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I can’t help it if I’m a patriot


Freedom_Of_Speech.jpg I was raised to love this country by parents who struggled through the Great Depression and World War II. My mom once saved up 17 cents to buy her mother a coal bucket as a Christmas gift. My dad went to war and visited some of the worst hellholes in Europe as  the Fighting Thunderbirds of the 45th infantry went up the boot of Italy to Anzio and later to southern France and into Germany. After the war he took a job with the Veteran’s Administration to help the GI’s move on to better lives than the ones they had in miserable muddy foxholes.

I learned from them that poverty does not have to be permanent and that evil can be overcome. They were proud New Deal Democrats who knew that government was supposed to be of the people, for the people and by the people.

They took us kids to the Civil War battlefields around the D.C. area so we would hopefully never forget the sacrifices that it takes to advance human rights and extend freedom to all.

When my brother and I became SDS activists they supported us, bailing us out of jail from time to time. My dad even went to anti-war demonstrations and was friendly to the Vietnam Veterans Against the War when most of the VA wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole.

Then one day during the darkest days of the Nixon Presidency my dad turned to me and said, "You mean I went all the way over to Europe to fight fascism and this is what we’ve become?"

I am sitting here in the dark pecking away on an iMac pondering his words as I think about McCain/Palin. I am sick to my very soul when I see Americans rally around these two individuals who are traitors to America’s best intentions. Those ideals of human freedom and dignity formed the basis of the patriotism that I could never shake off, even as I saw this nation commit many terrible crimes around the world.

Love of country means standing up for its highest ideals, not its most shameful legacies of bigotry, violence and greed.

How is it love of country when John McCain votes against virtually every piece of legislation that would help working class people achieve a better standard of living, work safer on their jobs, have more time to be with their families and look forward to a better life for their kids? Doesn’t he have any understanding of the stress and fear that stalks the lives of working class people today? These are the very people who built his seven houses, dressed his wife and worked hard for Corporate America so he could enjoy the fruits of corporate lobbyist largesse. A little gratitude and respect would be in order.

How is it patriotism when Sarah Palin blithely threatens a war on Russia? Russia has repelled every foreign invader in its long history, always at a fearful cost in human life and suffering. Doesn’t she know that Russia is armed with nuclear missiles and that a war with that country could end in an atomic apocalypse? Maybe she thinks her good Christian soul will be beamed up to heaven out of the smoking radioactive ruins.

But McCain/Palin are just two individuals. It takes millions of supporters to make them dangerous. It’s their American enablers I’m worried about. It’s time to stand up against those "Americans" who don’t give a flying fuck about genuine patriotism and love of country.They love America like a butcher loves an animal carcass.

This is going to be one helluva fight. The Republicans are the new Dixiecrats, determined to maintain white supremacy at all costs. We beat the Dixiecrats, but with great sacrifice. It cost many lives and many days of jail time. We should count ourselves lucky that at least so far in this election, that kind of sacrifice has not been needed.

Daily Kos diarist TexasMango nailed it when she said that this is a referendum on the very soul of of our nation. We had a referendum like that in the election of 1860 when the blight of human slavery could no longer be ignored. To me Barack Obama is our Abraham Lincoln, answering the call to duty as this nation faces ruin at the hands of its internal enemies.

Too many people have made the supreme sacrifice for our American ideals: whether they were soldiers in a war they never wanted or civil rights workers in the Deep South, labor activists on the picket line or the many others I could name.

We owe it to their memories to fight like hell for the living.

America and the world deserve nothing less from us.

These thoughts grew out of a comment I made on TexasMango’s Daily Koz diary. This version is expanded and edited. Please visit her Daily Koz diary. There is a beautiful American soul somewhere deep in the heart of Texas.

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