My Canadian blogger friend, Anvil Cloud, posted a lovely and neighborly "Happy 4th of July" aimed at us Americans who scan his blog. In response to his post, I commented on his blog with my own feelings about the Fourth of July as an American inside the belly of the beast. Here is the text of my response:
"Wow, Anvilcloud. After writing a fairly anti-American note on my own blog today, I surf over here to your appreciation of us folks. Food for thought.
"I appreciate your enthusiasm and support for us Americans, but also remind you that there is much more to the story than this.
"Our country is founded on the exploitation and slaughter of millions of Native Americans. We have exploited migrant labor since our inception, migrants who built our roads, bridges, skyscrapers and railroads. Now those individuals grow our food, clean our houses and do all of the menial labor that we are too good for.
"Our country has instigated coups and civil wars, divided peoples of many countries against one another, undermined true democracies, and stuck its nose in many unwanted places, Iraq included. We created the seedbeds for mass slaughter and unrest in many Central American counries, installed CIA-backed dictators, and silently colluded with drug lords in Columbia and Afghanistan. We were best friends with Saddam Hussein for many years, selling him the chemical weapons which he used on his own people with our prior knowledge. We installed the Shah of Iran in order to counterbalance fundamentalism in that country, a move which has had no positive outcome of any kind, especially taking into consideration the recent elections there.
"As a people, I feel that my country is haughty, self-centered, egocentric, nationalistic, and currently bordering on fascist in its ideology and outlook. Based upon our Gross Domestic Product, we actually give pitifully small amounts towards debtor nations and those suffering from famine, war, and natural disasters.
"I highly recommend that you read A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn for a true accounting of our origins and deeds since the 18th century. Sorry to burst your bubble, but this southern neighbor of yours is not what it seems, and my shame at being American is enormous at this time.
"Thank you for your sentiments and praise, but I also encourage you to look deeper and see the real face of my devolving nation.
"All the best, today and every day to my Canadian friend."