Are you sure you’re still American?
Well, of course, you’re not some patriotic sucker welling up or jumping up for cheesy Pavlovian cues of ersatz self-worth and belonging, like anthems or flags. Let’s just say you wound up on this land mass under US government control. What’s so American about that?
You can outlive your state-imposed identity. It’s always been that way. Back in the last dark ages, at some point, the peoples of the Mosel-Saar confluence ceased to be Romans and turned into Burghers of Trier. No one noticed at the time. Decades after Augusta Treverorum dropped back behind the frontier into Germany or Gaul, usurpers and invaders would say and do Roman-sounding things to seem legit, provincial swells would speak in paratactic pidgin Latin to show off. No one knew yet what they had become. Eventually, though, it dawns on you: Guntchram Boso has invaded your home and taken you hostage, the King just set your house on fire to free you, and you see that life has overwhelmed the Roman niceties of your thought. Gregory of Tours may chronicle it in his stilted Latin, but you know you’re not a Roman anymore.
We’re encouraged to ruminate about The Spirit of America, but it’s really quite cut-and-dried. Back in 1951 CIA PSYWAR apparatchiks roped in DoD’s freewheeling propagandists and set up a committee to create American culture once and for all. They wrote the Ur-text of American values, that timeless affirmation of American freedom, PSB…