Bronze-level articleUnited States

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You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they've tried everything else.
Winston Churchill[1]
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time... when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1995

The United States of America (U.S., U.S.A., or "America"[2]) is a republic consisting of fifty[3] or so "states," mostly located in North America (and their possessions, territories, and rental properties), some of which, at various times, wish they weren't.[4]

Moving swiftly on from any claims of American Indian Holocaust, America has pretty much run the world since World War II, but especially since the fall of the Soviet Union, of which they battled for decades during the Cold War. It is currently the world's only superpower,[5] though a few other nations are approaching that status.

The U.S. is the only nation in the world to have ever used an atomic weapon in war, when they dropped two of them on Japan in the final days of World War II. Several other countries have set them off, but not in anger, more for jovial kicks. It is rumoured that the former USSR was threatened and suspicious of America's nuclear might, which in part lead to the growing mistrust that permeated the Cold War.

Contents

[edit] History

Things America borders on: Canada, Mexico, and self-parody.
—Ken Jennings

[edit] Settling

Native petroglyphs.

North America was settled — much to the bemusement of the people who lived there already — by foreigners following Columbus's successful voyage to India the Asian-continent-which-was-colloquially-known-as-India-at-the-time across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. The continent was named for the mapmaker who pointed out that he was not quite right, though similar care was not taken when naming the native inhabitants. Sadly, for them, they didn't have their own flag.

The first permanent English settlement founded was Jamestown on the coast of present-day Virginia, in 1607. Though the inhabitants spoke English and therefore count more than the Spaniards in Florida, no compelling mythology was attached to this colony, and so the Pilgrims' founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620 is the one that Americans have mythologized, and celebrate annually, as being numero uno premiere first. The Pilgrims, who were Puritans, left Europe in order to be free to persecute people for their religious beliefs.

Maryland was founded as a refuge for Catholics. Its enlightened rulers decided to only persecute those lousy non-Christians.

Pennsylvania was more tolerant than most of the other colonies, perhaps a result of being founded by the Quakers. Those Quakers who remained in Great Britain later went on to invent Cadbury's chocolate.[6]

The French and Spanish also founded many colonies in what was to become the United States (and Mexico) in the 16th and 17th centuries, most of which were later sold (France) or lost in wars (Spain and her successors) to the U.S., which is why the country today is trilingual, much to the dismay of the English-only movement (see below).

[edit] Founding and expansion

A century and a half later, the East Coast colonists got teed-off about having to stick overpriced stamps all over everything while drinking inexpensive East India Company tea, so naturally they went and started a revolution. With more help from the French than they dare admit, they somehow won a war against the most powerful nation on earth (a fact the good folks at the Pentagon should bear in mind), and took the unorganized territories Britain had claimed to their west, as well. A few years later the U.S. bought "Louisiana" (at that time stretching from the current state of that name to Minnesota and Montana) from Napoleon, who was broke, doubling the size of the country. After beating Mexico in a war over the U.S. annexation of the Republic of Texas (a breakaway territory still claimed by Mexico), the U.S. extended its territory through what had been New Spain to the Pacific. A little trimming here and there, and the acquisition of the Pacific Northwest, established the continental boundaries that today seem so... manifest.

Alaska was purchased from Russia when it didn't have oil or gold yet. The natives of Hawaii were conquered by a corporation that gave the islands over to the USA.

[edit] Civil war

Given the choice between Christian Love for all, and making money off of the backs, lives, and freedom of dark-skinned people, the Southeastern chunk of the US chose the money. For both moral and economic reasons, the tension between these two factions continued to grow worse, until Reed Richards cloned Thor Oh, wait -- wrong Civil War.[7] When a large portion of the Southern states tried to revolt, they discovered that while they had all the "good" generals, the North had all the factories and railroads. The war was over a century and a half ago, and there are no hard feelings about it at all.[8]

These days, black people theoretically enjoy all the same liberties as whites, but continue to form a social and economic underclass in many areas due the aftereffects of Jim Crow. State-mandated efforts to ameliorate this are despised by some conservatives and libertarians, who call such measures civilization "reverse discrimination."

[edit] Modernization

Having banned slavery, the United States surely became a color-blind society much to the joy of all. About 40 years later, women were also granted personhood.[9] Also around this time, alcoholic beverages were banned, and unbanned, making the country blind drunk for a few years.

In 1941, Japan dragged the previously neutral United States into that little war in Europe and the Pacific. The USA and its allies won the war, much to the joy of all who didn't live in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It should be noted that at this time the United States allies actually included the Soviet Union; they only became the "Evil Empire" in 1983.

With most of the rest of the industrialized world lying in bombed-out ruins, the U.S. rapidly became an unrivaled economic powerhouse.

[edit] Present day

Much of the western US presently looks like this.
And a lot of it looks like this.
I thought for the last ten years, we've been on some weird fucking drug — the whole country — called "Fukitol." What a weird fucking drug. And we're just coming out of it and we're kind of waking up. Fuckin' A! It's weird. It's like you're going "last thing I remember was the economy was working and there was a budget surplus... what about the economy?" Well, we had to bail out the banks. "Again?" Fuck, yeah! "And now, who's the president?" A black guy. "Oh, yeah right. Yeah, there's a black president and a Latino on the Supreme Court." There is. "Oh, my God! Who's the president? Jesse Jackson?" No, his name is Barack Hussein Obama. "Now you're fucking with me!"
—Robin Williams, Weapons of Self Destruction

The United States in short order romanticized most of its history, including claiming to be a European Christian nation that deserves to run the world since it means well. The natives probably would have died and gone to hell anyway.

The currency of the USA, and by default the world, is the almighty dollar. If countries beg to differ, the USA is sure to reassure them the dollar is mightier than silly currencies like the euro.[10]

In its constant struggles to keep new immigrants away, there are a number of "English-only movements" that seek to make sure that immigrants must learn English, or else!

[edit] The United States as God’s chosen nation

Some Americans think they are God's own nation or God’s chosen nation, and those who hold to that most strongly are Bible Belt Protestant fundamentalists, grabbing at straws in some effort to feel special. It is very difficult to find any Biblical support for this view, being that the people who wrote the Bible, living in the Old World of the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and classical antiquity, didn't know the North American continent even existed; the closest such fundamentalists have come so far is by combining the Puritan Pilgrims' mythology with British Israelism. Under Dubya, all this fitted together nicely for them: a Christian fundie President like themselves was leading God’s chosen nation. Since the election of a non-fundamentalist, they may have a problem with this fantasy. A few religions and sects were founded in the US, including Eckankar, Mormonism, Satanism and Scientology.

[edit] White supremacist issues

The very few white supremacists among these fundamentalists have another problem with this fantasy: if the United States is God's chosen nation, with a special dispensation from on high to teach other nations the American Way of Life, then the rest of the world is currently being taught that it is alright to have a black person at the helm of state. Hence, the white supremacists, besides being disgusted that the occupant of the White House does not match their color scheme, will be further disgusted at the "poor example" the U.S. is setting to the heathens.

Those who are openly white-supremacist will carry on much as usual, repeating Confederate or Nazi conspiracy theories for the millionth time as they stockpile more machine guns. But the well-documented latent racism of the more extreme elements in the Republican Party will manifest itself in different ways; they may become Birthers, for example. But it would be no surprise if they have had even more trouble coming to grips with Obama than with Bill Clinton, who to their mind was equally left-wing.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] References

[edit] Footnotes

  1. National Churchill Museum
  2. The Japanese call it that, too, for some reason, and the British, inexplicably, use the term more consistently than Americans themselves. Canadians describe U.S. citizens and some residents as "Americans," but colloquially refer to the U.S. as The States, Down There, or the Dark Empire of the South. Many of the countries throughout the Americas have the words "the United States of" in their official names, e.g. Mexico is officially Los Estados Unidos de Mexico, and thus could also conceivably call themselves "The United States of America."
  3. Unless you are a very tired Barack Obama, when they magically become 57 states. (Maybe he got distracted by a bottle of Heinz ketchup.)
  4. But they won't renounce their ownership because they love the truckloads of free money that flow in while not having the responsibilities of full-fledged statehood.
  5. Unless you count the Chinese... but at this point, no one can count the Chinese.
  6. See the Wikipedia article on John Cadbury.
  7. We got confused with this one.
  8. Partially Clips
  9. The Supreme Court recently added corporations to the personhood ranks. See Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
  10. Like when Saddam Hussein tried to sell his oil for euros. Uncle Bush Sam couldn't have that.
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