July 4, 2014

7 Incredibly Stupid Criticisms of the United States

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Assorted Politics,What the hell? — Katrina @ 2:13 pm

The USA has a lot of problems. Dear sweet God, are there a lot of problems! And that’s just what we know about. There’s also problems and major flaws we don’t even know about, and others we just don’t know the extent. So many many flaws this country of ours has!

These are not among them…

“When are you going to switch to the metric system like the rest of the world?”

We’ll switch to the metric system (which we learned in school alongside imperial measurements, by the way) when the UK, Ireland, Japan, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand start driving on the correct side of the road “like the rest of the world”.

“The national anthem mentions war and bombs! It’s the only one in the world that does!”

First of all, do you think Canada is the only other country in the world with a national anthem? Because it’s not, and plenty of national anthems are pretty bloody and belligerent. Also, have you actually listened to the Star Spangled Banner? It’s about our flag not getting torn to shreds in a battle. It’s about surviving being attacked, not us doing the attacking.

“You don’t speak any language other than English!”

A couple things. One, we’re a big country. We’re not exactly Switzerland, where you step any which way you’re suddenly in France, Germany, or Italy, making it wise to speak French, German, and Italian. We step any which way, and we’re most likely still in our country. Or into Canada, who also speaks English. Really, there’s not much necessity in speaking another language unless one is traveling. Or stepped into Mexico. Also, that said, we don’t speak only English. We also speak Spanish. There’s a pretty huge chunk of our population that is Hispanic. The sticker I got after voting last week (and every single other time I have voted) says “I Voted” and right under it says “Yo Voté”. And the ballot itself was bilingual. Know why? Because those Spanish-speaking Hispanic people are just as American as the English-speaking non-Hispanic white people. Which brings me to…

“‘Murica!” *points to image of 600-pound white redneck on a stars-and-stripes-decorated scooter eating bacon by the handful and clutching a gun and a Bible with the other arm*

Know who else is “‘murican”? Neil deGrasse Tyson. I mean, why not? He was born in the United States. Grew up here. Got his education here. Lives here. Yet somehow he’s not as American as the average uneducated obese conservative. Why do white Christian conservatives have a monopoly on being American? Why are they special? Sure, there are American rabid gun nuts, but the anti-gun activists are also American. There are Americans screaming for English to be our “official” language, but you know who else is American? The aforementioned Spanish speakers. And the Chinese speakers. And most especially the Navajo speakers. I mean, if we’re a nation of immigrants, let’s actually acknowledge those immigrants (and the ones who were here for much longer like the Navajo!) as American! Otherwise, the implication is that the only “real” Americans are white, which is obviously racist as hell. (And fatphobic and classist.)

“The rest of the world loves soccer/football, and you don’t and are bad at it.”

Right, because our sizable soccer-loving Hispanic population aren’t “real” Americans (see above), and it’s not like we had a team in the World Cup, or that at my work there’s been huge crowds gathered watching the World Cup matches on a big screen, or city parks full of people watching, or that there are at least as many kids playing soccer as there are playing baseball. Oh wait…

“Why do you spell words differently from other English-speaking countries?”

Because Noah Webster. But besides that, do you really think the British, Canadians, and Australians all use the same words and expressions? And don’t get me started on the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation differences among Spanish-speaking countries that make us dropping the U from the word “color” look like nothing. Ironically, this criticism comes from a lack of awareness of outside of the United States. Which brings me at last to…

“You have no awareness of anything outside your country and think everything is about you.”

Okay, this one is true, though is improving significantly. I’m not sure it’s really much different from others, though. How much does the average Bolivian think about what’s going on in Sweden? Then again, considering our place in the world, it’s probably more important we be mindful of others, given that we’re the ones who vote on our elected officials, who make the international relations decisions. But, that said, and the reason this item is on this list, however bad Americans might be about assuming the world revolves around us, the British are and have long been about a hundred times worse. Hey, where the hell do you think we got it from in the first place? So if a British person makes this criticism about the United States, I’m just going to laugh in their face.

Now that’s out of the way, have an awesome Independence Day! And let’s go out and worry about fixing the issues that actually matter.

This has been Day 42 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 14.

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