A Response to “If You Hate America So Much, Why Don’t You Leave”

A brave and enlightened Bryton Mellott caused an uproar in his Illinois community when he torched a U.S. imperialist flag in his own yard the day before July 4th, an incident for which he was arrested. Accompanying images of the flag-burning on his Facebook was a message explaining, “In this moment, being proud of my country is to ignore the atrocities committed against people of color, people living in poverty, people who identify as women, and against my own queer community on a daily basis… I do not have pride in my country. I am overwhelmingly ashamed, and I will demonstrate my feelings accordingly. #ArrestMe”

After a woman in Staten Island found herself the subject of death threats for wearing a hat declaring “America was never great” and a young man in Illinois was arrested for burning a U.S. flag, the most common refrain coming from the mouths of their detractors is, “If you hate America so much, then why don’t you just leave?!” This seemingly rhetorical question (or is it a demand) is one that is very familiar to anyone who has ever been critical of any aspect of the United States, be it the systemic racism that is an inherent part of the country’s institutions or its aggressive imperialistic foreign policy. This blogger is certainly no stranger to being told to pack his bags and leave as soon as possible for not being sufficiently appreciative of American “freedom” and “democracy.” (To be precise, I was instructed on my About section’s comments by one “tea party patriot” to “go join ISIS and see how long you last til they turn on YOU & behead you.”) And it’s because I and so many others like me who are living within the heart of the beast are so frequently told we ought to get out that I feel it necessary for once to seriously engage those who insist we emigrate simply because we are not beholden to the ideology of U.S. nationalism. This is my first and final rebuttal to this notion. Take it or leave it.

  • First of all, if you’re implying someone should leave the country for being unpatriotic or insufficiently patriotic, are you willing to pick up the expenses necessary for emigration to the country of that person’s choice? Are you willing to pay the travel costs and the room expenses associated with this? After all, not everyone is economically fortunate or stable enough to be able to relocate somewhere within the United States, let alone across the world.
  • There is literally nowhere on the planet earth that is free from U.S. interference and influence. The few countries that do seek an independent course draw the ire of Washington D.C. and are therefore subjected to arm-twisting, coercion and intimidation before they are ultimately sanctioned, invaded, occupied or targeted for regime change. In other words, just because one leaves the territory designated the United States doesn’t mean they are guaranteed safety from U.S. tyranny.
  • Not everyone who’s critical of the United States recognizes the legitimacy of its government in the first place. Some see the U.S. as simply the current occupier of about 1/5 of the entire American continent, a land mass that existed long before the current regime was established or imagined by the “founding fathers” of myth. Therefore the U.S. doesn’t have some sort of naturally ordained right to demand respect for its legitimacy.
  • This leads me to another point. It is never under any circumstances appropriate for these words – “Why don’t you just leave” – to be directed towards an Indigenous person, who had their country stolen from them, or a person of African descent whose ancestors had their very bodies stolen from their homeland in order to build a homeland for someone else. No one has put more work into building the modern-day U.S. than them, and for their back-breaking labor they and their kin have received not a penny’s worth of compensation. The empire that was built by them at the force of a gun and the lash of a whip is more theirs than it is anyone who insists they have no right to criticize it.
  • And finally to the person who implored me to go to Iraq and “join ISIS you ungrateful & twisted idiot”, don’t tell me to go live somewhere the U.S. has actively worked for the past 30 years to make a living hell!

Responding to the much-deserved criticism of the racism, capitalism and imperialism that are intrinsic elements of the United States with, “If you don’t like it, leave” is nothing more than a method of shutting down conversation and deflecting from critical thinking. When one resorts to such tactics, they’re tacitly admitting that they are unable to invalidate what you’ve said.

40 thoughts

  1. If you lived in China and spewed out this kind of hatred for the country and government; you would disappear. Nowhere on this planet could you say anything you want about the government without fear of fines, imprisonment, or even death. Marxism, socialism, or communism doesn’t let you express your own opinion without approval. By the way, burning the flag is not illegal – if one is arrested while burning the flag, it is because it’s illegal to light fires in city streets. Burn the flag in your own yard responsibly.

    1. People are being tear-gassed and run over by police for speaking out against the US government. They are being brutalized just for not producing an ID to a cop even if they aren’t driving and aren’t required to carry an ID. This is an authoritarian country. You are just too much of an indoctrinated bootlicker to realize it.

  2. What a crock of shit. According to your ideology then all land was “stolen” after the first human existed. Nothing more pathetic then self hating homos who try self flagellation in hopes of seeming virtuous and gaining approval from Black people who still hate you regardless 😂 Your the kind of betas who hide behind masks and have less testosterone than a woman 🤣😂🤣🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    1. The way you mix belligerence with poor grammar allows you to claim the title of
      ‘the ignorant American of the day’! It would be considered very clever if you were actually even aware that you were doing it.

  3. If you keep attacking your country without presenting solutions. You’re part of the problem. Also it doesn’t help your case to paint Marxism and dictators like Castro in a positive light.

  4. Sorry to crash in on the fun, but I am a thousand times more anti-American than you or that woman or this guy will ever be.

    I formally renounced my citizenship after the Orlando massacre and Trump’s rise to power. Plus, speaking as a man who questions his sexuality who has been bullied maliciously for expressing himself differently ever since middle school, I journey has been fraught with betrayal and manipulation by “my country” and even my own “community.”

    But my story is so long that I cannot get into it.

    1. you left though … you are not the problem , you left because you did not like it , makes sense to me. If one hates the country they live in, they should act as you yourself has done and get out, respectfully.

      1. The way you people make it sound so easy, like Americans don’t live in poverty and just have the money to afford to move around the world.

        1. That’s cause you’re a fucking loser. No country is perfect. Don’t blame America that you don’t have a good career, commie.

  5. You can still love your country and be respectful to the other people who also live in it without burning the flag. Which is actually illegal. If you don’t think the government is legit then go ahead and go commit a crime. They’re not legit, they can’t do anything, right!? Wrong. No matter how horrific the history of this country is, no matter how much you disagree with politics, you can still believe in and love your country. The problem with your line of thinking is that you wish to divide people in this country even further when we should be joining together and trying to solve the problems that come between us. Not only that, there’s two points you made that are just ridiculous. That we should pay for you to relocate. No, we shouldn’t. If you want to go, it’s up to you to come up with or save the money to leave. Just like it’s up to you to earn the money to pay for your food, housing, etc.. I know you won’t think that’s fair but, that’s how it works. Also, you really think that the United States has a say in what goes on in North Korea? Lol! If we did, they wouldn’t be testing weapons. I’m sure Kim Jong Un would be happy to have you. Then you’ll see what it’s really like to have no freedom. People have fought and died so that you have the freedom to even write this ridiculous crap. It’s like spitting on our soldiers graves to burn a flag. The problem with people like you is that you only think about yourself & how things impact you. There’s another 300 million people in this country. A lot of those people’s loved ones have died for this country and for your right to have what you do and say what you want to say. The fact that you can’t comprehend that & complain about how unfair you have it, is why people tell you to leave. You’re being disrespectful to our fallen soldiers.

    1. Please explain to me how murdering millions of people in Vietnam preserved my freedom again? Or in Iraq for that matter. It’s people like you who swallow whatever nationalistic propaganda you’re fed that the war profiteers are raking in a killing (both literally and figuratively). You disrespect the millions who died on the other end of the US empire’s quest for dominance every time you wave that red, white and blue flag. See, it works both ways. The problem is you think only of yourself and forget there are 7.4 billion other people in the world. 😑

      1. So apparently your one of those self hating beta males that ignores actual mass Genocide committed by pretty much every country on earth while also ignoring the ridiculous ammount of aid the US gives to 3rd world nation’s? South Korea exists and thrives because the US sacrificed and stopped North Korea from completely taking over the South. Funny as hell when homos like yourself cry that the US Government isn’t waving rainbow flags while wiping your ass for you. 😆🤣😂🤣 Try cyanide it’ll solve all your problems 😆🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

        1. Nothing you stated is a fact and third world nations do not benefit form having their resources extracted for US corporations and countries bombed by the US military. Also I do not want the US military waving rainbow flags, it gives the rainbow flag a bad rep.

    2. M Smith. That’s your opinion and you are welcome to it. As a former U.S. military personnel, I totally disagree with your little essay. First of all it is NOT illegal to burn the flag in protest. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated it is part of Free Speech. One of the greatest parts of being an American is that if you don’t think something is right you can petition to change it. Unfortunately you can’t change some closed minds.

  6. Have you ever been to the third world? That’s what people are saying when they say – then just leave. You have it better that just about anyone in any country. Youre in the top 1 percent economically just because you’re an American. If you’ve never been to Africa or ask, to watch those poor people get exploited and struggle daily, then you should count your blessings. So yeah, roll out if you don’t like it here. Quit trying to make it like over there. Nobody wants to live in a crumbled America. I promise. You might think you do. Shit wouldn’t be a good time.

    1. As if those African countries you speak of don’t get exploited by greedy American companies, yet you think it’s inappropriate to criticize the US for all the invasions and harm done to the world. No amount of nonsensical brainwashed thinking on the part of you and other sheep is going to stop people within this country and without from telling the truth about your beloved empire. You say go to Africa. Which part? Somalia, which is being attacked daily by your “freedom-loving” drones, or the DRC which after suffering years under Belgium’s colonial nightmare had a U.S.-backed dictator imposed on them (after the CIA helped assassinate their independent revolutionary leader) and is now being raped and pillaged by U.S. partners Uganda and Rwanda?

  7. “There is literally nowhere on the planet earth that is free from U.S. interference and influence…”
    ~ I’ve come to believe that far too many Americans are unaware of this reality and the role that our US government and our multinational corporations play in destabilizing nations and the lives of their peoples.

    1. Well, it’s not as if we’re exactly educated to know about what our country has been doing in the world. Hell, it took forever for the genocides of the indigenous peoples to even begin to be acknowledged in classrooms. I was still being taught about the ‘Mayflower’ and the mythical ‘Thanksgiving day dinner’ being held between ‘pilgrims and Indians’ when I was in elementary school in the ’90s.

    2. Reporting in from China, where I feel quite free from interference of the USA government. The Chinese Communist Part on the other hand…

      1. China is a country that HAS broken from the yoke of US and Western imperialism and formed its own path since 1949. The US certainly tried to undermine China’s independence when it actively tried to prevent China’s actual government from having a seat of recognition at the UN until the late ’70s! China is one of those countries that have managed to be truly independent. Whether one likes the current government in China or not, I don’t think anyone could argue that it can be pushed around by Washington. However, as much as I hate to say it, I do predict Washington and Beijing will be at war sometime in this century for the simple fact that the U.S. will not accept its not being the sole global superpower gracefully.

  8. I think that sometimes what people are afraid to think when they say “if you hate America so much…”is actually : “I can’t stand the idea that what you said might be true because that would mean that all I’ve stood up in my life was a lie or a mistake. So, yeah, I’m not listening to you, nah na nah naa naaah”

    1. your lucky you don’t live in America I wish I didn’t, I starve in America and cant have housing here its hardly land of the free lots of mean ignorant people here to everything is so expensive here to I cant afford anything . I hate America its a awful place to live , amd if you do anything to try to improve it people tell you to leave the stupid country

      1. This article is as trash as the gutless turd that wrote it. You’re free to leave, no one needs to pay for you to do so, just fkn go. For the people who left a shithole and try to make this like to shithole you left, go back if its so much better. If you ain’t willing to defend it or actully contribute to making it better, remove corrupt politicians, work for it, then fk you too and do everyone a favor and gtfo.

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