Being American

With the crisis going on with our country rapidly accelerating its long decent into authoritarianism, I am finally beginning to identify as “American.” For as long as I can remember, my nationality was not an attribute I gave much credence to or thought about. If a Martian were to land here and ask me who I am, “an American” would be pretty far down on the list of things I would have considered useful information to communicate. As much as I don’t think of myself categorically as “the type of person who is/does…” I’m probably more inclined to describe myself in terms of ancestry, socioeconomic background, or musical tastes well before talking about my country. But I see now that that is because I lived in a state of relative comfort and ease in relation to it. Now as the threat of totalitarian rule over our crumbling freedoms grows larger, I find myself thinking “Holy shit, that is un-American,” with the tacit implication that I am an American and I need to call out and defend against those threats to our order and way of life whose freedoms I have enjoyed—carelessly before—and insist on making available to others and to future generations.