I referenced ‘Merica in a Facebook comment last weekend, and was accused of using it in a derogatory way. Okay – I did sorta kinda use it in a derogatory way – I referenced stupid lower-middle class ‘Merica as being responsible for the rise of a certain Presidential candidate. That’s kind of a rude and unfair generalization. What I really should have said is that people aren’t making educated decisions about the implications and consequences of electing this individual. Full disclosure: my actual comment: The stupid dumbass Americans from lower middle class 'Merica. The ones who follow the crowd and don't really "think." It's scaring the hell out of me.
It might not have been my finest comment. Needless to say, a “friend” reposted my comment on her wall in a very unflattering post, which was followed by a shockingly more vile comment from her husband which I won’t dare repeat. To be fair, she never mentioned me. But clearly it was meant for me. And then she unfriended me. In a couple of PMs, I reached out to apologize for anything I said that offended her, that I believed she took it out of context, and told her I just wished she’d told me directly that my comment upset her. I was sincere. Her response? 'Merica is used alot by Veterans (close friends of ours) and I don't stand for it to be thrown in their faces and calling them or anyone else that used it low-middle class. I'm tired of people in this country disrespecting vets, stepping on the flag, etc. just because it's their "right" to do so and calling it liberalism. It's just better at this point for me to unfriend those that are making statements like this, I don't want to see it.
I was so confused by this that I shared it with Todd, to be sure I understood what it meant. Was I being accused of calling veterans low-middle class? Was I disrespecting veterans by using the term ‘Merica? I never mentioned veterans in my offensive comment, but is that implied if I’m using it? How did veterans become a part of this conversation anyway? Do I symbolically step on the flag by saying ‘Merica? Am I a liberal if I use the term, or am I a Republican? I’m still confused.
Since I’m so obviously ignorant, I googled ‘Merica this morning. According to Urban Dictionary:
The top definition – America. It’s considered a slang term for The United States of America. There are also other ways of spelling it – such as ‘Murica, ‘Murika, and Amurica.
#2 – “A whole new way of saying America. …Merica is the whole experience of America summed up in a stereotypical way. Eating anything deep-fried, shooting shotguns….. People often say it when they see Americans doing things only Americans can do, such as: trimming a hedge with a chainsaw…. and driving tractors in the middle of a freeway. It is often expressed in a proud and commonly exaggerated manor.” Another definition calls it the redneck/hicks version of America. (Urban Dictionary misspelled "manner" by the way. Which really annoys me.)
It also hails from George W.’s “country” accent (their words, not mine. I’d have chosen Texan, myself. Unless Texan is somehow not PC and then I guess I should've just said, Texas accent), wherein the A comes across as silent and thus we hear only, merica. Which – by the way – I found very endearing about him.
Finally, still another definition is “a term used by the ignorant masses who have no self-respect, or respect for our founding fathers.” This definition is kind of confusing too, in the context of my comment and the subsequent backlash. Does this mean I’m “the ignorant masses” for using the term? Or was this definition incorrectly written and they meant to say, “used for the ignorant masses”? By either definition, it’s kind of insulting. In the context of my friend’s statement, would that then mean that veterans are the ignorant masses? Because that’s just all kinds of wrong.
I’m still confused. Doesn’t everyone use chainsaws to cut their hedges? I thought they did that in Disney. Are Disney landscapers rednecks? And what’s wrong with riding a tractor on the highway? That would be pretty badass, not to mention fun, pissing off all the speeders. And I love deep fried food. Does that make me a redneck? I better Google Jeff Foxworthy and brush up on my definitions.
I am genuinely sorry for making an ignorant statement. I’m like that meme that says I don’t think about what I’m going to say because I like to be just as surprised as everyone else. Except that I’m not shameless. It’s no excuse, but I often blurt out stupid and/or inappropriate things and then mutter to myself – kind of like when Baby told Johnny she carried the watermelon.
Still – for the public record – I don’t think lower-middle class people are stupid. There are plenty of stupid people out there representing all classes. I do not dislike rednecks, nor was I implying that rednecks are stupid. Again, see above. I would never use “liberalism” as my excuse to say or do something inherently wrong. My often foolish ineptitude and undisciplined tongue are to blame. I have never, or would ever, stomp on the American flag. There’s a little 3 x5 flag on a broken wooden stick in my drawer because I just can’t throw it in the trash can. I don’t know what to do with it, but I just can’t throw it away – kind of like your kid’s dried up umbilical cord.
I did not – nor would I ever – say anything derogatory about veterans. I have friends and beloved family who are or were veterans. I bow down to them for doing something I’d never have the courage to do. I also don’t feel the need to defend myself at length about this. However, if you knew that I’m immersed in grant work right now and the group I’m currently working for – you’d know just how ridiculous this whole conversation is.