announced it will offer a second season of the half hour series Fleabag,  the acclaimed half hour series, with series creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (A Star Wars Story: Untitled Han Solo Film), returning as writer and star.  

  • North Pole Experience and Little America Hotel Partner to Usher in the Holidays

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the holiday season marches upon us - I had the opportunity to speak with Santa's Ambassador, Scott Pace, who is hard at work in Flagstaff, AZ where he, along with his team of Elf University graduates are preparing a one of a kind gathering that includes a special appearances from Santa as he prepares for his annual round the world blast.

Crime

  • Hannah Anderson Sheds Little Light on Mental State of James DiMaggio

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hannah Anderson, the teen abducted by James L. DiMaggio, has shed little light on his mental condition witnessed throughout the six day ordeal that began when the family friend tricked her mother into coming to his aid.

     
  • People Exclusive: Police Recover Body of Missing Alabama Teen Who Called Mother to Say Someone Was Trying to Kill Him

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    EXCLUSIVE REPRINT (NEW YORK) – Police have found the body of a 19-year-old Alabama boy who went missing Saturday after telling his mother by phone that someone was trying to kill him.

     
  • Cincinnati Boy, 8, Commits Suicide After School Bullying

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    An eight-year-old Cincinnati boy committed suicide January, 2017, after a bullying incident in the boy’s bathroom at his school left him unconscious for nearly eight minutes. He hung himself with a necktie two days later.

     
  • Victim in South Carolina Police Shooting Owed Child Support

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A South Carolina police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man after a routine traffic stop in which the victim ran as he could not produce insurance or registration papers for the vehicle pulled over for a faulty tail light.

     
  • Jealousy Alleged Motive in Houston Family Massacre

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A jealous former lover entered the Houston suburb home of his former girlfriend, through an unlocked window Saturday night, and proceeded to restrain and systemically execute every member of the family, including his own biological son.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • BACKSTAGE PAST: The High Times of Legendary Rock Promoter Barry Fey

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BACKSTAGE PAST, the auto bio road trip from legendary promoter Barry Fey, reveals the dressing room romps of Rock n' Roll royalty from a career that spans forty years of music madness.

     
  • Billy Blake: Images From The Ashes The Story of Triumph over Tragedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Billy Blake, 71, in a flash, a moment, woke up to a raging fire rising up over the Malibu hillside and marching down the canyons engulfing his home, thirty years of work and almost everything, including his wherewithal, his hope, all lost.

     
  • 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.

     
  • A California Closing Review – The Perfect Set of Characters for A Summertime Read

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ready for a digital detox? Looking for the perfect summer read, a purely fun, page turner, turned down corners, smudged pages, a no app necessary, trashy, romance novel or high brow biography; soft or hard a genuine book?

     
  • The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston - A Page Turning Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Sword & Scabbard, from Allen Woods, looks as if it would appeal to Boston’s very tony elite, not until pushing through the labyrinth of technology interruptions does one realizes Woods has created a page turning account of corruption, violence, and a bloody re-revolution massacre.