Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Honestly, as an old hippie, one who lived through the Viet Nam troubles, and who even spent a little time in jail for protesting that war, I thought I had seen America at its most divisive.  That it could never possibly be as divided as it was between the "Hell, no, we won't go" anti-war Americans and the "America, love it or leave it" Americans.  Never did I think that things would ever be as bad again as they were, say, during the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention.

Boy, was I wrong.

I am getting really sick of the politicians (and let's face facts, most of them are Republicans, and in the interests of full disclosure, I am a liberal who usually votes Democrat) who keep saying that they need to be elected because "we need to take America back."

From whom?

Who's got it?  When did they come in and take it away from "us?"  Did it happen when we were asleep?

You know, I do believe that these inflammatory idiots are talking about ME.

Well, I hate to break it to you, buddies, but I'm an American, too.  Just because I disagree with you does not make me treasonous, or any less of a patriotic American than you are.  Now listen to this next bit, because it's important: I'M JUST AS AMERICAN AS YOU ARE.  The fact that I have a different vision for where our country should be going does not make me evil.  It just means we don't agree on everything.  OK, we don't agree on LOTS of things.  But in the past, even in the Viet Nam protest past, the "other side" was never vilified like it is now.  We disagreed right up until the election, and then we rolled up our sleeves and all got to work behind the winner.  We did it with Ike, with JFK, and even, God help us, with Nixon.  But we did it.

America was founded by, and upon, dissent.  By white landed males who disagreed with the idea of a king who was granted his power by divine right from God Himself.  They set up an admittedly faulty system that put more power into the hands of more people, but it didn't address slavery, commerce, or a whole bunch of other issues.  But it DID guarantee more personal freedoms than any previous society or system ever had.  It's still the best damned thing that human beings have come up with so far.

So believing in ANY of the following does not make me a traitor to our country, only perhaps to your vision of it.  With which the government has guaranteed my right to disagree.

• I believe it's important to share resources that protect our poorest and weakest from falling into lives of poverty and degradation by implementing social programs that feed, clothe and educate them.

• I believe that every woman has the right to control what happens to her body, without exception.

• I believe that every human being in this country has the right to health care, and that it ought to be paid for by the government, just like it is in other first world nations like Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, etc., etc., etc.  And I say this as a person who has been chronically ill for 48 years and who has seen others get rich on treatments and remedies that have failed to improve my life.  Health for profit does not work.  Sorry if you own shares in an insurance company, but there it is.

• I don't trust the rich 1% to do right by me.  I think their real attitude towards me is what Mitt Romney was filmed saying, namely that because I live on my social security now -- a fund into which I paid plenty when I was working despite ill health -- I am now some kind of bum who feels he is entitled to wheedling a pittance of a living out of their pockets.  Social Security and Medicare are NOT entitlements.  We paid into them our whole working lives and we're just taking OUR money back, not taking YOUR money from YOU.  Stop slapping the "entitlement" label on anything you don't like as though it were a "Poison" label.

• I think it's GREAT that the government supports things like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  It's always the first thing that conservatives want to cut, and I suspect it's because a literate, educated middle class scares the bejeezus out of them.  That funding amounts to 0.12% of the budget.  Cutting that funding gains us almost nothing in balancing the budget, but we get it back four-fold in pre-school education benefits.  And it's good for our collective souls.  (You hear that, conservatives?  Yes, I just called you "soulless!")

The real list of differences is far, far longer, but you get the idea.  So stop calling me a traitor, stop throwing stumbling blocks into my path to the polls, and stop using that bloody divisive language before another public figure -- or any figure -- has to take a bullet for it.

The only thing you need to "take back" is your mean-spirited language.  America?  It's just fine, right where it is.

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