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In light of Father’s Day and the World Cup (suck a dick, Ghana) I thought now would be a perfect time to talk about a theory I’ve been working on for some time. In the world of international relations, superpowers compete for what’s known as “hegemony,” which is basically just fancy pants talk for “everyone wants to be the big swingin’ dick.” For the last hundred years or so, the United States has been the relatively uncontested hegemon of the world (in spite of some valiant efforts by our Soviet pals). What I find to be a much more apt description of America’s place in the world–it’s also more entertaining–is that we’re the world’s stepdad.
When I first started working on this theory, I was operating under the belief that America was the dad, but the more I thought about it, the less it made sense. We’re not an old school, imperial power that spawned the majority of the other countries in the world. In fact, if anything, the U.S. is a baby in that respect. Here’s what makes more sense. Rome is the dad. I know, Greece, Persia, China, and basically any civilization based out of Mesopotamia are older, but I think it could be argued successfully that none of them have had the same changing influence on the world that Rome did. Then, sadly, Rome died, leaving Mother Earth (get it) and her children (the rest of the world) without a dad. The family descended into the Dark Ages, then the Renaissance. Mom finally got over Dad dying, so she put on some makeup and went out on the town. She flirted with a lot of guys: Spain, France, England. Hell, she even had a one night stand with Portugal, but none of them seemed to stick.
Then, America came along. We were new, we were exciting. We were the good looking kid in his twenties who had all these idealistic beliefs, even if we were a little rough around the edges. Mom started dating America, and it was slow at first. We were still young and we were making a lot of mistakes–I mean, you’re not exactly going to look at a country as marriage material if it’s still fighting itself over slavery, are you? But we slowly started to figure out our shit. Then, once we showed that we were willing to risk our own safety for her kids in not just one World War, but two, she let us in. She wasn’t delusional enough to think we had gone to bat for the kids because of our altruism, as we obviously had a lot to gain from the scenario. That’s how the best marriages work, though. When the two parties involved both get something beneficial out of the relationship, the marriage flourishes.
And flourish it did. With America now acting as the world’s stepdad, everyone has prospered. Overall income has gone up, poverty has gone down, death from disease has plummeted, violence has dramatically decreased, and the kids get to eat McDonald’s every now and then. It’s wonderful. That’s not to say that we haven’t had our share of problems. As with most family situations when Mom remarries, there’s bound to be some resentment from the kids. Plus, the guys Mom dated before didn’t just leave once we tied the knot. We’ve made friends with some of them. Others just pretend to be our pals, but they talk shit about us every chance they get, in spite of the fact we knocked out the dude who was kicking their ass at the bar. (Looking at you, France.)
That’s not to say we’re blameless in all of this. We’ve made our fair share of mistakes. America, due to its rebel beginnings, has always had a bit of a drinking problem. Sometimes we go out looking for fights, and more often than not, if we show up to a place looking to brawl, we’re more than likely going to find one. Sure, we win most of the time, but it’s also pretty embarrassing when a 120-pound Vietnamese guy throws down so hard, he forces you to call it a draw and leave early with your friends. Yeah, we’re guilty sometimes of coming home liquored up and taking out our anger on the kids. America has certainly been an abusive drunk in the past.
That’s probably why Mom flirted with the kids’ crazy uncle, Russia, during the Cold War. She never actually cheated on us, but she certainly made a lot of eyes at him. The funny thing was that we were so tight with Russia in our last big bar brawl. He had our back, but afterward, he decided he wanted to be the new dad. Unfortunately for him, while we might have had a drinking problem, Uncle Russia was a full blown heroin addict. Thankfully, after decades of trying to get him into a program, he finally hit rock bottom and went to rehab. He came out of it okay. I mean, he’s not hitting the smack anymore, but he’s definitely still a big vodka guy. Just last week, he decided to annex his handicapped neighbor’s backyard and tipped over in his wheelchair when he complained about it. We didn’t really do anything, because to be honest, we’re already pretty busy and we don’t want to send him over the edge. Plus, it’s all the way across town, and who wants to make that drive?
In the meantime, America has done quite well for itself. We went into this relationship knowing that we were marrying into money. Yes, that was a big factor in our decision. However, I like to believe that, at our core, we continue to do it because we care about the kids. That doesn’t mean that we always make the right decisions. We’re human, too. We can be selfish, greedy, mean, and yeah, one time we told our stepdaughter she was fat (sorry, Philippines, we really do love you). But we’re trying. We want the best for everyone. We want Uncle Russia to quit drinking, we want Mexico to get his shit together and get out of jail soon, we want all of sub-Saharan Africa to graduate from college someday, and we want our model daughter, Canada, to keep doing what she’s doing, because she’s just the sweetest girl.
I’d also like to think that our former competitors for Mother Earth’s affections can get over our previous beef. We want to be drinking buddies with them–besides, we hear Coach China has been offering Africa money under the table for him to come play ball for his program, and I don’t like the way that motherfucker looks at our wife.