To Be An American

To be an American is a complex equation rarely scrutinized and often taken for granted. You can live and breathe on the landmass called the contiguous 48 states plus Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico and still not be an American. There are rules you must know and follow. I should emphasize the word follow because even if you don’t know the rules you can follow them, something many if not most Americans accomplish daily. To be an American,

  1. you must believe that the people of this country, the corporations and the govt have the same interest and are all ‘America’.
  2. you must believe that no matter what, America is essentially good.
  3. you must believe the US of A is, was or will one day soon be great.
  4. you must feel that the theft of this land from the native population is something that happened a long time ago and is no longer a big deal.
  5. you must understand that race is something that used to be a big problem during slavery and has since been pretty much taken care of.
  6. you must believe that anyone that doesn’t believe the aforementioned is playing the race card and a racist him/herself.
  7. you must believe that heterosexuality is natural if you aren’t hetero, something bad must have happened to you in the past.
  8. you must believe that while America is good there are others out there that hate America. They are bad.
  9. you must believe those that hate America do so because of jealousy or some other irrational motive. This is important. Those that hate America never have a legitimate reason to do so due to #2.
  10. you must trust the govt.
  11. you must believe that being a member of the Armed Forces is ‘service’ to ‘your country’ and that that is an inherently holy thing, never to be spoken ill of.
  12. you must adopt a white normative perspective on the world.
  13. you must adopt a heteronormative perspective on the world.
  14. you must believe in God.
  15. you must believe God is a man and that he is white.
  16. you must believe, irregardless of your personal or community economic condition that references to the booming condition of ‘the economy’ mean you.
  17. you must believe that Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton or any white male that can loosely be construed as a Founder, was a ‘great man’.
  18. you must like or pretend to like baseball.
  19. you must watch the SuperBowl.
  20. you must be a Republican or a Democrat.
  21. you must believe in the American Dream.
  22. you must recite the pledge of allegiance.
  23. you must believe that the United States of America is a place where anyone can ‘make it’ if he or she tries hard enough.
  24. you must believe that if he/she isn’t successful it is because of his/her own doing.

Some of these things are hard and fast rules. Fall short and you are out of the club. Others are softer and will allow for 2 or 3 cumulative infractions before expulsion. Either way, whether you violate one of the commandments like belief in God or one of the slightly less stringent rules like being a Republican or a Democrat, once you’re out, you’re out. Not to worry. If for one or more of these reasons you’re not an American, you won’t go nameless. There is a status reserved for you.


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