With Independence Day approaching--234 years since we told the British it was real, it was fun, but not real fun, and time for us to move out of its basement and get our own place--Americans everywhere are gearing up for our many traditions. Namely, blowing crap up with fireworks, grilling some serious meat, and getting good and properly tanked up. The fireworks symbolize the explosiveness of our independent ways, the meat symbolizes the abundance of bison we found in this country--sorry, bison! You should have invented guns first--and the heavy drinking symbolizes our willingness to get plum blotto.
Let's look at the report card:
1) This country has been a land of opportunity for millions of people over the years. Are we perfect? Nope, but we're always improving and still far better than the native countries our immigrants come from. Sucks about how the natives were treated, though.
2) Our wars have been a mixed bag. Some were tragic disasters--the Civil War, Vietnam--and some were necessary to turn the Germans from warmongering testosterone freaks to the lovable chocolate makers that they are today. One thing is for certain--we make better movies about those wars than our opponents did. Would you really want to see a Mexican version of the battle of the Alamo?
3) We've had some really, really lousy presidents over the years. Every time someone gets pissed at Bush or Obama I try to remind them that we had guys like James Buchanan who did nothing to stop the country from tearing apart during his term, or guys like Andrew Jackson who basically slaughtered Indians when he wasn't getting into duels with guys who questioned his wife's highly questionable honor. (Jackson would have been a lousy next door neighbor) And even the overrated FDR has the distinction of imprisoning thousands of American citizens without trial whose only crime was being of Japanese descent. But we should also remember Calvin Coolidge, who never slaughtered people, or Gerald Ford, who never invaded any major countries. They need credit for the atrocities they didn't commit!
4) It's sort of blasphemous to say this, but our flag really could use some cool symbols. Mozambique has a freaking assualt rifle on their flag, for crying out loud! Can't we put a Ford Mustang or hula dancer on it?
5) The eagle is a pretty cool symbol, but an alligator would go further towards that whole "don't screw with me" look. I mean, if I'm knee deep in a swamp and saw an eagle, I'd be all "hey, look, eagle" but if I saw a gator I'd be more like "hey, look, I wet myself".