I once loved this country. Even signed up to put my life on the line for it. Of course I really had no choice, since college was too expensive for my family. And while I happened to serve during peacetime, there I was – an airman full of pride serving his country honorably. I believed in our diversity as our common strength. I bled red, white, and blue.

As I grew older I saw how things really worked in America. And the star spangled nonsense faded from my eyes revealing a plastic eco system headed by animatronic leaders, media companies that sold whatever news advertisers would buy, and powerful lobbies that manipulated the masses with well-crafted rhetoric that reached deep inside of our hungry, naive hearts to stir our broken passions and divide us – even to the point where we turned against our neighbors if they didn’t share our righteous ideologies.

America today is a country where everyone is on their own. All for none. None for all. A place where we wander aimlessly until we find comfort in groups of people just like us that represent the values we’ve developed along the way. Sometimes these are blissful oases in a sea of chaos – and it is good. But mostly they are zombies huddled together in dark rooms where they collude to grab as much money and power as our dysfunctional system will allow. Leaning on scripture as they rage. Rich. Poor. Black. White. Educated. Ignorant. Them. Us. Divisions upon divisions. Sharks on a fresh kill.

And then I turn 50 and think that there’s too much fighting left to get it right. Too much work yet to do. So I seek out solace in the ruthless jungle where at least I know that the snakes won’t try to force me to bend to their will. They just are. As am I.

Until then I remain a man without a country donning a mask each day so that no one important sees the truth.


Jim Mitchem

Behind the Door
Nobody Loves No One

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.