Mount Rushmore is a stunning testament to American Exceptionalism and all the good and bad that it entails.
Sometimes that’s the will to f*ck with the native inhabitants of a newly conquered land by blowing up their sacred places and replacing them with the faces of the men seen through a one-sided historical lens as great.
Thus, first on my list of the most spiteful shit this country has ever done, is actually build Mount Rushmore after going all murdery genocide on the native tribes and shunting them to the reservations.
Next, Slavery. Literally everybody carved into that mountain but ol’ Abe up there owned other human beings. There is nothing more shitty and petty and flippantly homicidal than subjugating and abusing the shit out of an entire part of humanity for profit.
Third, basically, the entire history of the human rights movements, both at home and across the world, includes the US government stepping in to make shit way worse than it had to be. From Central America to Afghanistan, from Snohomish to the Everglades, and many points between, every time a group of people got together to improve conditions, we, as a country, can’t just butt out for a minute and let people resolve shit. Sometimes our help is requested and those are the times we should show up, but the rest of the time? Enough. The whole goddamn world has had enough.
Last, on my Mount Rushmore of spiteful mess our government has gotten up to, is letting itself get so bought and sold that the institutions are weathering really badly. The entire system is apparently pasted together with budget bloat and $1,000 rolls of duct tape. One political party has spent half a century building an apparatus to defeat it and roll back rights for half the country at a time. I find the spite to be absolutely real when the Democratic caucus is standing on the steps singing “God Bless America.”
The people of the United States do some very cool things from time to time. Moon visits, internet, iPhones, movies, whatever. But our government gets up to some shit in our name that are certainly… choices. Funding fuckery around the world has been the brand right up until Javelin Joe pointed the money cannon at a worthy cause. We bungled COVID, have contributed heavily to the destruction of both the world’s financial systems AND its environment, and for all the grandstanding about being the greatest country in the world, can’t seem to keep our shit together to protect basic rights from extremists. One thing I still think that we can’t mess up forever is the fact that our greatest steps forward are almost always a creative (and a little spiteful) resolution to a previously-thought impossible problem.