Tuesday, July 04, 2006
On this Fourth of July...
Does it mean that we should all blindly wave the flag while attempting to ban a form of political speech that arouses strong emotions in us?
Or do we give them the right to burn the flag while reserving the right not to be pleased with this action?
Does it mean that we embrace our historical heritage of racism, sexism, and homophobia rather than fix the great wrongs we have committed in the name of Manifest Destiny and “making America great?”
Or do we embrace the dream of the Civil Rights Movement by trying to purge ourselves of the prejudice that pervades through our society?
Does it mean that history teachers should whitewash American history by glossing over the uglier aspects of our history such as the genocide against the natives, John Adams “forgetting the ladies,” slavery and homegrown terrorism against African-Americans, sexism, denying women and minorities the right to vote, etc. just because they might offend so-called patriots who say teachers are a part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to corrupt our youth? Do we cater to those who want to censor American history so it fits their “America can do no wrong” worldview?
Or does it mean that history teachers should teach their students that while America has done good deeds in the world, it cannot escape the darker legacies of its history which threaten to overshadow the ideal America can yet become?
Does it mean that we should deny gays and lesbians the right to marry and the benefits that come with marriage while declaring this non-issue the paramount concern for homeland security? Does it mean that we should deny gays and lesbians the right to marry because we declare that gay marriage destroys marriage while the countless number of Republican elected officials who engage in soliticing sex, adultery and divorce go scot free because they are at least shouting that they are defending marriage?
Or does it mean we fight for the rights and freedoms of all citizens no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. (s)he hails from 230 years after the colonies split their ties from Great Britain?
Does it mean that we should stand by silently while a so-called president signs laws passed by Congress with no intention of ever obeying them?
Or does it mean that we should fight for the balance of power between the three separate but equal branches of government?
Does it mean that we should blindly support the US in whatever it does including invading a country based on false pretenses of WMD and a fictitious link between Saddam and Al Qaeda?
Or does it mean that we should hold our leaders accountable for misleading the country into war?
Does it mean that we should advocate the detention and even execution of those who do not share our political beliefs?
Or does it mean that we give them the right to say anything they want provided that it isn’t “Fire” in a crowded theater where there isn’t any?
Does it mean that we should attempt to silence the 9/11 widows with useless name-calling and smearing just because they might not share our political beliefs?
Or does it mean that we should defend their right to speak out without vilifying them much as Ann Coulter and her ilk do?
Does it mean that we should blindly and misguidingly (look at deathdisko's comment) declare that the soldier who planned the rape/murder of an Iraqi woman and her family innocent because he is an American and that we value the lives of Americans more than others while simultaneously proclaiming that we are pro-life here?
Or does it mean that we should fully hold those guilty of war crimes responsible even though they are our fellow American citizens?
Does it mean that we should all join in the base attack on the NYT for reporting on common knowledge about a program designed to trace the financial transactions of terrorists which was touted by National Litterbox George W. Bush right after 9/11? Does it mean that we should call for an Office of Censorship that will regulate the media?
Or does it mean that we should defend the NYT because freedom of the press should be guaranteed if not for reasons of liking its reporting.
What does America mean and what should be its future? The future many right-wingers hold for it where the democracy is replaced by a secretive police-state or a fulfillment of the promise made on that hot July day 230 years ago?