Friday, October 14, 2005

Proud To Be An American

My ancestors started showing up on the shores of the New World, much to the future consternation of the native population, with the Pilgrims. That line of the family hung around New England for about a century, then started moving South, then West to Kentucky and Illinois, then out to Iowa. In the meanwhile, another line of the family had popped up in the deep South, taking the future site of Jacksonville for its own, while a German immigrant showed up in Virginia to start yet another eventually converging line of ancestry. These divergent people, English, Germans, picking up some Irish and probably Scottish along the way, eventually came together in the great State of Florida, where I live today. I'm proud to be an American and wouldn't know what else to be.

That's what I find so strange about the current element of criticism that's going on in our society; somehow the more conservative types have decided that anyone who is critical of our government and its policies "hates" America and wants to pull it down. A new movie is coming out about Joseph McCarthy and Edward R. Murrow's coverage of him on CBS; George Clooney, one of the stars and a co-producer, was approached by a prominent Big Elephant Hollywood mover and shaker who asked him why he "hated America" enough to put out a movie like "Good Night and Good Luck". Clooney was apparently taken aback by the comment, since he thinks, as do I, that criticism of your government doesn't equate with hatred of your country.

This does seem to be the methodology of the Big Elephant tacticians, to smear the reputations of those who disagree. Karl Rove, the Dark Lord of the Smear, has gotten the Big Smear down to a true art form, using it to pummel the Democrats and even moderate Republicans (ask John McCain next time you see him about the South Carolina primary in 2000) and now just about every Big Elephant running for everything uses the same tool in every race ("Yep, ole' Clem over there, my opponent for dog catcher, is a liberal and would let them Nepotists and Thesbians run the country!"). "Liberal" has become a dirty word, even an epithet, spat out by Rove-clones at all times, but the tactic has expanded now to question the patriotism of anyone who dares question the wisdom of the Iraq War, the free spending and borrowing of the Big Elephants in D.C. or the credentials of those nominated for a seat on the most prestigious Court in the Free World.

Well, if being critical of the government and its policies is treason, then I should be hung with the rest of the pack. The policies of Bush and his cronies have just about ruined what once was a great nation. We're now more concerned about someone's religious beliefs than we are about making sure that our schools are the envy of the world (which they most certainly are NOT), more concerned about cutting taxes than we are about making sure all of our citizens have adequate health care and can afford it and not starve to death (which at least 30 million cannot) and more concerned about the riches of the few than the welfare of the many. Instead, we're told constantly that those of us who disagree are disloyal and traitorous, that we're "persecuting" Christians and others of "faith" if we don't agree with giving money to private schools in voucher programs instead of doing our damnedest to make sure the public schools are the very best they can be and by insisting that religion stay in its place in society and not be rammed down our throats every ten seconds in government-funded programs and facilities.

No, the patriotic among us are the questioners, the critical, the ones who make everyone else mad by wondering if we're going down the wrong path. It doesn't mean that Democrats have a monopoly on common sense or that they are the only ones raising questions; even some Big Elephants are getting hammered by their own more right-wing brethren for daring to question the party line. Anyone can ask "Why?" and shouldn't be attacked for doing so; it is the Attackers who are the unpatriotic and the disloyal.

No comments: