THE REAL AMERICA
Way the fuck back in the year 2000, me & Katie figured out that we were going to stay in the USA & do our thing, so we had to accept that despite being born in Oakland & Berkeley in the progressive milieu, we were Americans & we needed to love it & make it better. After sealing the deal on the 4th of July by getting matching anchor tattoos & watching fireworks while smoking weed & drinking on the street at Jack London Square - 9-11 happened. It wasn't an easy time to be trying to love the country. The trauma of the World Trade Center being struck by jets & then collapsing like demolitioned buildings & the following lashing out & dishonest funneling of this energy into war with Iraq made for a really ugly scene & brought out a lot of the things that made it difficult to accept being American.
But - having already decided to accept that we were Americans & work with it - we continued forwards into establishing what America meant & how could this be communicated to people in a way that they could understand & emulate? Mysteriously - or not - being an American ended up being similar to being a Punk, in that it was a place to be yourself - but simultaneously unite with other people being themselves under some kind of American cultural identity. Being an American or a Punk or a Metal Head is a place to put other things behind you - a place to be reborn. Whether it is wearing a crown of liberty or liberty spikes, the superficial trappings of the thing are just ways to signal that you're down - you're like everyone else - but also, you are yourself & this the place to do that. Leave your racial, sexual, gender, national, religious, political or philosophical identity behind & take on the mantle of being an American. We are all the same. We are all different.
In this way so many of the limitations of the nation state & national identity get in the way of being an American - normal human tendencies get in the way - but these things must be taken into account, dealt with & we must move forward. This is all to say - being an American should MEAN SOMETHING - outside of jingoism, nationalism or buffoonish bluster & hubris. But what does it mean?
America is the place to come & be reborn, or if you were born here - to leave the circumstances of your birth behind & do your thing & share it with other people. The government must serve us in this mission & the people should get over their desire to control other people with unAmerican control-freak tendencies & encourage each other to be successful in whatever we are trying to do. The cops shouldn't kill the people they serve. America shouldn't be able to go to war with other countries except with bubblegum, blue-jeans, burgers, big-tits & a bit of Rock&Roll. The politicians should serve the people in this pursuit of making new stuff & exploring ourselves as people. The last thing it should be is boring, stifling, judgmental, calcified. It should be a place where people know a good hot dog when they eat one, a place where people know what a good movie is & won't settle for less, a place where you can drink on the street & people will take care of you, a place where you can walk down the street with cleavage down to your belly button & get exactly the amount of cat-calling you want. A place where you can change your name & tell a new story, where you can do it. America needs to be a place where people will pick you back up when you fall & be above kicking you when you're down. This America doesn't exist except in our minds & in our projects - but this thing can exist & it can exist all over the world - it is an attitude - it is a way of being - it is a way of doing things - it is a way of life! I said it so it's going to happen - it's just a question of when you get on board.
The Real America is waiting for you! Make it yours!
- Sean Äaberg