Friday, July 04, 2008

Who's Patriotic?

My Patriots

Patriotism has been a big part of the U.S. consciousness over the last number of years. Flags flying everywhere, necessary flag pins, questioners called treasonous and aiding the enemy. No doubt it will be a big part of the next election too. Since it is afforded such high value maybe we ought to talk about what Patriotism is and how we relate to the concept. I think the right and the left see it as two distinctly different things. As I have told many of the conservative detractors, we aren't even talking about the same thing. How are we going to ever come to agreement on this?

One of my problems with the rightist is they aren't looking to come to agreement. They are looking to win the argument. Period. Certainly I would like to win the argument too but a reasonable adaption of your views as an integration of the answer is fine with me. Give and take is what makes the world workable for all of us. You can't have it all but you are naturally entitled inclusion. No matter what side you are on. This is what a smooth running Democracy (ok, republic, I know) looks like.
Most of those I meet on the right are unflinching, dogmatic, dismissive and take, take, take, all those lazy bums are below me, theocratic if even in the political sense. ....The mix of the attitude of faith with the practicalities of politics. They have gone as far as many are will to let them go.
I am, and always have been willing to cooperate to make this country all the things we all dream it will be. Again I understand, we aren't talking about the same things. One's ideal is admittedly closer to socialism with the people having control of the things we all share as common and necessary for a strong society. The other side is more favorable to something closer to anarchy. No controls, no regulations, no interference to shape anything. The cream will rise to the top. Which is what is necessary for a strong society.
I understand both sides and know that a mix of both will provide for the strongest society. I must admit to having a moral repulsion to the pure survival of the fittest social darwinism. Practically, I also find it harmful to do things that tamp down the cream of the crop or unduly restrict talent and/or intelligence. If one assumes that the U.S. is only a land mass without the people then it follows that a patriotic feeling would come from a feeling for the people and system they create. The more people included the more they are going to feel like it works for them. The fewer included the more to wonder if it works.

For me a feeling of patriotism comes from our ideals of inclusion and opportunity. In the world I see that inclusion, working together and sense of opportunity are diminishing. It gives me no reason to feel pride in an enterprise that appears to me to be failing. To feel proud of your country as a matter of faith rather than reason is, to me, like giving every kid at the soccer tournament a trophy. Makes them kind of meaningless if you ask me. It makes patriotism useless if it matters not what the real condition of the country and it's people is.
Many will say, yes we have problems but it's far better here than in other places. Wellllllll, sometimes yes, sometimes no. The right seems to love facts and documentation(of course then when you show it it, is just a piece of liberal bias) well, here are the facts in documentation. Knock yourself out.

What it all comes down to is if you see patriotism like I do then you are not even talking about the same thing as the people that see it as a matter of faith and unbending loyalty.
With all matters of our country we need to understand each other. We don't have to agree but we must agree that our country must be inclusive and we must make the attempt to make it a country that includes the views and concerns of all of us. That is the kind of country that would stir my patriotism. It's not happening. Too all you patriots out there, sorry to offend you but I'm frankly not feeling to patriotic right now.
I have a hard time feeling pride for preemptive war, torture, warrantless wiretaps, international lawbreaker, corporate crony, cost plus, no bid contract, blatantly political “justice” department, biggest debtor nation, America. I apologize if that offends your sense of patriotism. I recognize that is "blame America first". Know why I do that? .......CUZ I LIVE HERE! My family, virtually everyone I have ever know lives here. I pay taxes here. I am first concerned about my country and what they are doing in my name. Yes, I blame America first because I have the biggest stake in America. On a practical basis, my only stake is in America. In 1971 when this song was made country music legend Johnny Cash was expressing what was considered patriotic.
If we had a little less loyalty to a party or a flag and a little more loyalty to each other maybe, just maybe, we could recognize we really are all in this together. We will get a lot farther using the assets and ideas of all of us conservative and liberal.
A person that would believe that would be far more a true patriot to me than a guy that put his hand over his heart or wore moms apple pie on their lapel everyday. We can fight mightly but we will never go forward until we decide to work for the common good so we all have a piece of the pie.

I have a hypothesis about why the right is like they are. I find many are 40ish plus or minus. This means most of what they have experienced with politics is from 1988 or so on. The end of Reagan to the end of Bush. They have been told non stop all their life about how evil liberalism is. They have never met the boogy man. They haven't experienced liberal control. Of course, they will tell you they are experiencing the effects of the liberal policies. Which is true. Only they ignore the good things they have thanks to liberals. Whether they believe it should be there for them or not it is. Someday when it's not they may change their opinion.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Make Me Proud

Energy is a vital and pressing problem in our country. A problem we all have to live with.
One of the campaign plays this year is to push for oil drilling and blame the oil problem on the Democrats/environmentalist wackos /liberals/. That is how the right plans to win the argument on energy. This is Newt Gingrichs' genius plan.
So astonishing stuck in the past that it is almost embarrassing. Let's leave the environmental argument out completely and evaluate this.

Saudis raise output. The price goes up. Middle Easterners say there is no lack of supply. But the price goes up. We reduce consumption, the price goes up. Supply has become disconnected from price. Even if we produced more oil there is no promise of reduced prices. If OPEC reduces supply equivalent to what we produce we are in no better situation then we were before. Anybody think they are going to sell domestic oil at less than market price? Actually the thought of “more oil” is a bit of an oxymoron. There is less oil everyday. We may have enough left for X years but there is no doubt that when it threatens our economy to this extent and it is cause for wars that it's time to come up with a better idea. It's a declining and unsustainable industry.
Many will say, but while we are coming up with alternatives why not drill and get more oil too. Because it is a bad business decision that delays a sustainable future. Why shouldn't we put All our dollars and efforts into getting this done as fast as possible? Actually do things like a LEADER would do things? Not many would argue it is a national emergency. Giving the addict more of what he is addicted to just prolongs his sickness. There is much ready to go into production. From a viable compressed air cars. To viable vehicles that utilize wind and solar.
Putting our efforts in things like that seem far more exciting and promising than, lets suck oil til somebody else thinks of something else.
I'm excited about the potential future, with more choices, more jobs and the idea that we can THINK our way out of this problem.
Drilling and supporting it gives us the wrong mindset and one that will delay a future of potential . We will continue down the road of inertia instead of innovation? It's time to act, the bells and whistles are blowing all around you. Are you afraid of the future or are you willing to stand up and handle it. It's time to act. Do it now. Demand it. These are the things we did in my youth that made me proud of my country. Please.....make me proud.