Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam.

Good morning, Uncle Sam. Today, you turn 238 years old. My, that is a long time. And it has been one hell of a ride, hasn’t it?

You have done a bit of everything during this time. Some things were bad, some things were ugly (depending on who you ask), some things were great.  For better -sometimes for worse-, your footprints run deep throughout recent history.

First, you got greedy. Just a li’l bit. It happens, you were very young when you began your expansionist efforts. Which were successful, I might add. Hey now, no hard feelings. Honestly, I find it endearing that so many of your cities and states just north of the Rio Grande have latino names such as Ganado, Hidalgo (in Texas), and many saintly names too, like Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Francisco, even Santa Fe in… wait for it… New Mexico. It’s pretty cool, I think. Makes me feel like we are Siamese twins.

Ah, but you didn’t stop there. In comes the Monroe Doctrine, and with it you attempted to gain new territory. Sometimes you succeeded, sometimes you failed, sometimes you gained land that was later relinquished. Land or not, those efforts to police the world haven’t really stopped, have they? Much could be said about that… but not today.

That was the America I knew during my formative years. The America that stomped into our land and forced several Mexican cadets to die in Chapultepec. The America that bombed two cities leaving an Asian country scarred, the America that has not ceased to war in decades (Vietnam, Korea, the Persian Gulf)… the America that got into nearly every aspect of our lives. Then, fate had me migrate into the country and start a new life (before you get the wrong idea, let me clarify I did it legally), and my real exposure to your culture began. It was deeply flawed however, as my life while I was within American territory was not pleasant (you are not to blame for that in any way). It got so bad, that I had to fall back to my homeland in hopes of returning some day. That was also borked (again, not your fault), and I was unable to make my return… for the time being.

But there were things that stuck with me: your language, your culture, your kinks. Thanks to the internet, I was able to delve deeper into your personality and identity (far, far more than I was able to while I lived among your people). How? Videogames. I have given substantial mention to my World of Warcraft habit, as well as my roleplaying. This habit began about two years before I left the country, but it didn’t really take off until I was back home. To clarify: I did not have any American friends until after I left the country. Weird, huh? Maybe that will give you some insight as to why I left. It’s something I ponder on often. I had to leave (and stay gone), so that my life would begin to take off.

Anyway, throughout my strengthened foray into (internet-fueled) social life, into gaming and roleplaying, I met some of the most amazing people ever. A soldier who deserves every letter of that title, and his wife, a lady that every Army family would be blessed to have; a theater producer; more than a few game developers; artists, both professional and amateur, all incredibly talented. Martial artists, outdoors specialists, you name it, I’ve met one. In sum, I have been blessed to be around (well, not really around, yet) a bunch of sensitive, amazingly creative souls with the absolute best sense of humor I have ever found. Oh yes, that is one of the things I love most about you, America. You have the best sense of humor. You laugh at yourself, on a personal, state and nation level, without regrets. You have some of the quickest minds out there, and I don’t mean scientists or innovators (though you have those too!). I mean the sharpest and most irreverent, like Colbert, Stewart, Parker & Stone…

Yes, I love a good satire, but that is not all you are. You are Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and you are host to the UN. And before that, you were haven, you welcomed people from all around the world with open arms (now less than before, perhaps, but that’s another story). You are a pioneer, you gave us the internet, the social media, the videogames that I love to play and which connect people from all over the world in pursuit of a common (if fictitious) goal. Yours was the KKK but so was Martin Luther King. Yours were the bombs that were dropped in Japan, as yours was D-Day. Yours were the Japanese internment camps and the Upstairs Lounge Fire… as yours is George Takei.

Yours are the conventions that gather bloggers, gamers, fantasy enthusiasts… yours is Tesla Motors, a leading firm in automotive innovation (I would so love to own one of their cars someday…). Yours are TED, Wikimedia, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, imgur, Reddit… and of course, WordPress, which enables me to share this thoughts with the world.

A dear (American) friend, said once that I am American Light: All the flavor, half the calories. I don’t mind anyone disagreeing, but, honestly, I love that label. Because I love you, America. I love you with your flaws and your many virtues. I love you like a homeland is loved, because I know you, and knowing is loving. Most often I refer to you as the (United) States, because I make the distinction between the continent and you, just like I make a distinction between my accent and yours. However, you are dear to me, and the name most used for you is to me a term of endearment. Today I say, happy birthday, America the Beautiful

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

See you next week.

By the way, Canada, I’m sorry I missed your birthday. I haven’t known you very long yet. Mark my words though, next year… next year…

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One Response to “Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam.”

  1. At a time when Americans are embarrassed to say God bless America, I thank you. You have made me slightly less embarrassed to be a proud American. I love you, my little Mexi-American.

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