American chop suey

We have all taken a towering shit on America since Trump. While Americans have been doing most of the turd throwing themselves, the rest of us outside beelined to blow into the troll trumpet.

Why pay attention to the cancerous growth of a political clown posse you are in when you can scratch someone else’s anal wart.

(Sorry that’s the best I could do there.)

What made America possible all along is also what made it impossible four years ago: its relationship with authority.

The land of the free was ploughed by questioning authority. It was really bulldozed into submission by running a pogrom on the Native Americans, but since that is not on Netflix, it can’t be true.

A bunch of men who owned slaves, the original fab five for the queer eye, got together and declared: everyone is equal. The land of dreams was here. Freedom, baby.

And that got boring real fast.

So the people plunged into the opposite end of the abyss. Rampant intellectualism which led to authoritarianism, assolery, and ambition which concocted into the apparent apocalypse of 2016. At the center of the freedom’s dizziness were people divided over the end of the world, and the second coming of Christ!

How do you tell if that sensation you are feeling at the pit is you becoming one with universal consciousness—or nausea? 

Globalization started with the imitation of the west. The rest of us wanted what they had. The dream.

Of being on the other side of the conversion rate.

The accent.

Hershey’s in a Ziploc.

And so we ignored the one important sign: The west wanted something more. They even started looking for it in the East. That should have made us suspect, but we were too busy looking for the one Kitkat among the Hershey’s.

We were looking to be freed by those enslaved by their freedom. We were looking for greatness from a place whose relationship with greatness is as lasting as the one we have with our earpods. It’s why every few years, it organizes itself around this hypersexual referendum to become great, again.

Authoritative, again.

Authority isn’t a manifestation of wealth or power deciding what’s right or what’s not. Standing up to a tyrant doesn’t mean you need to turn into one yourself. A real authoritarian is someone who doesn’t have to exercise authority at all. What we have been calling authority all along is insecurity. The way we have been calling God religion.

Authority is a function of trust, which incidentally is a big part of the American national motto. Authority is an internal state. Instead of being too busy not giving a shit what people think, maybe we should start paying a little more attention to what we think and do something about that. It’s the something more.

Questioning authority begins by questioning yourself. All too often, your need to question authority is a twisted need to become authoritative yourself. It’s where America found itself in 2016, choosing between the extremities of its freedom.

The extremism of questioning authority led to the one question no one could answer: What when everyone is authority?

Politics is the advertisement for civilization. A product of society’s values. When we continue to fester on our divisions from one another, we don’t see how divided we are within ourselves. Individual freedom without collective freedom is as bad as collective freedom without individual freedom. The choice is not between capitalism and communism. It’s between internal and external authority. To compensate for the lack of one by going after the other isn’t chasing freedom. It’s chasing an identity. And the tragedy is we didn’t even spare God in this chase.

We haven’t killed millions in the name of God. We have done it in the name of individuals who never questioned themselves, and who made God a victim in their need for authority.

It’s ironic I have been able to talk shit so easily about a country I have known only from a distance and still feel close to because I can’t quite talk with the same ease about the country I have known up-close and still feel distant from, all because of its relationship with authority. Yet, somehow, I love them both in equal measure. I hope we can get to a point where I don’t have to choose. That’d be great.

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