Pax Americana

by dschapman

Now let me tell you about the country of my birth: America.

America is a very beautiful country, and poorly understood. I could talk about America for days, because I am daily amazed by it. I can talk about it so well because I know it, and I know it well enough to love it, love it for its goodness, for it is the world to me, literally, the shape of my heart, and my plaything. I have been shaped in its loving image. I love it, and I cherish it, and I call myself, American, because that is my name, and my make, as a mortal.

It is a mythical country, even I can hardly believe it, do not always know quite what to make of it. I have studied its shapes and its contours, I have lived its ways and experienced the world through its worldview, and I have been awed by the life that its led for me. America is a prolific place – a modern Rome, the neo-classical republic of  a brave, new human race, a slightly more modern society, and our identity is one of the most memorable to ever arise in the universe; our inheritance is grand, our vision expansive, our destiny is written word for word in the stars, infallible, guided by the hand of a good and benevolent god. We have our heroes, and our martyrs, and we have changed forever the shape and the scope of the human condition, the relationship of life on this world. We have cultivated the entire globe in our image, and within our borders built a magnificent sprawl which defies explanation.

The history of America is steeped in a perfect form of legend, with intimate heroes and masculine epics, divided into infinite areas of interest and depth and significance. There was the city on the hill, with the witches and the natives; there were the cannibals shipwrecked on their island, tiny, warlike colonies; there was a sultry, jungle-like world called the South, the old and ancient South, romantic, tragic, and shrouded in gold, art, and slavery – it was a strange and mystic time and place in the universe, well-defined, culturally supreme, brutal and severe, animalistic, literary, familial and rich. And there was the West, the wild frontier, the manifest destiny of heroes and heretics and prospectors, full of gunslingers, caravans, monsters – a world of tall tales, larger-than-life figures and deeds, posses and outlaws, horse thieves and card sharks and whores. America is a rolling, good-natured land of abundance and love, of golden fields of precious grain, soft white tufts of Southern cotton, rivers and mountains and ancient red forests, deserted steppes and plateaus on which grey wolves perch and howl – flocks of angels fill the skies…

America’s culture is, and always has been, one of popular, unparalleled, humanist beauty; conceptual, cultural, practical, and biblical. From her inception, wave after wave of change has brought successive iterations of beauty, compounding and collecting together, myths and actualizations of myths, one century after enough. The first few centuries were overrun by romantic, mysterious heroism, and the later ones of progress, war, and civility. But it is the 20th century where America comes into her own, full-breasted, many-feathered, and proud. America as portrayed in the artistic and popular mind – her famous literature, her classic films, her original music – is America as it really is – timeless, pure, and significant, a state of mind and a mode of being, a presence in the scheme, poetic, American. America wrote Moby Dick, and America gave birth to James Dean, and America invented the banjo. American produced the modern library, the language of the thinking man, the modern concept of luxury, friendly, universal. A literary romance, a tale of greed and depravity, of loss and of redemption, the Southern family tragedy; a drama, a comedy, Paul Newman, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, adapted for the screen by Bill Faulkner, or the poetic James Agee himself; blues, jazz, big band, swing, Dean Martin, new wave, rap, it speaks to me, the poets sing their spoken words, harmonious, divine. All is good, all is beautiful, all is spread in unlimited splendor across the world, clouds of data and information rush to inherit the earth, streams of color and words flow freely to the homes of millions, voices and fragrances and lights twice as bright as the sun cast at will over every new city; land of the metropolis, land of the small town, land of the frontier; it is a land worth living in. Yes; I am an American, and I was born and I will die American. I have cooked and eaten apple pies, and I have eaten roadside hamburgers. I have watched television for days on end, and I have loved it, and I have desired, and lusted, and hunted, and attained, and I have basked in the delirious mass of goods of products, the entertaining swath of society that is laid like an eager maiden before me, waiting for my plunging will; the rampant and guiltless consumerism compels us, as it has compelled all mankind, and mankind is made more beautiful. This is capitalism: it is an orgasm, explosive and divine, and it may not last forever. Indulge in the wealth of the world while you can, because it will not last forever, and you will miss it when its gone. Love your home, appreciate your people, the names that you know, the places you’ve been to, and acknowledge the greatness that looms, overbearing, over every soul in America, because it is the fruit of mankin