"Stream of Consciousness Response to the Question 'Which Movie Best Describes America?'"

if the united states were a hollywood blockbuster

it wouldn’t be the one about the cowboy in the white hat
who’s just trying to do right by his pops
and protect the family farm or the local village
from the bandits in their black hats
by nobly standing in middle of a street so afraid
that even the tumbleweed can’t wait to leave
ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good
(though there are days when we do that)

it wouldn’t be the one about the white man and his gun
killing all the foreiners who just happened to get in his way
or kidnapped his woman
or took back what was theirs
or dared to talk back
or maybe all of the above
since it’s important the hero’s violence is justified
(though there are days that we do that too)

it wouldn’t be the one about the middle-aged guy who
lost his wife or his job or his sense of self-worth
and now suffers from insomnia and quiet desperation
and can barely force himself out of bed in the morning
to feed his kid or his dog or his own self-pity
before he meets the woman of his dreams who is
probably blonde and maybe successful and certainly single
and they really get on each other’s nerves at first
but that’s just because they’re so right for each other
and eventually they get married and live happily ever after
(though there are days we manage to feel that optimistic)

no, it would be the one about the teenagers
who don’t always follow the rules
who aren’t as chaste as they like to pretend
who are still just trying to find themselves
without their dumbass parents getting in the way
but the adults will always be an obstacle to freedom
because they’re trying to forget what they did all those years ago
when they turned man into monster before the monster was proven
so afraid of confronting their past that
their denial was made flesh and blade and now never sleeps
because it’s not just a nightmare, it’s the star of the show
the hero of a franchise who never dies and will keep coming back
year after year after year
as long as it can make a quick buck
off the dreams of the young and defenseless
who live on the street named after a lynching tree.

Copyright © 2018 Andrew Johnson | @WriterAndrew