The American Way

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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"If we're fucked up, you're to blame." Right"¦ Blink 182 sings these words in their song, "Anthem Part II," a song of teen angst, anger, and repression. Also known in the society of today as selling music to kids who are too young and impressionable to understand that these lyrics are bullshit, a perfect picture of the "American Way." On September 11th, a horrible disaster took place. Airplanes were flown into important buildings, and many people died. These lives that were lost were lives of innocence, people who had no idea what was going to come upon them in the next minutes of their lives. America watched in horror, disgust, and disbelief as these lives were taken from their daily routine. A young man in Oregon was brushing his teeth, carrying on his daily routine as a receptionist in New York burned silently, her flesh deteriorating as her soul had already left her body.

However, there are people around this wonderful country of freedom, liberty, and justice who believe that we need to find the cause of this sadism and bring these people "justice" for their losses. The latest Schwarzenegger movie, "Collateral Damage," could not have come at a better time. The tale reeks of parallel events, a terrorist attack from a group of foreign terrorists who do not appreciate America's "generosity." Schwarzenegger is a blue-collar firefighter whose wife and son died in the attack, so he seeks revenge in the blood of the man who organized the attack. The movie appeals to the helpless feeling that has hatched itself inside the hearts of Americans everywhere who feel that they have the responsibility of saving this ailing country, but is this what we truly need? Do we need to run around like action heroes, trailing terrorists who attack our country out of principles? How hypocritical"¦.we believe that our country is in the right because we "help" other countries, donate money, clothes, food, entertainment, and send our missionaries to "teach" them religion. We are indoctrinating these countries with our philosophies, our culture, and our half-assed way of life. Isn't it only human nature to defend your own beliefs, your own way of life, much as the Spanish did in the Inquisition, the Christians did in the Crusades, and the American and the French did in their respective revolutions? So why do we seem so surprised when Osama Bin Laden becomes disgusted with the sex and greed that seems to rule our country through movies, television, news, politics, and everything else in American society that is bought, packaged and slapped with a price tag that is 500% higher than that of what it was purchased for, perpetuating the lazy cycle that our country has slumped into? Don't get me wrong, Bin Laden is the epitome of all that is non-American and misinterpreted, and obviously, he does not deal with anger well. So, throw him in a prison cell with the rest of the anger management bunch and forget about him as America does so well. These lives, the thousands of people who were murdered or injured in the attacks, will not be forgotten. Their existence will continue in our minds, and will always be shoved back there in that little part that remembers all of our darkest thoughts, along with where we were when we heard the news about Kennedy, when we learned about Pearl Harbor, and how we felt when we first heard the story of Hitler and the Holocaust. We remember these things, as hard as we try to repress them, and we should not, because it is these things that should make us question, "Why did all these things happen?" Our "American Way" teaches us to blame whoever "caused" it, to punish them, and then push it out of our minds before we have a chance to even think about what we have done, and why we have done it. But in the end, we are happier this way, aren't we?