How I learned to stop worrying and love America

Nick Baker

(This column is a response to Anastasia Spytsya’s Feb. 25 column, “Country first.”)

I have never been one to call out a fellow columnist on, well, anything. This may be in part because I, perhaps more than anyone on the Forum staff, tend to write mindless dribble and ramblings in this space when I have nothing better to discuss, as evidenced by my last column, which glorified a Dolph Lundgren film.

But last Thursday, while working my cash register over at Munchies, I threw up in my mouth a little when I read Spytsya’s column.

The column was simple blind adoration. The author sounded like a fawning schoolgirl, praising America as if it were a freely acting entity making all the right decisions for us.

Now I do appreciate the freedoms this country allows. My entire future, assuming it has anything to do with journalism, is predicated on the idea that I have certain freedoms, among them my speech and my writings.

I could only sneer and shake my head when I started reading the piece, but continued through until I came across this line:

“Honoring America is like honoring your parents. They gave you life, but America decided for you how you’ll live your life: The way you want to.”

And then… Uh, uh, Kev, get a plate, uh…


The whole cheese pizza.

Look what you did you little jerk.

After I cleaned myself up, I got back to reading and found another gem:

“If you have your stuff unpacked in the U.S., you might as well want to unpack your mind. If you hate this country, I can recommend you move to Canada, where they don’t care about anything because no one cares for them.”


Uh. Round two.


I won’t even begin to delve into questioning what in the hell Spytsya based her incredibly narrow assessment of our northern neighbors on, but I will take issue with the rest of that statement.

This nationalist thinking helps mold the target demographic for a convenient, perfectly packaged version of American history.

So excuse me while I try to toss in some loose ends for those people.

There is, in no particular order, the falsified Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, an illegal war in Iraq (for the second time), the dubious involvement of the FBI in the lives of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Huey Newton, the pumping of crack and assault weapons into the nation’s ghettos by the CIA through Freeway Ricky Ross, the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs, the United Fruit Company’s stranglehold on banana republics all around South and Central America, the fact that many of our early presidents were slaveholders (victims of circumstance, surely), “free-speech” zones, Rodney King, the Iran-Contra affair, the backing of countless brutal dictatorships in developing nations…

Pardon, I still can’t seem to get rid of that vomit taste.

OK, back to the list.

The internment of Japanese and German Americans during World War II, the lack of public funding in inner-city schools, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” an economic structure that rewards the world’s Bernie Madoffs, the two atomic bombs we dropped (and the others we simply “tested” in places like Bikini Atoll), the systematic removal of Native Americans from their land (and then subsequently granting autonomy so they could fend for themselves), Jim Crow laws, the election of David Duke, ATF and the Branch Davidians, the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Grenada, Cambodia, Jackson State, Kent State…

Whowee. And we could sit here for days.

Spytsya’s column concluded with the famous JFK quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

In a world of doing, I think Bad Religion said it better:

“Mark David did it to John, and maybe Jack did it to Marilyn, but he did it to South Vietnam. For beauty and glory, for money, love and country, now everybody’s doing it. Don’t do that to me.”

So keep on doing, not asking, not thinking, and we will achieve that evasive unity.

It is the American Way.

Nick Baker is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact him at [email protected].