Category Archives: Patriotic

Success is in the Eye of the Beholder

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about presidential campaigns, qualifications, policies, candidate biographies, et al. What matters the most in choosing a president? Personally, I believe policy positions are everything. When I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I voted based on his policy proposals. It was exciting to me that a man of African descent was going to the White House, but that fact had nothing to do with my vote. The fact is the Republican Party has offered me nothing for more than three decades.

A lot is made of personal background and “character” in politics. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama came from less than advantaged backgrounds and made something of themselves. Yet the right can’t stand them. George W. Bush and Mitt Romney are examples of white privilege run amok. I have long thought that if W weren’t named George Bush he’d be laying drunk in a gutter somewhere. But his image was sort of down home and folksy, which appealed to a certain segment of American society.

Romney on the other hand plays the high society high roller to the nth degree. The average person will have a hard time relating to him if they vote on candidate biography. But the dyed-in-the-wool Republicans love his big money story, although I’m not sure what he really did to earn it. Would he have had the opportunity if his name weren’t Romney? Mitt and W are proof that the Old Boy Network is alive and well.

I really think the Obama campaign needs to showcase his biography. He is a real American success story and people have forgotten that. Put it out there.


Patriots?

Twenty-two years ago the United States was in the middle of a debate over flag burning. Congress had approved the Flag Protection Act of 1989. Literally the minute it took effect on October 28, 1989, opponents challenged it by publically burning flags.

People were arrested and charged, but ultimately charges were dropped because the law had been declared unconstitutional. In the ensuing years, more public acts of flag desecration were carried out. Organizations such as the American Legion protested some of these acts, including an art exhibit called What is the Proper Way to Display the U.S. Flag? at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Some people reacted violently to these acts. A number of states even tried to pass laws making the penalty for assault negligible if the victim was in the act of flag desecration. These were referred to as “beat up a flag burner laws.”

At the same time this was happening, crews were cleaning up spilled petroleum in Prince William Sound. Countless animals had died as a result of the Exxon Valdez being introduced to Bligh Reef by its captain. Among them were at least 250 Bald Eagles, America’s other symbol of national pride.

Yet there was no patriotic outrage about this desecration. The people who showed the greatest concern for the deaths of these living symbols were not those screaming bloody murder about flag burners. Nobody introduced laws making assault of careless ship captains worry-free.

Maybe it’s because we all know we are guilty of causing the devastation in Prince William Sound. Our consumption of petroleum continues to be insatiable. Although there is new-found interest in alternative forms of energy, those entrenched in the oil business have motivation to keep it on top, and will doubtless do all they can to keep it that way.

I consider myself a patriot. As an Army brat and former Boy Scout, I learned about flag ettiquette and practice it to this day. We display our flag on national holidays, but not in the rain or at night. We don’t allow the flag to touch the ground. When our flag becomes too soiled and tattered to display, we will send it to an organization which will destroy the flag in a dignified manner.

I am also a lover of wildlife, particularly birds. The images of dead and dying wildlife, particularly Bald Eagles, in Prince William Sound brought tears to my eyes. I still cannot understand how this tragedy did not motivate patriots to do something big about our thirst for petroleum.

There’s no time like the present, Americans.


Could you be a communist and not realize it?

We’ve been hearing a lot about the “socialist agenda” of President Obama. Forcing people to buy health insurance? Socialism! Bailing out the failing banks? Socialism! Saving GM? Socialism! Friendly to organized labor? Socialism!

I once had a conversation with a relative regarding a large corporation which had recently moved its headquarters from its historic home to a new city half a continent away. I saw this as a sign that the corporation did not care about the community which had been part of its growth and success. In addition, I believed this was a move designed to put distance between executives and the unions representing the bulk of its employees. It was clear my relative dislikes unions, and he suggested that giving too much power to organized labor is just a step away from communism.

His comment really upset me. I am very liberal politically, but I am absolutely anti-communist. The reason is the atrocious human rights records of communist nations, including China. In fact, I am strongly opposed to any government which curtails the basic rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dictators, authoritarian regimes, military juntas, or any form of government which uses intimidation, torture, incarceration, terror, or other methods to cow its citizens into passive compliance deserves no respect from people who value justice, equality, dignity, life, speech, art, or other features of a free society.

So, to those of you who think that our president is a closet commie, take a look in the mirror. Then take a look around you. That new flat-screen TV you treasure may have been made by communists. Those inexpensive toys your children are playing with? They are likely touched by the skilled hands of commie labor. Okay, I know some of them may have been made in non-communist places like Mexico or Singapore, but they have their own issues of repression to resolve.

I think the U.S. Senate needs to start an investigation into this subversive group of activists. Are they hiding their true nature by accusing the president of being the very thing they are? Could they be… communists?