In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we passed the USA PATRIOT Act. (Like with most important bills, the crafters made good use of time to craft a strong, patriotic acronym for the title.) In the 14 years since 9/11, we’ve bravely stuck with it, replacing it with bills that minimally roll back the surveillance measures we originally agreed to. (They also had proud, powerful acronymic names, like the USA FREEDOM Act.) Courageously, we established that the only way to defend freedom is to sign it away.
In those years, we’ve taken strong stands against people who treated Ebola patients, no matter what egghead doctors said. Now, we’re bravely trying to deny refuge to people seeking to escape madmen so scary that, rather than face them decisively, we blow them up from New Mexico with flying murder-bots. (This is totally not like how our villains send robots after heroes in our movies. When we do it in real life, it’s courageous.)
We’ve also bravely sabotaged the building of those people’s places of worship, which is absolutely not like when terrorists tore down historic sites of religious significance or forced those same refugees to convert, die, or leave.
And now, we’ve finally reached the point where we’re brave enough to not only deny sanctuary to people who have lived through the wars we ignore, we’re also courageous enough to call “internment camps” (a phrase we dashingly invented to separate us from cowardly Nazis and their dirty concentration camps) what they really were: a good idea.
But, it’s not just diseases and people that we’re standing up to. We’re also valorously roping off ideas we disagree with or that offend us, enacting safe zones and issuing trigger warnings to defend the sensibilities of those who might hear them. It takes a big person to tell Ann Coulter that, not only is she wrong about everything, but that we’d rather not tell her, please don’t come to our school.
And, when it comes to real issues, like passing budgets that might tax people or cut spending, we’ve punted a record number of years because punting is a term from football — the bravest sport in the world played by the bravest men who ever punched a woman or electrocuted a dog.
Here we are at the ass-end of 2015: still the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now please rise for the national anthem, and don’t you dare forget to put your hand over your heart. Or don’t you love your country?