The Meaning of Patriotism

Yes, Virginia, there is a double standard. It’s called hypocrisy, and there are certain talk show hosts and reporters that are intimate with its details. You see, it’s all well and good for a sitting president to “de-classify” the covert status of a CIA operative who has associates all over the world who doesn’t know she’s a spy. It’s OK for a sitting president, back in 2002, to say we’re going to track down terrorists using their bank accounts, but it’s not OK for the New York Times to report — four years later — that the government may have abused their power to do so because it was targeting US citizens. It’s OK for Ann Coulter and other right-wing pundits to condemn the New York Times and say she wished Timothy McVeigh had chosen that newspaper’s main office as a target instead of the FBI building, but that does not stop her from asking people NOT to refer to her as a “New York Times Bestselling Author.” Come to think of it, I don’t think any right-wing pundit has ever had a problem with being referred to as that.

It’s so transparent, is what it is… It’s defensiveness… Kill the messenger, right?

On July 4th, I plan to read the whole Constitution of the United States (annotation is provided at that site as well), since I’ve never read it other than those sections which I studied in high school.

Perhaps the most famous amendment to the Constitution is, of course, the First, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Now, people like Ann Coulter might say she was “never a big fan” of the First Amendment, but it is that amendment that allows her to distribute her filth in the bookstores and spout it on the Today show. When the founding fathers left England, the presses were licensed from the government, and the church and state had to “approve” the content. Ann isn’t a fan of the First Amendment because her hate propaganda would most likely be deemed acceptable in a climate such as the late 1600’s, since it falls right in line with the message the ruling theocracy would like to send to the masses. Those of us who would like to hear and speak the truth aren’t always so lucky. This is why the First Amendment was passed, and progressives should never be surprised when those who love political hate speech would like to see it go away.

I’m not saying anything new here, I know. But it just continues to amaze me how transparent the GOP’s motives are… How they can continue to chastize the press for finally doing its job of revealing this administration’s ever-widening web of extreme abuse of power.

As the neo-con movement dies and its remaining members clamber up its decaying hull, their cries will reach a fever pitch. Hopefully through all of this, it will be easier and easier for the public to see how hollow this whole “values campaign” charade has been. They are not out to help us, they are out for themselves — out to line their pockets with United States Treasury cash. They need to stay in power to keep their bank accounts flush, and their tactics will get ever more desperate. This July 4th, America finally seems to be watching the high drama unfolding in Washington. Congress has lower approval ratings than George W. Bush, and there is a reason for that. America knows that the Congress is spinning its wheels, paying itself big bucks to discuss issues that have little or no bearing on the daily lives of US citizens. They wonder just who are these people we’re paying to send to Washington to represent us, and what are they doing with our time? Why are they talking about flag burning and rolling back a tax that affects 0.27% of the people in this country? Why did those same people refuse to give the working class a break by raising the minimum wage for the first time in ten years in the very same week they voted themselves pay raises? What is going on?

Perhaps this is part of a large agenda to raise the level of static so that we’ll all be deaf to what’s really going on? It’s the job of the press to take away that static — to report things that really matter to us and to tell us what’s REALLY going on.

That’s totally contrary to the current neo-con agenda. They don’t want the media to clarify the view. They want the controlled message. In their ideal world, all messages would once again be approved by the ruling class. Their propaganda would continue to speak of the grand successes of their strategies instead of revealing the truth of it all — that every one of their policies for the past six years have been total and complete failures for this country as a whole, starting with their complete dropping of the ball on 9/11 and ending with… Well, who knows where it ends. All we know is that if it wasn’t for the First Amendment, they’d be getting away with murder right now.

So tomorrow, we celebrate our independence. We celebrate our independence from England, but we should also celebrate our own personal independence. I am thankful for all those who had the courage to stand tall so that I could write this today without fear of someone knocking on my door in the middle of the night (although I do see that an ever-increasing number of visitors to this site are arriving from US Government IP addresses — hello there).

4 thoughts on “The Meaning of Patriotism”

  1. “Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes’ destination of California — these were places that voted against Bush!”
    -Michael Moore, September 12th 2001-

    What about the press failing to fully investigate Waco? The mainstream press never mentions the fact that the ATF had numerous opportunities to arrest David Koresh peacefully. As a matter of fact they went to the gun range with him days before the siege. Isn’t it the job of the press to ask why the ATF can’t just arrest a guy when he’s away from a building full of children and cult members? Wouldn’t it have been a better and safer idea than storming the building of someone who they know has multiple firearms and might use them? Also, the Democrats similarly criticized the press for investigating Bill Clinton. Is it only ok to have the press do its job when it falls in line with your parties own beliefs?

  2. I would never be an opponent to an investigation into any legitimate matter. I have to qualify this because if I said ANY matter, that would include the witchhunt you mentioned that was the investigation into Bill Clinton’s Whitewater dealings. That particular investigation cost the American taxpayers $60 million dollars to discover that there was no *there* there. It was the tangential investigation that was a total abuse of power of the supposedly independent investigator’s job that eventually led to the uncovering of a consentual affair between two adults. You know — the kind of affair that Newt Gingrich had with his own intern while his wife was in the hospital dying of cancer. That kind of thing.

    But other than total witchhunts, yes I am in favor of investigations. Lest you forget, there was actually an investigation into Waco, and you can read Special Counsel John Danforth’s report on it here. To summarize, the US government did not start the fire at Waco, they did not shoot at the Branch Davidians on April 19th, 1993, and Janet Reno was unequivocally cleared of any wrongdoing. I read her biography a few years ago, and if I recall correctly, she does acknowlege she would’ve done things differently if she had it to do over again. I’m sure the Davidians might say the same thing about their own behavior at the time.

    So again, yes, I’m for investigations, but moreover I am for total transparency in government. That’s the goal. For instance, if a Democrat had totally dropped the ball regarding 9/11 and his irresponsibility let to the deaths of thousands of US citizens, I would insist on a full investigation. And like President Roosevelt, who ordered a full investigation into Pearl Harbor IMMEDIATELY after it happened (some may argue he did this to thwart any call for an independent investigation, but in any case, the investigation was called), I would expect a Democrat to react with all due haste as well.

    But what did we get instead? Stall, stall, stall, and outright opposition to the investigation by the Bush administration. I still wonder… what do they have to hide? The only answer is, must be quite a lot.

  3. I only read the first few lines of the post and I found an error. By definition, the operative was NOT “covert” and therefore was not declassified… make a better argument… at least start with a truthful one!

  4. J-Mann… Thanks for the comment. You know, I should’ve researched that better. I am not familiar with what Bush’s official explanation was regarding his allowing Plame’s name to be released. I had heard that he “de-classified” it, which perhaps is incorrect. I will look into the official explanation.

    The CIA, however, believed that she was “covert,” even if Bush decided that she was not. According to NewsMax, the right-wing stronghold of misleading news, Bob Novak’s source reportedly failed to tell him that “Plame was working undercover and likely was not aware she was.”

    In fact, according to the same article, “When the column appeared in July, the CIA prepared a report to the Justice Department, as it is required to do whenever classified information is disclosed.”

    So yes, the CIA thought she was undercover, and I’d think the CIA (her employer) would be more believable in this case than George W. Bush. But call me crazy.

    My apologies on the “de-classified” bit though, I did slack there definitely. Thank you for keeping me honest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *