I was going to keep my mouth shut, but this American thing has been griping me for a long time. The following diatribe is not a political commentary but a semantical one. (I don’t want arguments, but I’m already getting one — I’m writing this on MSWord, and MS says there is no such word as semantical and there definitely is such a word.)
I have no politics, but I am a word lover, and I believe in using proper terms.
Everyone from the top of Canada to the tip of South America is an American. We who live in the United States are OF America. We are not America, nor are we the only Americans, though somewhere along the way, the term was usurped by people in this country for their sole use, perhaps because Unitedstatesian is awkward.
We were never supposed to be Unitedstatesians, anyway — we were supposed to be Coloradans and Minnesotans and Oregonians. Each state was to be a strong political entity, a sovereign territory loosely united under a weak central government. That is not how things have ended up and that is not the issue here (though anyone who has read my books knows how I feel about strong central governments). The point is that we in the United States are not Americans. Or rather, the United States is not “America.” We don’t even have our own continent. We share the North American Continent with Mexico, Canada, and Central America. In fact, in Europe (or so I’ve read), North America is not even considered a continent in its own right — it’s a subcontinent of America. So most Americans are not even “American.” Although the United States is the most populous of the American countries by far, most Americans are actually Peruvians and Canadians, Brazilians and Panamanians, Mexicans and Columbians.
I don’t call myself an American. The term is too general to have any meaning, and it is too ethnocentric. Despite what my fellow Unitedstatesians believe, The United States of America is not the center of the world, though geographically, it might be in the center of the American continent. But still, that is no reason to act as if we are the only Americans.
You say you’re an American and you want your country back? What country is that?