April 18 2012 10:25 AM

Remember, it goes both ways

Edwin Decker

I was at the bar, arguing with an ultra-right-wing, flag-lapel-pin-wearing idiot automaton about the lack of separation between church and state when he blurted, “If you don’t like this country as it was created, then leave!” 

Ah, yes, the classic “America, love it or leave it” retort. I actually hadn’t heard this one in a while, thinking it was finally discarded in favor of, you know, intelligent discourse. However, a quick Google search when I got home revealed that the Love-it-or-Leaviters are alive and well and still espousing Love It or Leave It theory (LILI) as if it were a golden gem of genius and not what it really is—an angry response for when you have no response to the brilliant point I just made.

I don’t know why I was surprised. “Love It or Leave It!” definitely belongs on the Greatest Hits album of the ultra-right, along with such other charttoppers as “Hit the Road Black (Ode to Obama),” “Global Warming’s a Joke,” “Fuck the Environmental Police” and the wildly popular anti-marijuana ballad, “Stairway to Heroin.”

“There’s a dealer who knows / pot smoking leads to harder drugs / and he’s plying a stairway to heroin” 

The phrase “America, love it or leave it” is what’s known as a false dilemma because it supposes only two options when actually they are bottomless. For instance, it’s entirely reasonable to “Love it and leave it.” You can also be mildly fond of it and stay. You can hate it, die and be buried here—the toxicity of your America-hating corpse seeping into the soil and contaminating it for eternity. And let’s not forget, “America: I don’t love it; I don’t hate it; I honestly don’t care one way or the other, but I ain’t leaving because ignorant, unsophisticated flag-sycophants don’t tell me where I get to live.”

There are just so many problems with LILI theory that it’s difficult to know where to begin. For one, anybody who wasn’t born with a ratty wad of used McCain / Palin campaign stickers for a brain knows that just because someone disagrees with his country doesn’t mean he doesn’t love it.

Secondly, why do you care what I think about America? Are you so insecure about the character of this nation that you must oversee how other people feel about it? Isn’t America best when it earns our love and respect, without having to demand it? Isn’t that the true test of a great country—when it has the confidence in itself to let its citizens feel however they want to feel about it?

Part of this nation’s greatness is its embrace of dissent. We’ll always have people who openly hate this country, because America was designed to let them openly hate it, which means, you LILIlivered liberty-lickers, if you don’t like that some Americans don’t like America, then you don’t like America as it was “created” and it is you who should leave! So, either stop complaining or go the fuck back to Waahfrica.

Don’t worry, you’ll love it there. Because in Waahfrica, everyone must wear flag lapel pins, everyone must recite the Pledge of Allegiance and everyone must become a member of at least one of the country’s countless waahctivist groups, such as Families for People Having to Leave Waahfrica if They Don’t Love Waahfrica or Veterans Against Deceased Waahfrica-Haters Being Buried on Waahfrican Soil.

But of all the things that drive me crazy about you LILIputians, it’s your brazen hypocrisy that tips the hippo: When there’s something don’t like about America, I’m anti-American and I have to go, but when it’s something you don’t like, that’s perfectly acceptable. And, oh yes, there’s plenty that you don’t like about America: You don’t like our abortion laws, our immigration laws, our meddlesome gun laws, our tax laws, our medical-marijuana laws, our labor laws and our environmental laws. Add to that the president, our process-heavy legal system, ACLU, NEA, PBS, IRS, Medicare, welfare and the greatest of all American staples—hot, steamy sex just for the sport of it.

The list of things that the Loveit-or-Leaviters can’t stand about America is as deep and wide as Michelle Duggar’s wasted babyhole, yet nobody ever says “Love it or leave it” to them. And that’s because those of us who don’t have a bag of rusty flag pins where our brains used to be know that the world is more complex than a single, infantile cliché.

We know that if everyone had to leave America because there was something they didn’t love about it, the only people left would be infants, the comatose and Persian nightclub owners.

We know there’s a huge difference between loving America and understanding that it’s not perfect—even if we disagree on how to improve it.

We know the whole point of a democracy is that we get to at least try to change what we don’t like. How can anyone other than a hypocritical LILIdouchian flagophant not know that?

“Git up git git git down / Global warming is a joke in yo town.” —“Global Warming is a Hoax” by Public Hegemony 

Write to ed@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Edwin Decker blogs at www.edwindecker.com. Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.