When I first heard the “We are all (insert name of plucky little hard-done-by country here) now” meme, I was put out by it. It was a little too simplistic an expression of empathy for the victims of the 9-11 tragedy, and besides, it was a bit bass-ackwards, seeing as 9-11 was more like a cold shower of welcome-to-the-world reality for Americans. So when Le Monde proclaimed that “we are all Americans now”, my first thought was, I’m unspeakably sad for those whom this has affected, but count me the fuck out of “we”. I’m still a Canadian and a citizen of the world, and no amount of terrorism is gonna change that!
Nearly five years later, I still feel that way; if anything, even more so. I was not “Americanized” by 9-11 and neither, it turned out, was the rest of the world, much to the dismay and horror of certain wingnutty Americans. Once the war drums started beating and people all over the planet saw through the Bush Crime Cartel’s con, the goodwill wore out its welcome fast. I’m sure the French regretted their “nous sommes tous Americains” lapse, particularly when they took an anti-war stance on Iraq and got gleefully slagged by the more ignorant among les Americains. Suddenly, French fries were freedom fries, French toast was freedom toast, nobody was French-kissing anymore, and well-heeled boycotteurs were making a big show of dumping French wine (for which they still had to pay a pretty centime) down the gutter. Some of the more radical of them were even eschewing Brie cheese (quel fromage!) They utterly forgot who gave them their cherished Statue of Liberty. Strangely, though, I missed all the Dior-dumpings and Chanel-burnings. If anyone knows whether there even were any, kindly drop a line in the Comments section below this thread.
I was ever so touched when, a little over a year ago, the British were hit by the Cold Shower of Welcome-to-the-World themselves, and the wingnuts decided to pick up the “we are all…” meme and pasted Union Jacks all over their fly-blown blogs and fora. Who knew that a few bombs in the London Underground could be such a crazy-glue for international bonding among the otherwise hopelessly self-absorbed American Right? (They were quick to retract the comradely sentiment from Spain, however, after les espagnols, hard on the heels of the Madrid bombings, got fed up with a conservative regime that didn’t listen to their strong protests against the Iraq war, and elected a Socialist as their new prime minister. So much for empathy with the terror-stricken.)
And I was moved beyond words when the “freedom-loving” ‘tards decided to express solidarity for the right of the ruling class of Danes to maintain its bigotry (laughably termed “freedom of speech”) in the aftermath of a certain cartoon fiasco. Never mind that the “story” which provoked the fiasco turned out to have been a massive heap of merde. Suddenly, Danish flags were bristling all over the blogtardosphere, and some of the silliest ‘wingers were making a big deal out of eating Havarti cheese. We are all Danes now, the rallying cry went–even if “we” couldn’t speak the language or find the place on a map to save their lives!
Now, I aced Old Norse at university, and would probably have a much easier time getting around in Copenhagen than all these shameless self-promoters put together. But I’m damned if I’m gonna go calling myself a Dane, now or ever, over something so patently ludicrous. Blatant bigotry, no matter what rhetoric you dress it in, is simply NOT free speech. Denunciation of such bigotry is. But trust some people not to know the difference–or worse, those who should know better, to pit one kind of bigotry against another in the name of “freedom”.
Well, I am NOT an Israeli now, either. Although my sympathies lie strongly with Uri Avnery and the good folks of Gush Shalom, I am not joining the fictitious “we” who are always dishonestly honorary denizens of whatever gallant little country is the right-wing radical chic du moment. (Lebanon, unquestionably much harder hit by the current catastrophe than Israel, doesn’t rate a “we are all Lebanese now”; the whole country is being held beneath contempt by any good herd-following neo-con, although ironically enough, Mr. Cheap-Rhetoric Kudlow did pull this schtick just last year, trying to cash in on the death of Rafik Hariri.)
And tell me–when’s the last time you heard a ‘winger say “we are all citizens of Darfur now”? Try googling that, and bonne chance.
What will “we” all be tomorrow? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for that wingnut “we” to ever count themselves as citizens of the world. That’s too large a country, and not gallant, plucky and patronizable enough. They are only “with” any given country long enough to score their cheap political points off it. Once the chic wears off, they forget they were ever Brits, or Danes, or Israelis, or what have you. They revert right back to being the worst kind of Ugly American, with all the attendant xenophobia.
“We” are all shitheads, now and forever.