Friday, May 28, 2010

The United State of McMerica


The United State of McMerica

By Tom Wachunas


Today all is right in my very little world. The weather is warm, soothing. God’s smile was evident long before his gloriously painted sunrise. After finishing a very early morning janitorial job, I drove to a nursery to buy things for my garden with money I earned from writing. Or was it money from last week’s janitorial job? No matter. I am rich beyond measure despite my paltry income. And now I get to sit and write my thoughts in the midst of gratitude for my wife, my dog, my job(s), my car, my garden, my computer, my house. My, my, is this a great country or what?

Or…what? As Memorial Day approaches with all its attendant opportunities to reflect on the astounding freedoms we have here, and those who sacrificed so much to secure them, my spirit is nonetheless troubled. I will not here articulate a litany of specific complaints or objections, but rather offer an overarching observation. And while I’ve never claimed to be, nor want to be, an authoritative pundit on things political or social, I will allow myself a liberty we Americans hold so dear: to speak my mind - make that heart - on such things.

America is trapped in a malaise that has at its core an ever- burgeoning moral turpitude. We’re flying upside down in a fog of priorities and affections both misplaced and abandoned. I say this not out of knee-jerk cynicism, but out of a very deep hope and abiding concern for the fragile, damaged state of our entire culture. My fervent prayer is that God will NOT relax his fatherly hold on our intentions and loyalties to the point that he completely releases us to our own insidious devices.

And so it is that the image that accompanies this post is an oil painting I recently made. What follows are my thoughts about the painting.


A collision of culturally ubiquitous icons. A clash of meanings. Two symbols undermine each other with equal intensity. Both are rendered impotent, meaningless, each an absurdity in the context of the other. Executed on an ordinary paper bag, a disposable container for goods and garbage. The golden arches should not be regarded merely as an indictment of a name-brand junk food, but rather as gateways to the material and ideological junk we pursue and consume in the name of freedom. We are a people united only by our constant and divisive re-defining of what we stood for once and stand for now. The pure white of steadfast idealism now sullied with the imprinted gibberish that is the feeble echo of real nobility. Weth epeo pleof theuni tedsta tes inor dertof ormamo reper fectun ion. Yet through it all, one thing remains intact, for good or ill: the blood shed. Always, the blood shed.

1 comment:

mahmulligan said...

Tom, thanks so much for sharing. Love the painting and appreciate your thoughts.