Shedding Our Imperialist Ties

I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free.
Mikhail Bakunin

History

They got us.

We are all complicit in the hatred and injustice we read about because our actions obey our government’s will.

You don’t have to be a hater. No one living in our country has to be complicit with how it functions.

But we are complicit through tradition.

Yes, we’re complicit with imperialism, racism, and covering up genocide by the roles we fill in society.

The United States is not the capital of America like New York is to New York.

Upholding some ‘American’ traditions is racist by default.

But we are not hateful people; we’re functioning, loving individuals. We are reasonable people who contribute to society; we’re attentive to our friends and relatives. We are productive and happily living out our dreams in a role we love and worked hard for.

How did we get to this?

The system where the offended live with the offenders was set up before we got here. We were born into our roles.

The sad, brutal truth is that we are complicit in the imperialism of this country just by living our lives. You don’t have to do anything to earn it once you’ve initiated it, like passive income. We started it by participating in the system.

Do we have a choice? Sure, emigration. But then that’s dealing with another country’s problems.

Our problems aren’t something to run from but things to accept and decide what we will do about them.

The things I’m talking about us being complicit include celebrating the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, guns, patriotism, and the notion that we of the United States live in America.

I am not talking about giving up our freedom or being unthankful for the beautiful country that we live in and the achievements that we made. This is a great country. But obviously, we criticize it because it’s messed up. But it’s not just other people — them, the government, or certain politicians who mess it up. It’s us who are messing it up.

We are to blame.

Change hurts. Real change causes pain because it moves things from one state to another, and even if the target state is better than starting state, the movement to get from the starting state to the target state causes discomfort because change causes roles to shift. Power changes hands. Titles change. Feelings are altered.

The term ‘America’ is an insult to Indigenous people. It’s an insult to South Americans, Canadians, and even Mexicans who are North American but saw their land stolen in a war purposed to steal their land from them.

Think of the damage that America has caused.

America committed genocide of 95 million Indigenous people from first contact — yes, that’s pre-America, the spirit of America rising to power — in the Bahamas through the forced sterilization, especially of women of color and poverty, in the 20th century.

Let’s suppose that there’s a debate about changing the nickname of the United States of America. Instead of the shorthand America, we shortened it to something that was just as catchy and could be used to describe the people from the landmass that they lived on.

We would be inconvenienced by thinking of a new name. Why would we think of a new name to describe this country when the one we have works fine?

Wouldn’t it be embarrassing and a waste of time voting on a new name for our country? We’ve got better things to do than change the name of our country.

But changing the country’s name would be a step toward equality. It would acknowledge equality with the other people of America from Patagonia to the Arctic Ocean.

Changing the name would acknowledge the genocide committed against Indigenous people and the enslavement of Black people. No more. We’re not going to do that ever again. The country formally known as America not only fought against the genocide of Jewish people in World War II and spoke out against the genocide of the Armenians who were systematically murdered with the intention of eradicating them circa 1915 by the Turks — we will stand up for equality of all of our country’s people.

Let’s stop talking about LGBTQ+, Black, Asian, Indigenous, and white in the capacity that we have been and move forward. Here is a significant way we can do that. It’s one step in a direction toward freedom.

Why don’t we call this country Freedonia? The people living here would be Freedonians.

The United States of Freedonia. I pledge allegiance to thee.

Sure, the notion that we would get to the place where there would be a national discussion about changing the name of the United States sounds bizarre. But we are not so far away from that bizarre concept happening. It is certainly justified to happen. From Patagonia through the Arctic land of Canada is America. Freedonia is located in the Western Hemisphere, Puerto Rico is 980 miles to the south.

But that’s not to say we want anybody living here not in agreement with changing the country’s name to leave — but it would be nice if they thought like us. It would be nice if women didn’t have to fight for equal pay. And Black people didn’t have to fight for their lives with cops. It would be nice if Indigenous people were brought to the forefront of our national conversation. It would be nice if the jails were depopulated, there was no Asian hate, and there were fewer guns in this country. It would be nice if you agreed with me.

Because we could have a better time living if we got rid of the problems. Changing America to Freedonia is the beginning.

Do you think that a two-party system exists in the United States? Why don’t the Green Party or the Libertarians have a say in national politics?

What if the two-party system was one party with two names?

And, yes, sometimes the party’s decisions are openly nefarious, and the outcomes of those decisions are extremely unpleasant. Nobody wants to go back to what we had a few years ago except bigots, those who choose capitalism over freedom, and confused people who do not know that Jesus was not political.

The naysayers’ reply:

We’ve been living in America for quite some centuries and everybody’s used to it. We know about the ugly American, the typical American, and the geniuses who win many more Nobel prizes than any other country by far. We know that our culture is adored — so leave it alone — we are what we are; people worldwide see us as individuals — not as the cogs of an empire crushing other nations for its endeavors looking for gratitude and praise in return.

Imagine if we accept the idea that we are contributing to the pain of Indigenous people by celebrating Thanksgiving, contributing to the pain of people of color (BIPOC) everywhere by continuing a system that glorifies this country at the expense of those who were systematically slaughtered and enslaved for its development.

The systematically slaughtered, enslaved, built this country made to order.

And we have that infrastructure that today.

Let’s honor prisoners of the United States. Many of them are in prison because they were exploited. Prisoners throughout history built pyramids and highways. We owe our road trips to chain gangs of prisoner labor.

It is evil to follow law and order devised by someone else when it is not equally imposed and when it is too harsh. America has been too punitive for centuries.

If we made enough noise about it, we would all be talking about the United States getting a new nickname. After all, we are a dynamic country of artists, doctors, workers, lawyers, and scientists — and we constantly change because everybody everywhere is constantly changing. Why not accept that all of us are equal, and for this country to move toward demonstrating this fact, we have to lift everybody to the same level of life.

Freedonia is the next step toward reaching that goal.

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Matt Peterson

Matt Peterson

I write at the intersection of interest and pressing need.