Vlog: Patriotism for something more than War

cross-posted at daily kos: Vlog: Patriotism for something more than War

On Friday I flew from Boston to Des Moines to vlog an Edwards speech in Waukee, Iowa. I'm quickly getting addicted to the thrill of citizen journalism. Edwards is known for his domestic policy orientation, but on this Friday night Edwards chose to focus his remarks on America's role in the world.

Edwards is clearly talking about how his anti-poverty crusade, based on a new sense of American patriotism and moral values, are an essential ingredient to our foreign policy. His thinking on American leadership in the world is inextricably linked to his strong belief in community, patriotism and morality that we need to demonstrate through our actions here at home and abroad.

Follow me below the fold for the video of Edwards and the interviews I did on a warm and breezy Friday night in a small Iowa town when all of us in the school gym were thinking about the world outside, far outside.

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The War on Independence Day

Dear Uncle Sam,

The war on Independence Day is at hand. Those damn liberals keep wishing me a "Happy 4th". Happy 4th? Happy 4th piece of chicken? What is that?

My neighbor has to be the most liberal of them all. He believes that if you want to buy fireworks you might as well wad some cash up and set fire to it. What a traitor! He thinks patriotism is wearing one of those Old Navy t-shirts with the flag on them, but I believe that is desecration of the flag. After all he's a fat, bald, ugly guy with a lot of body hair. Nobody wants to see our flag look like that.

Traditionally, I always show my patriotism by beginning the festivities on July 1. After all, Independence Day is so important that I believe we should celebrate it for at least 1 week. My neighbor, unpatriotic bastard that he is, has the balls to ask me to save it until the 4th, and calls the cops reporting me for using illegal fireworks and disturbing the peace. Note to neighbor: if the fireworks weren't illegal they wouldn't sell them. Maybe he's just pissed off that one of my ground blooming flowers caused his car to explode last year. It wasn't my fault that he had gas leaking from his car. Maybe he should have gotten that fuel line checked.

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Daily Outrage on the Flag Desecration Amendment

There have been some wonderful diaries on the flag desecration amendment, but it's important enough to throw out another -- and another, and another, every day, until this battle is won. We need to keep the issue at the top of our priorities so political leaders make no mistake in reading the netroots.

The Senate takes up flag desecration next week, in the form of debate about a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the authority to criminalize personal expression.

From what I can tell, the pro-amendment camp is a mere one vote away from watering down the bill of rights. And I'm pretty sure all 50 states stand ready to ratify. So next week is do or die on this issue.

The point of this diary is to expose the bizarre Orwellian inverted-speak at play here. We already know that Republicans are masters at this game. For example:

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God and patriotism

God is not a Democrat. God is not a Republican. God is the ultimate independent. Patriotism depends not on your party, social or religious affilation or ideas.

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Immigration - The Great Diversion

While illegal alien immigration is an issue this country will need to deal with, this Administration has brought the problem up from the basement to divert our attention from the grave reality that we are engaged in a war that we have lost. We are not losing, we have lost. It is not possible to win an immoral war. There will be no winner - as there is no honor. We are not defeating terrorism; we are manufacturing it. Make no mistake, the imminent threat to this country is the continuing and deliberate deception. We've been duped - that's the plain and painful truth.

Seven retired Generals (Christman, Eaton, Batiste, Zinni, Riggs, Newbold, and Swannack) have called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Active senior officers are required to "serve at the pleasure of the President - or else" - the or else being shamefully rebuked and de-valued. I reference the case of four star General Eric Shinseki who had the audacity to suggest (prior to the occupation of Iraq) that it would better to go in heavy and then draw down, than the reverse.

The White House responded to the Generals' "May Day" call with the statement, "The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history." I guess that's why there has been no investigation, indictment, and criminal prosecution for this Secretary as the architect of heinous torture. I have a very perplexing and pertinent question for Mr. Bush. You are a self - proclaimed born-again Christian, the acting leader of a predominantly Christian nation about to celebrate the resurrection of this Christ on Sunday. You clearly have no shame for torturing Iraqis (whether they be terrorist or civilian). My question is, "How do you justify the sentence of a life-time of nightmares for the returning American soldiers?" Folks, as a popular bumper sticker decries, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

My fellow Americans, I besiege you to take a closer look at this situation of immigration. It came out of nowhere. It's been allowed (almost by invitation) for decades. What makes it okay for the Department of Defense to spend $27 million of its recruitment budget for Spanish-language ads (machismo) and bilingual personnel to find soldiers to fight our war, and at the same time have House Judiciary Committee chairman, James Sensenbrenner call for the felony prosecution of their familia? Could it be to rescue the free-fall of the President's approval rating? Perhaps an attempt to spin a new, improved and empathetic George? I'm sorry, the cloak does not fit; and I'll call it as it is, "This Emperor Has No Clothes."

Don't diminish this scenario as political spin, or dismiss it as partisan rhetoric. I am not un-patriotic, un-American, or un-Christian, I am a humanitarian. This is a trans-partisan travesty that we need to tackle as Americans. There is one potential positive outcome to their ploy, that being that we mimic the unity of the Mexican community. We take it to the streets and show the world that truly, we are, "One nation, under God, i-n-d-i-v-i-s-i-b-l-e, with liberty and justice for all."

By Jill Ferguson, author of TROOTH-Ache: A Global Pandemic -- Rising from Disconnection and Fear to Healing and Empowerment


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