Tag Archives: America

Noxious Numbers: ‘Merica!

Last Wednesday’s message was awful enough — 30,000 more U.S. troops destined for a quagmire in Afghanistan, but somehow, another number struck deeper.

31

The tally of times President Obama said “America,” “American” or “Americans.” 

Searching for that number probably seems strange because that word is one of the country’s proper names, but the Tank couldn’t help but think about how that name must be perceived in both Kabul and Kansas.

To people in Kabul, a troop surge probably comes with feelings of trepidation and fear after what America has done in the last eight years there.

To people in Kansas, a troop surge probably comes with feelings of pride and conceit with what ‘Merica can do in the next eight years there.

Everytime, Obama said “America” with conviction, but the Tank couldn’t get past the underlying concept. Using America, somehow, seems like marketing ploy and a coy use of persuasive speech. (Get the public behind the surge.) 

One of my English business professors in London asked my class this question, “How can you call yourself ‘America?’ ”

His meaning: It’s egotistical to use “America” when many countries in two continents can lay claim to the place that word represents. In essence, he was saying, “What does this imply to Mexico, Honduras, Chile and others?”

I thought of the professor’s message from five years ago as I listened to Obama’s oration to West Point cadets Wednesday. After the speech, I then thought of my friend’s distant reply to the professor’s message.

“How does [the professor] get off?” said my friend from Konnecticut. “He’s from a country that calls itself ‘The United Kingdom’ and ‘Great Britain.’ We’ll stop calling ourselves ‘America’ when he stops calling himself ‘Great.’ ”

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