Happy (fucking) 4th

Alright, it's time for my annual "Fuck this goddamn shit" post again.

... Actually, I just went and checked and apparently I haven't done this since 2014.

So, anyway, at risk of winding up on some lists (if there's any chance I haven't yet -- have I told the story here about that time a friend told me they were worried I was going to get black-bagged by the CIA? I wasn't, like, a quarter as radical then as I am now if that gives you any sense of how normal gov't intervention against oppositional politics feels in the US) my feeling about the US is that it really ought to disintegrate into its component states. Like, imagine how the political landscape of these states would change if, for example, Texas actually had to make some concessions to retain allegiance to California and New York? Those being the three states that combined make up about a third of the US's GDP.

But more importantly, I think America's nationalist narrative is irredeemably anti-justice. 

The 4h of July is a pretty good day to talk about this, actually. Because let's talk about what this celebration is. It's about the Declaration of Independence, sure, but really it's a celebration of war. Apart from the cookout aspect the major components of an American Independence Day celebration are the National Anthem and fireworks. The National Anthem is a song about how affirming, positive, and patriotic it feels to watch shit explode. And the fireworks are a ritual simulation of the battle that song describes.

Our founding documents, particularly the constitution, are built on (a.) institutionalizing inequality, and (b.) denying the existence of that inequality. Ignoring our systemic problems isn't just something America does lately, it's part of the basic mechanics of the federation. 

And we have whole religious movements in the US that believe the constitution and the declaration of independence were inspired by God, and are therefore holy scripture. Sure, the constitution can be amended, but prior to the amendment actually occurring any argument that it should be reads to people who hold these beliefs as blasphemous -- literally.

And there's the whole hero worship thing with the founding fathers and presidents. Honestly, I envy the UK with this one -- having a virtually-entirely symbolic royal family creates a separation I see as really valuable for a functional democracy. That is, the head of government is not the same person as the head of state. Not that it's working out optimally for the UK right now, but at least in theory, the Queen can smile and wave and wear a crown and generally perform Britishness while the Prime Minister can get on with the business of actually running a democratic country, which in practical terms is fundamentally about compromising values. 

In the US, we have the same person for both of those jobs, and that means our policy must, on some level, reflect our identity -- and our identity boils down to "The country that violently overthrew an oppressive empire in the name of democracy." Violence is baked into our narrative, and our system has no vents for that narrative to be performed without doing actual violence.

(I would like to clarify that I think representative democracy in general isn't the best system we could be using, but if we have to have one I do think we'd be better off with one that has a symbolic head of state who has no power to act in any way without permission from the government.)

This is all not to mention how ridiculous it is to try to retrofit an 18th century government for 21st century applications rather than just writing one from scratch that takes into account things like, idk, encryption? The internet? Forms of transportation that exceed the max speed of a horse? And I've only barely alluded to the fact that the US governmental narrative and structure is deeply white-supremacist. 

So -- like, fuck this goddamn shit.