Motifs in American culture

When I lived on the Left Coast, I got the full taste of the far left. There’s a segment of the far left that is quite anti-America, anti-patriotism, and for globalization without rules. This segment goes as far as saying that America has no culture of its own and only gets culture from immigrants.

I call bullshit!

American culture has its motifs because American culture has been around longer than most current countries on this planet have been countries. We’ve adapted these motifs into our national identity. Let’s explore the most common of these motifs as if you’re an American, you’ll immediately recognize them.

I know why the far left wants to destroy our culture. Behind every extreme leftist is an authoritarian. If they took power, they will re-educate your children and kill anyone who resists.

This isn’t an exaggeration. History shows that they really think like this.

You see, the American national identity is the most pro-Freedom of all the national identities out there. And they hate that! Thus, they need to destroy it. You can’t be an authoritarian if you have a culture that doesn’t want to be subdued.

Motifs in American culture in chronological order

The Native American. We all know about the Native Americans in American history. First we had an encounter, then we demonized them, and as their numbers dwindled, we romanticized them, and currently, we’re searching for the truth.

So, we’ve pretty much come full circle in history. I won’t go into detail here, but most of us agree it’s one of our more painful lessons in American history with scars that still haven’t healed.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t understand that history continues. There are currently almost 7 million Native Americans today, which is about three million less than when the first European settlers arrived.

Native Americans have served in our Armed Forces, including using undecipherable codes that the Nazis couldn’t break in WWII (which really was just Navajos speaking Navajo).

You might even have Native American blood. Heck, you could even be full-blooded Native American. I’ve known quite a few. I’ve even known a few who spoke English as their second language.

The Pirate. We romanticize the pirate because much of the writing about piracy was long after it ended. Plus, pirates make for wonderful stories.

Capture of Blackbeard by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris.  Pirates are a huge part of American culture
Capture of Blackbeard (painting by American painter Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1920)

Let’s not forget that a lot of the pirates touched base on what later became the United States of America. Blackbeard lost his life in what later became North Carolina. In Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean is in the New Orleans Square and that’s no accident.

Two NFL teams name themselves after pirates – the Las Vegas Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the time of this writing, the Buccaneers recently won the Super Bowl.

We romanticize pirates because pirates were rule breakers. They appeal to our anti-authority streak that resides in our blood. True Americans don’t like being told what to do. And nobody tells a pirate what to do without consequences.

The Witches of Salem. Like the Native Americans, we’ve come full circle with the Witches of Salem. First, the events occurred. Then, we demonized them. Then we romanticized them.

Currently, we’re trying to figure out what really happened. A common belief among historians is that it was a conspiracy to inherit the land from old female relatives who just won’t die, so they brainwashed kids to make up the whole witch thing.

Believe whatever you want to believe. If you’re a writer and currently suffer from writer’s block, there ya go! Do a little research into some of the real life characters and make a story out of it.

The Revolutionary. A very common motif among more libertarian minded Americans. These folks glorify the Founding Fathers because their minds, their ideals, and their writings are what makes America great. We have unarguably the most intelligent founding fathers in the history of any nation.

Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison were not just geniuses, they were polymaths. No other nation can say the same about its founding fathers.

Not only that, the Declaration of Independence is the single greatest political document ever written. It’s a shame more Americans don’t read it. It explicitly states that we are born with Rights. They don’t come from the government.

Which is huge if you understand that concept. It changes everything about Freedom.

So of course they’re romanticized. We all know about the sacrifices they endured so we can be free today. Some of it is complete bullshit, like George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. It makes for a good story though.

Today though, the far left attempts to dismantle everything good about our Founding Fathers. First, they’ll replace their accomplishments with lies. Then, they’ll make them unpersons. It’s important for those of us who appreciate history to actually know who our Founding Fathers were and what they accomplished. Plus, how much the odds were against them succeeding.

Post-Revolutionary motifs

Slavery and the anti-slavery heroes. Slavery and the slave trade is the second stain in our past that still causes problems today. We have our slave holders, the bad guys, and the anti-slavery heroes like Harriet Tubman. In leftist circles, John Brown is considered a hero despite the fact he killed people.

The Republican Party loves to list President Lincoln as the man who freed the slaves despite the Emancipation Proclamation not immediately freeing anyone. Future historians will attempt to be more accurate without politics thrown in there to cloud things up.

It’s funny how most people don’t understand that America ended slavery well before a lot of other nations. In fact, several nations still have slavery today.

I’m not at all excusing our past. I’m just explicitly stating that if someone says America is the only country to have had slavery, let them know how stupid they are.

For bonus points, read about modern slavery. Slavery unfortunately is still alive and well throughout the world.

The Cowboy. Ah, the Wild Wild West, a part of history that is mostly fictional. Sure, the Wild West happened, but it was way shorter than people think.

And most of it was an exaggeration by East Coast pulp fiction authors. If you want to know the truth, it’s way more boring than you were taught. However, it makes for wonderful stories that still get written today.

East Coast pulp fiction writers interviewed “gunfighters,” many of whom either exaggerated their accomplishments or completely fabricated them. And the writers wrote it all up as fact. Or even added their own details.

Westerns still make wonderful movies. Some film geeks argue that The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is the best film ever made, which ironically wasn’t made in the USA.

The Bluesman. This motif appears more in cultural arenas more than books.

What is the Blues? You’ll know it when you hear it. It’s pain and suffering, loss and heartbreak, and as American as you can possibly get. I myself have stolen so much from the Blues that I don’t even know who I’ve stolen from.

The Blues is the basis of most American music. Jazz, R&B, Rock and Roll, and even Country all came from the Blues. Musicians love to brag that they were directly influenced by those Blues guys from the 1920s. I call bullshit on most of them as most of us stole from people who stole from people who stole from people who stole from the Bluesmen.

BB King died in 2015 and he’s one of the last performers of his generation. Even Mr. King is someone who borrowed from others as Blues has been around well before his birth.

Heck, Ragtime, a genre of music that I love playing on the piano, started in the 1890s and it’s even descended from the Blues. I bring up Ragtime as an example to show you just how old the Blues is.

The Gangster and the Jazz Age. The Roaring Twenties, otherwise called the Jazz Age. You know the story. Alcohol’s illegal so the Gangster gives the people what they want. Of course, things get out of hand and violence ensues.

Aesthetically, you have a lot of things to look for. The Flapper Girls. The 20s suits. Speakeasies. The Swing. Art Deco.

Two of the best movies ever made, Godfather I and Godfather II, both had their beginnings with this motif and carried it out into modern times. It is true that some of the mobsters wanted to go legit and got into gambling. And others got into hard drugs.

The Prohibition was stupid. We all know that now. We allowed a group of complainers to temporarily change the Constitution for the worse. Luckily, Americans came to their senses and repealed it.

Remember friends – history cycles. Is there anything as stupid as the Prohibition going around today? I’m not going to answer that, but I want you to seriously think about it.

Modern motifs

History doesn’t end. It keeps going.

Several recent events (recent in historical terms, not necessarily in terms of yours and my life) are turning into American historical motifs. We have everything from the hippie to the 80s child to the 90s gangsta who are being romanticized as we speak.

Which one of these will be around one hundred years from now? You tell me.

Now, this by no means is an exclusive list. These are the ones that came off the top of my head. I know I’m forgetting a lot.

Off the top of my head, let’s not forget Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, JFK, MLK, the Vietnam War, World War II, the 70s and 80s rock stars, the stoner, the best athletes, the professional fighters, and the Cold War.

I made this list to prove a point – American culture is very strong. This post makes sense when you’re in San Francisco where you actually have people who hate America and loudly proclaim American culture doesn’t exist.

I won’t mince words – I fucking hate those people. But instead of stooping to their level and denying their existence, I’ll counter their argument with facts.

So here you have it. Genuine American motifs. If you’re American, you know all of them because they’re deeply ingrained in American culture.

Categorized as Rants

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