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The 4th Of July Has Been Cancelled In My Home, Move Along Please... 
4th-Jul-2008 10:31 am
Upside Down Flag
Why is the US Flag diplayed Upside Down?

On This July 4th, I'm not proud to be an American. Not right now, and not until some of the wrongs have been made right.

I used to be proud of us and what we were collectively as a nation, what we stood for, but that's really taken a beating in light of what we have been in the eyes of the world community and the people in our own backyards. I have friends from all over and they talk to me often about how our country is perceived abroad as a result of our policies and actions in the past 7+ years, and it makes me sad - because I couldn't agree more in most of the cases. The shame I feel in knowing what I know about our policies and actions (not just diplomatically, but within our own citizenry) and how I won't feel that incredible sense of deep love and honor to be an American has begun taking a toll on me, one that I am placing limits on because if I didn't I would get despondant. This is why the spirit of today's national holiday will be lost on me, and why I'm afraid I won't feel it again until these wrongs have been made right.

I had nothing to do with actually being an American citizen, I defaulted to being one when my American parents sexed in 1970 and I happened to be born here. It never fails that the people who squawk the loudest about patriotism and American pride are in the same boat as me, having actually done nothing to earn their citizenship. I had an argument not long ago with someone on this very subject and about today's national holiday where the song by "God Bless The USA" Lee Greenwood was quoted. I was accused of being a traitor, a Communist, an America hater, and told I should leave the country and live in France. Yeah, I know - lame. I drew the line at being told I didn't support the troops because I didn't support the war in Iraq. I told the person that to begin with, it isn't a war - it is an occupation, and an unlawful one at that. I asked how many troop casualties and deaths had occurred (quoting them a number when they failed to give me an answer) and what the largest number was for casualties per month since the occupation began which consequently was June of this year. Of course they had no answer. I asked about the soaring number of suicides and cases of PTSD from the enlisted, the numerous and overextended tours of duty, the lack of adequate care received by returning troops and veterans, including outright neglect. I mentioned Retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who in an army report on the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib stated:
"There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes, the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
Don't get me wrong, this could have been anyone - even a John Birch Society member I once went similar rounds with. My entire point was to put your money where your mouth is and be responsible for statements about others with whom you may not agree. Words mean things. Clearly this was a Fox News watching, GOP Kool-Aid drinking type of 'patriot' who was having none of my 'Merica hatin', commie-pinko-librul ways. Which is fine. The real heat came down when my support for Barack Obama came up, and then it was the standard "HE'S A MUSLIM! FLAG LAPEL PIN! EATS CHRISTIAN BABIES!!" rhetoric. I only have one response to that, which is I'd rather have a President who wipes his ass with the flag than one who wipes his ass with the Constitution. It was quickly turning into "Don't agree with me? Well FLAG, FLAG, FLAG, FLAG, FLAG!!" That's where I ended the discussion as it were.

The Bush administration has ruined the America I love, and John McCain promises further that legacy of abject failure. I mourn that loss until or unless it is resurrected. Until that time, the flag is just a piece of cloth, the Star Spangled Banner just another song, and the accompanying nationalistic bravado just another uniquely hollow American sentiment. My relatives, friends, and all American servicemembers who fought for my freedom to say such things did so of their own accord, and for that I am truly grateful and humbled - but their actions are mere vanity for those who will not take care of them and their families when they need it most and do not mourn them when their lives are cut short. I'm not one of those people. I know how many servicemembers we lose in senseless death and how many are left maimed and each one of them diminishes me as a human being. Anyone can have a standard, but not everyone can maintain them.

So I'm not proud today, and I won't be tomorrow either. I'll let you know when I am.
4th-Jul-2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
I had a similar discussion/argument with someone at work about six months ago. Doesn't it seem that talking to pro-war/fundie/pro-Bush people, we don't even share the same vocabulary as them anymore?
4th-Jul-2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
That's not a vocabulary I'm willing to learn, but yes!
4th-Jul-2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
4th-Jul-2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I know, and it's not even my birthday!

Edited at 2008-07-04 03:50 pm (UTC)
4th-Jul-2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Hear hear! But, you forgot to link the article for eating Christian babies. ;) I recently asked hickbear down there how he liked Canada.
4th-Jul-2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
You're awesome! Hahaha, wow there are similar articles. That's nuts!
4th-Jul-2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Heh, read through this article and watched the video... man. What a whackjob. Lady says Obama has Arab tendancies and she doesn't want to meet him because "he's a politician and will say anything he needs to say". So... same said for McCain right? :)
4th-Jul-2008 03:48 pm (UTC) - I have hope!
Ok, Mr. Glass-half-full. I have hope for the next election. If Mccain wins, I'll be of the same thoughts as you. But for now, I have hope in our election process. Misplaced hope maybe, but hope.

We've done too much as a nation to give up now. One day we'll be telling our grandkids about how we lived through The Great American Shame.
4th-Jul-2008 03:49 pm (UTC) - Re: I have hope!
Oh, I have hope, but I'm also being my own brand of realist.
4th-Jul-2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
I like Lee Greenwood but have grown to hate that song.

Good entry, man. Thank you!
4th-Jul-2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
Likewise. That song used to make me cry, but now it's just a fluff piece.
4th-Jul-2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jude. You know, I'm just going to say it, right here, right now, and I hope you don't take offense. As things stand, the following is one of the most egregious examples of what is wrong with this country:

Congress Delivers Promised Israel Aid Bump Despite Budget Deadlock.

Um, hello? Bridges and levees are collapsing all over the country, and we just saw another natural disaster wipe out entire towns and fields of crops, causing food prices to spike again. Roads are full of holes, we have no health care to speak of, schools are out of money for busing kids, let alone teach them anything. Gas prices are insane, and truck drivers are going out of business because of it, yet they are the ones bringing us the food we eat from distant locations. Ordinary people are losing their homes to foreclosure and living in their cars, and veterans are sleeping in the streets and eating out of dumpsters...

And still, we send 6.8 million dollars to that tiny country of Israel EVERY SINGLE DAY. Source: ifamericansknew.org

And I can't ever mention this strange, disturbing statistic without instantly being branded "anti-semitic" by the same type of "patriots" who squawk about the sanctity of this war which they've never actually fought in, and the irrelevance of Iraqi casualties.

Wanting MY native country and my fellow Americans to be safe, structurally stable and fiscally solvent is anti-semitic? BULLSHIT!
4th-Jul-2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
I take no offense at all!

A journalist friend of mine linked me to ifamericansknew.org a while back. I'm going to have to write a post about this sooner than later, I've been meaning to but am backlogged. This kind of takes precedent over many other things though!
4th-Jul-2008 09:44 pm (UTC)

4th-Jul-2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
Get your ass home boy, we need you here.
7th-Jul-2008 02:46 am (UTC)
Glad I went far enough back in catching up on LJ to read this - thanks for a fantastic post!
7th-Jul-2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
I was waiting until the right time for me to say all of those things, and I'm relieved I finally did.
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