There’s a movement afoot on the woke left to “cancel” the name America. This is asinine performative bullshit, just like land acknowledgments and #KyivNotKiev.
A lot of the objection comes from Latin Americans who do not live in the United States. The last I checked, the inhabitants of a country get to decide what they want to be called in their own language. In this country, people call themselves Americans. Mexicans and Bolivians can call us estadounidenses all they want. I don’t give a shit. But that doesn’t give them the right to dictate what people in this country call themselves in English.
Instead of “America,” the cancellers use “US,” “USian,” and other constructions. But they don’t have the same effect on the reader.
“US” sounds cold, sterile, like a government form. “America” conjures up images of apple pie, baseball, the Stars and Stripes, the valiant troops fighting the Nazis and the colonial British overlords. “Captain United States” wouldn’t have the same ring to it, would it? “Make the US Great Again” wouldn’t stand a chance as a political slogan. It’s too bureaucratic.
I can just imagine Trump making hay of it at one of his fascistic rallies: “Look, everyone. Many people are saying that the woke left is trying to cancel the word America, OK? They say, ‘Sir, they’re telling us not to say America, that it’s not politically correct.’ And I will say this, folks, they’re trying to cancel our entire country. Very sad. But with Trump, you’ll Make America Great Again.”
I’m not an American chauvinist or nationalist fanatic; in fact, I’m a fierce critic of American imperialism, especially in the name of “democracy promotion.” But that criticism can happen without this kind of performative bullshit (see a theme?).