Thursday, June 23, 2005

New Old Glory

It infuriates me that the US Congress is debating yet again the addition of a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. There are millions of Americans who have no safety net for medical issues, no protection from discrimination in the workplace, no guarantee of equal protection under the law and no freedom of association to form lasting civil unions for themselves. We are supposed to be the greatest, richest and most powerful country in the world, yet we find it necessary to "protect" ourselves from an individual’s expression of his or her own genuine life or from his or her expression of dissatisfaction with the State. This is one of the most ludicrous smoke-screens I have ever witnessed. It follows the pattern of the "Big Lie" where if you vote against the amendment, you are then castigated as unpatriotic. Being unpatriotic is linked to failure to support the current administration, its cronies in the Senate, US House and the Courts and failure to support their policies, especially their war in Iraq.

In this administration’s tenure, we have been told that the US had to invade Iraq to protect our national security. Now we learn from the Downing Street Memo that we, the people, were the victims of a complicated series of lies fabricated to gain our assent. In reality, there do not appear to have been ANY weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. After we invaded a sovereign nation in a preemptive, premeditated and immoral war and after we destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure, we took down Saddam, a man who gained his power with our support. We then began to award contracts to rebuild an Iraq that will be better to its own people than the US is to its own and contracts that enrich the richest of Americans while leaving the poor and middle class further behind. We effectively made the mess in Iraq, we destroyed what we deemed its source, and now we are building a brand new country outside of the borders of the US. Talk about outsourcing! The problem is that we are simply placing another regime in power that will have its own problems governing the Iraqi people, especially those who are excluded from involvement. Exclusion is and always will be an issue for people as long as small-minded politicians insist on codifying it.

Hasn’t the irony of a Republican administration that supports the NRA at home and bans gun ownership in Iraq hit anyone but me? Doesn’t it infuriate you that we only have access to medical care in this country if we live below poverty level, if we are employed, or if we qualify and can afford to pay our own premiums for health insurance? Should it not be our priority to give our own people the very best we have to offer if we are going to prosecute a war that was based on a farce in the first place. The money we have spent on this war could have provided health care at least to all the children living in poverty in this country. But what do I know? I am a gay citizen and am viewed by so many as incapable of understanding the needs of raising healthy, well-adjusted children.

Think of the dollars we have spent to make sure that we can claim that the Iraqis have access to free elections. Those dollars could have gone to revamping our own election process to guarantee that the issues of the ballot box in THIS country are resolved. Think also of the roads and bridges that we are building in Iraq and be careful to swerve around the pot-holes on your way to work.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in freedom from tyranny in any form, whether from religious fundamentalism in Iraq that affects its populations, or in the USA from Christian fundamentalists who are supporting one of the most secretive and polarizing regimes since the Nixon era. I also support our troops and want them protected and at home where they belong. I just think we ought to put our own house in order before we start cleaning someone else’s clock. That does not make me unpatriotic. It makes me angry.

So, let me come back to the issue of burning the flag. Here is my flag. It represents the dream of an America that protects its own citizens and an America that invests in itself, that accepts our differences as strengths and our bigotry and small-mindedness as weaknesses. It is a flag for a country where our bright white light is forged from all the colors of the spectrum. It is a flag where each star is earned by each and every state through adhering to a greater law than that of provincial norms. In short, it represents an America that protects us all, under the Constitution, no matter how we differ from one another and no matter where we live. Any political policies that strive for less for all Americans will only continue to polarize us as vividly as the difference between red and white.



Blogger Erin said...


I can't believe there are no comments on this. I suppose folks in blogdom are afraid to be categorized as unpatriotic as well...

Everything you say here is so true, and I've said many of the same things for years. We're so damn wealthy and powerful as a nation, why are our people so poor and weak. Why in HELL are we in anyone else's business when our own is so totally out of control?

It isn't that I don't think we should help other countries, I think we should help our own FIRST.

As for civil unions, flag burnings... they say they're trying to protect the things this country was built on, the morals and values - apparently a piece of cloth and the definition of the word "marriage" is more important than children in the United States starving to death, people dying of diseases they can't afford to have treated, and most definitely more imortant than getting our own political system straightened out.

6/23/2005 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger dave said...

hi ron i tried to email you but it was returned. can you email me? thanks

6/24/2005 08:11:00 AM  

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