20 June 2006

The wants and needs of today's patriotism

Not a lot of time to post today (we're still deep in the throes of post-Stanley Cup celebrations here, after all), but I read a fascinating opinion piece today about the status of what 'patriotism' is here in America. While there are some commentaries I feel disapproval with (The Dixie Chicks, bashing, for instance), there are other...and grander...points made here about how this country has become so compartimentalized in its actions, its policies, its very dreams that it is perhaps undercutting its own purpose. The statements made about this country's leaders and citizens no longer wanting to achieve lofty goals, but just countless specific policy issues really resonated with me. I think that's why we hark back so fondly for Presidents Kennedy, Truman, and both Roosevelts...there seems to be a time now overlooked when we believed...genuinely believed...we had a great purpose on earth, and also knew we had the skills and heart to carry those goals through to fruition. Now, we just appear to have ever-wavering levels of self-doubt, self-remorse, and self-hatred.

Most readers know I am liberal, but I think I'm a centrist liberal...whatever that means exactly, I'm a little vague. Maybe I'm being 'selfish' like the Dixie Chicks are accused of being, too, but I have several 'wants' for this great land and I am willing (and have and will continue to) to make these wants into achieved actions. I want better use of my tax dollars and I want the introduction of lobby reform to make it happen. I want a third political party financed and supported as well as the two major, but corrupt, existing ones. I want my borders secure, and English the primary language spoken (the same language my ancestors from Clan Chattan in the Scottish highlands learned and taught for generations now). And while I oppose what idiocy this current administration has entered us into the last half decade, I want my military forces well-cared for and their families not dependent on food stamps to survive. I want us out of wars where we don't have a plan on what the hell we are doing, not only now but also in the future.

I also want, though, a formulated plan for not only helping the homeless in Iraq find shelter but also those still living in tents from New Orleans...why am I, as a taxpayer, still paying for 10,000+ mobile homes (caravans) to sit empty in an Arkansas prairie while hundreds could use that home, no matter where they are from??? After we get those 10,000+ occupied, let's build some affordable homes, somehow and someway, for everyone else who needs it. I want food for the hungry and especially the children, if that means school breakfasts and/or school lunches for them to survive, so be it: let the proud farmers and the parents of this country see these young ones flourish and live. I want basic (non-rote memorization) education for those same students because not everything in life is going to be a multiple choice test nor are we going to be given the answers ahead of time for us to memorize...I want to see the kids think on their own again. I want us, as a country, to think on our own again.

And not wants, but demands: bring in the fair tax (as espoused by Neal Boortz) and provide national healthcare for all US citizens (stress the 'US' and 'citizens' words especially). And also I demand we investigate just how well this "John Wayne Global Policy" we've been on for decades now is working...while we're still a superpower and can modify those policies before we're overtaken by others.

And, as a native born citizen of this fine land, one final demand: to dream again, and dream big. I'm so, so weary of being intimidated into a bottomless well of self-doubt and self-inaction. Let me be proud and unafraid once more...let me be an American without shame.

(The above article was linked from Real Clear Politics.)

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