It’s okay to love America. It’s okay to hate it too. The good doesn’t excuse the bad, the bad doesn’t nullify the good. There is nothing wrong with loving your home, even if those who rule it are repugnantly corrupt. There’s nothing wrong either in harshly criticizing the atrocities carried out in its name, even sometimes by those who might have  been otherwise heroic.

The world is your home too. Whether you ignore or actively distance yourself from third world suffering, its effects reach you eventually. In fact in many ways you benefit from it. How does the first world expect the also-rans of geopolitics to prosper when the latter group is constantly oppressed by the military might of the former? How noble a thought it is to want to spread democracy based on the assumption that democracy actually works. The only good idea America has successfully exported is the modern conception of freedom, and even then, freedom itself was never an idea unique to America nor modernity.

America’s democracy is kept in check by its federalism and its republic. A failing republic, but a republic nonetheless, the height of which is not interested in sharing the “best” way of life but pure and simple dominance. A dominance that has bred a lazy populace of haughty idiots who proclaim to be the “best” at everything simply by virtue of living in some of the least worst places – just like an iPhone user who thinks he’s intelligent for using something intelligent people created. Oh what a holy grail of freedom achieved.

Nationalism and “patriotism” are in direct conflict with the freedom of the individual. In theory, if the collective prospers, so does the individual. In practice, the sweat of the collective pays for the comfortable excesses of the few. The modern Nation State cannot fulfill its lofty ideals and promises. The pledge of allegiance is a form of brainwashing so obvious that those who take it seriously need to check how it’s different from Chinese indoctrination. The assurances of goofy presidents past and present ring hollow: “Well, at least our message is for the greater good.” Is it really? For people who actually know history and philosophy, democracy and communism are too similar for comfort.

As internal divisions worsen, America’s demise seems ever more certain. “If only the other side can come to their senses” say both sides of a corrupt system that only respects popularity and power. And yet, in the throes of this demise much like watching the death of something beautiful, some of us have discovered — in a peculiar, almost historically dormant sense — a love for these United States, unfortunately united now only in name. But how much love can you really have for a country that, despite the best attempts and intentions of its founding fathers, has never been a true nation? American exceptionalism? Manifest destiny? Did it really happen or was it just a racist dream? Hard truths cut deep.