Democratic Underground  

The America I Know
May 28, 2004
By Violet Lake

We were formally introduced when I was six years old. The occasion was an evening ride from Kennedy Airport to New Jersey, including a brief but unforgettable tour of Manhattan. If you've ever been there, you know that Manhattan is an impressive sight, especially in the evening; it's a "living" monument to civilization on a scale so breathtaking that it rivals nature. For me, the experience was an introduction to a new world of possibilities, revealed that night as a gigantic machine made of stone, steel, glass, and light - designed to make dreams come true.

In the years and decades following that night, I got to know America quite well; in fact, we became inseparable. Along the way, I even managed to learn some of her most elusive secrets: things that until recently, I believed were common knowledge. Apparently, the things I learned are not common knowledge; if they were, I probably wouldn't feel compelled to compose this argument on her behalf. Sadly, she has strayed so far off course in the last few years that I'm finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile the America I grew to love, with the myopic tyrant she has been transformed into. It's distressing to see her fall prey to the primitive influences that make most other nations second-rate by comparison. America was designed to fulfill a higher purpose. I wouldn't be living here otherwise.

My mother and father chose to pursue the promise of a better life, in exchange for living our lives among our extended family. I'm sure it's one of the most difficult choices they've ever made. Remarkably, the majority of families are here as a consequence of the same choice. We are essentially a nation of immigrants, culled from humanity according to a distinct combination of character traits: a tendency to favor idealism, a fondness for adventure, the ability to adapt, and a willingness to work hard. This progressive collection of traits forms the basis of the celebrated "American character."

With such a choice selection of people, it's no coincidence that America has - in a relatively short period of time - transformed civilization. Studying how all the pieces came together, one begins to understand that America is a deliberate expression of human evolution. Most likely, she represents the first step in the de-tribalization of the human race. If this is true, it follows that her purpose is to serve as the laboratory, prototype, and fountainhead of a liberated, progressive, and united world.

Considering the lofty nature of America's assignment, it should come as no surprise that some of her citizens interpret their good fortune as a divine mandate to rule other peoples. They represent the regressive forces of civilization, whose discredited ideologies are clearly at odds with America's natural calling. Their contribution to American history reads like an encyclopedia of savagery: genocide, slavery, civil war, racism, bigotry, religious intolerance, xenophobia, and now tyranny and old-fashioned imperialism. The "regressives" are the proverbial wrench in America's gears. But they haven't been able to stop - much less change the direction of - her "gears"; instead, their influence has eroded over time.

Amazingly, regressives are ruling America at the moment. It's amazing that their coup succeeded; they demonstrated what a determined minority can accomplish in collusion with mass media - and big money. And it's amazing that they're still "leading" America, considering their undeniable record of disgraceful lies and miserable failures. As their situation becomes more desperate, the danger they pose is likely to increase, because they know that this is their last chance to change the direction of America's gears. Unfortunately, that can't be done without subverting the principles America was founded on, and revoking the hard-earned progress made toward their fulfillment. Unfortunately, they seem committed to doing whatever it takes to stay on top - even if it means forcing their beloved nation into a chasm wide enough to swallow a "nucular" hegemon.

If catastrophe does consume America, it's likely that her dream will survive, and eventually flourish elsewhere - probably in a more refined manner. But what a tragedy it would be... Like countless others, every fiber of my being is invested in living her dream - here and now.

Invariably, life in a new culture takes some getting used to, but America is arguably the most amenable culture. For my parents, adapting has been a gradual process, made easier by the increasingly multiethnic nature of American culture, and reinforced by a generous standard of living. Adapting has been considerably less complicated for my siblings and me; it didn't take long for us to become unquestionably American. My family's experience demonstrates the genius of American culture - which is the reason for its universal appeal. In the span of one generation, the gigantic dream machine made most of our dreams come true.

America, here's to you: may you continue to gracefully weather humanity's vices.

Violet Lake is an artist and software designer, living somewhere in Pennsylvania. Her e-mail address is

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