A tattered, tarnished flag

(The following runs as a column today on our political web site, Capitol Hill Blue. It also runs here because, frankly, it was the only thing I felt like writing on this Independence Day.) The American flag flies in front of our home on this Independence Day, just as it does the other 364 days a year. Sadly, it does not fly as proudly as it once did because the America it represents does not stand as tall as it should.

(The following runs as a column today on our political web site, Capitol Hill Blue. It also runs here because, frankly, it was the only thing I felt like writing on this Independence Day.)

The American flag flies in front of our home on this Independence Day, just as it does the other 364 days a year.

Sadly, it does not fly as proudly as it once did because the America it represents does not stand as tall as it should.

Perhaps our flag should be tattered because the America it stands for is but a tattered remnant of a once-great nation, a country that once stood for truth and justice. That was, we were taught, the American way.

But truth is a disposable commodity in today’s America, cast adrift in a sea of political expediency, drowned by a tsunami of double-speak, treachery and deception by our government, our leaders and the definers of our culture.

Truth cannot exist when our elected leaders lie as matter of course, where Americans are expected to fight and die in wars based on misstatements, misdirection and mistakes.

Justice is a natural casualty of war when truth dies in battle. Justice fades into oblivion when the attorney general of the United States calls the Constitution “an outdated document.” Justice cannot survive in a nation where government agencies are given carte blanche to spy on its own citizens or hold them without due process.

Nor can justice exist in a nation that violates its own stated standards on human rights, tortures prisoners or operates gulags under the shadow of an American flag.

On this Fourth of July weekend, the America we once knew, honored and loved is missing in action, driven into exile by a government for sale to the highest bidder, led by zealots who put political agendas above the best interests of the country and who are kept in office by brain-dead lemmings who allow political conformity to displace individual initiative and thought.

America is no longer the home of the brave or the land of the free but a nation of cowards held in check by radical nutcases who use fear as a tool to turn a nation founded on the notion of freedom into a refugee camp of oppressed, distrustful, bitter partisans.

America cannot be great when it is ruled by a corrupt government that answers not to the people but to fatcat special interests with huge political action committees and the money to buy access and influence. It cannot stand as a shining example of what democracy could be when its own democracy is gone, replaced by an increasingly dictatorial form of government where wars are launched without proper review or where key facts are withheld from the people, Congress and our allies.

America cannot expect to earn the respect of the world when its leaders cannot even win the respect of its citizens who tell pollsters that they expect their leaders to lie, they expect their government to be corrupt and they no longer feel their elected officials represent their interests.

Yes, the flag flies in front of our house on this Independence Day 2005.

But it cannot fly proudly because it can no longer represent America.

The America it is supposed to represent no longer exits. On this day when most of us should celebrate many of us will, instead, cry.


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13 Responses

  1. I can not miss the chance to respond.! It is so evident your political views overrule your patriotism and good judgement! If you feel this way about our country and the flag why fly it? Can it be that you still enjoy the freedoms that so many died for and all that flag stands for? As far as the undertones of your Democratic Party Choice you should be thankful for a President with enough backbone to defend this country from the violence we all may see more of if they are not stopped. As a former classmate of yours I see you have certainly been successful in life and now able to enjoy a quiet life in our beloved Floyd Co. Perhaps you should remember those who died to give you that right today instead of being so negative and critical of those trying to save our liberty for generations to come.I wish you peace and wish you could be grateful today that with all our problems we still are the most blessed nation on earth and should try to promote and preserve that.

  2. k naff, the America you’re talking about only exists in your mind. Do you really think that you’re free? You live in a society that’s scared of everything and in particular of losing what you think is a great life.
    So many in poverty, the least efficient and effective health system in the world, you have more laws and by-laws abrogating personal choice than any western society and many societies that you think are backward. As the simplest example, the States is that only country in the world to have a federal law defining the size of a sheet of toilet tissue! You have more people in prison than any other society. You have a president that thought it “great” that a mother was forced to work three jobs just to support her family. No, the America that currently exists is a cruel and heartless place that rewards guile and graft (not the English colloquialism for hard work) and punishes empathy and now, open thought. Today you have few rights, fewer freedoms and less liberty over your life than pretty much any other society. Your argument is laughable.
    The only thing Bush has done is to try to control the energy supply line and maintain oil pricing in Dollars (the primary reason for the war). It’s got nothing to do with terrorism. It’s to protect the consumer society that America’s become. As long as you idiots keep working your lives to a nub and spending the little money you get and have crap-all leisure time to sit and think about the World you inhabit, the more he and his friends will keep making money out of you. As long as you keep buying the rest of the World will tolerate that consumption and not object. When America goes into recession (it is possible) the rest of the World will quickly turn its back because, quite simply you produce very little of what anyone wants to buy . . . you want to complain? Tough sh*t, that’s market forces for you. When the tit goes in to the wringer, watching GW go running his ass off the WTO is going to become a prime time spectator sport.
    I’ve been lucky enough to see so many parts of the World, share time and break bread with its people. I now live in Europe, a long way from my Pittsburgh roots and the one thing that I can state clearly is ‘The rest of the World doesn’t hate America, it just doesn’t want the false dream you think you have, you’ve become an embarrassing joke and the Muppet in the Oval Office manifests that joke.
    The ‘Stars and Bars’ is the emblem of our nation. Only a nationalist uses and abuses that emblem. A patriot supports their country and its people not the just the flag. Bush is a Nazi, by every definition of the term.
    k naff; Ironically, Bush has clarified the fact that the World’s a much smaller place than you think and has drawn global opinion to the fact that its primary aggressor is run by a greedy f*ckwit. Rather than writing ill informed protectionist garbage, you might gain from getting to know some alternative societies . . . or even better, learning more abouty your own.

    John B.

  3. Fortunately those with k naff’s views are now in the minority, if you believe the polls. Maybe we will see better days ahead. Well written Doug. You speak for many.

  4. It was good old Thomas Paine who said, “The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from the federal government.” I feel like it’s time to do just that.

    I think we can cause a revolution in this country simply by standing up united and telling the President and Congress that we demand a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”– instead of a government that lies to the American people, is governed by greed and special interests, strips us of our civil rights and privacies, and is arrogant to the rest of the world.

  5. Doug, Your current Rant said it all. It also provided me with the answer to why I didn’t attend my city’s 4th of July fireworks display this year. I’ve attended every year, in spite of the fog and winds along the SF Bay. The weather was the same again this year but I chose instead to watch reruns of The West Wing rather than face the bracing weather outside. You, however, saw my truth – that I’d lost my heart for celebrating something that was no longer there – this country, the one I once knew and loved! elgee

  6. Your left-leanings are obvious. I bet you voted for Bill Clinton, remember him? Did he lie about WMD’s? Did he lie about Saddam? We are in a fight for the American way of life, for a free and open society. If the US doesn’t take on the terrorist who will do it and when? Times have changed – you still have a pre-911 mind-set.

  7. DH:

    A leftie eh? I suggest you spend some times in the archives of Capitol Hill Blue (especially during the Clinton years) before showcasing your ignorance on a public blog. 🙂


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