of Atonement.

August 8, 2010


Recently I bought a new backpack. This, because it is important to me to be in a position to scorn all the Americans abroad that would opt to display the flag of another Country on their own backpacks. Either out of embarrassment or in hopes of avoiding having to represent or defend.
That they would go to such measures, is in some way, a declaration of responsibility on their part for that which they would avoid having to explain.
That, or they are just fucking pussies.
I am in no way a supporter of the current policies or paths my Country now embarks. Domestically or abroad.
What I am though, is responsible for them.
I am an American. I am wholly responsible for it’s actions. The system in place allows for dissent and redress. If so offended, I might, by the rights allowed me, take steps to institute change. If, by doing nothing, the offenses or offenders remain, I am as responsible as if I’d authored them myself.
This nationalist streak in me is, at times, confounding. In the end, I chalk it up to nature. As a social animal (with latent island tendencies) I am part of a pack. Alpha or Omega, I am a participant.
What I am not…is sorry.
There are no apologies forthcoming. Not from me.
Not for today, but more importantly, yesterday. If responsible for the deeds of my Nation today, certainly not for those before, that I played no part, had no influence, or cannot change.
Perhaps, were I to allow or promote a sequel to the many, and often horrible, missteps of my fore-Fathers, having ignored history, an apology might be warranted.
Even then though…
The Turks need apologise to the Armenians. The Japanese for Nanking. The Germans for Hitler. The Holy See to Islam. The Romans to western civilization?
For what purpose? To what end?
My Grandfather perished in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Should I insist they find and march their distant offspring, before me, prostrate in contrition?? Will that spur me in turn to find and apologise to some decedent of an American atrocity?
I wish my Grandfather had survived. I wish I had been able to know him but no apology from some unwitting, non-participant, can make it so or have the least effect. If that we could sit together and observe, taking heed, “You know those things…that they did…let’s not do those. OK?.”
That might have some affect.

As a small boy, eating with my family in a cafeteria on base, I watched my Father get up from the table, without a word, and grimly walk over to a young Airman that, as it turns out, had an American flag stitched on the seat of his jeans. My Father lifted the young Airman from his seat and with little fanfare but some protest, repaired to the restroom. A few moments later my Father emerged with the offending patch in his hand and again sat to finish his meal. The Airman was nowhere to be seen. My Mother horrified, my Brother and I, in giggles (promptly hushed).
If I spy you, in some small cafe, replete in all your “American summering in Europe” regalia, with a Canadian patch on your backpack. You might expect the same.

7 Responses to “of Atonement.”

  1. The whole “I’m a Canadian” thing is for pussies.

    It’s hard for me to feel prideful or ashamed of my nation. I’m American because old rich imperialists named this land after a map maker that never put his feet on this soil and half a millennium later I came out of a vagina between imaginary borders.

    Not to say that I’m not enamored with my own regionally specific mores and ideals.

    I’ve always felt that the nation I belong to hasn’t been invented yet, but that globally, there are many that feel as I do and we are kin. The flip side to this is that there is also an enemy tribe somewhere that mine must destroy to thrive.

    One of the reasons I love the Internet so much is that it has hastened the discovery of this nation to which I was truly born.

    I dig your blog and didn’t immediately know who this was, so my response to your post includes a bit about “knowing me” you can disregard.

    • ofreh said

      When considered in any depth, I am of similar thinking in regards to any national affinity. As I said, confounding, somewhat. That my Country of record allows me the standard of living I’m accustomed, be it though the premise of community and participation or other means, provides for a degree of loyalty on my part.
      I like your idea of a forthcoming nation, undiscovered. Perhaps it will be the one devoid of humanity that you and I have a penchant of considering. See you there.

  2. K8 said

    The problem, being a Canadian, is that no one believes me. So yeah, stop stealing my flag you pussies. It’s hard enough differentiating myself from the infamy of America in foriegn countries without you guys causing mass confusion.

    • ofreh said

      You might have stopped with “The problem, being Canadian”
      You didn’t…so I’ll go on.
      I rub my hands in karmic delight at your having to insist you’re NOT an American.
      Just desserts for having abandoned our fearless leader in the Iraq debacle.
      If I see you at the Northwest Terminal in Amsterdam, Imma steal your patch and pin a “GW” in it’s place.

  3. K8 said

    I don’t know what GW is.

    re-reading sorry about your grandpa. I just read a Laura Hildebrand book about a true story of a guy caught by the Japanese. It was a very good book, let me think of the name…. anyway. Boy those POW prison guards were EVIL bastards “Unbroken” that’s it. Good book.

    My grandmother’s extended family, most of it, was killed by Hitler et al. Luckily for her and I she fell for a Brit.

    I digress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: