July 04, 2005

On this Fourth of July ...

... this magpie can't think of any better food for thought than these words from a July 4th blog post by a US soldier stationed in Mosul, Iraq. Here's part of what he had to say:

One of the great things about America is that it represents something different to each person. I guarantee that George Bush sees America differently than a new immigrant, but that's only the beginning of the differences. Each of us uses a differnet mix of our liberties, each of us values certain things more than others. And by taking advantage of the unique experiences and knowledge that each of us has developed, we are a force to be reckoned with. In roughly 250 years our nation has risen to greatnes beyond anything that might have been imagined by the founding fathers, and we have done it because of our freedoms. Without the rule of law and civil liberties we would have nothing.

But some of those liberties are under attack. There are those in America who value corporations above individuals and profits over freedoms. And it is time for us as a nation to rise up and say that we will not except that option. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is time to stand up and demand that those rights stop being chipped away at. It is time to remind those in power what America was founded on.

Since 9/11, there has been a lot of talk about what it means to be a "patriot." Is it someone who is willing to go to war? Maybe a patriot is someone who is willing to make hard decisions. I don't think so. To me, true patriotism lies in a willingness to remember what your nation is supposed to be about, and then acting on it. Patriotism is not about blind loyalty to your nations leaders or founders, it is about a willingness to always look for the truth. Patriotism is about making your nation better than it's ever been before, and making it better for everyone, not just the rich. I say that there is no better tribute to the last couple of centuries of progress than to continue to progress.

The full post is here.

Posted by Magpie at July 4, 2005 12:00 AM | US Politics | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Yer America is powerful because it has the greatest abundance of natural resources on the planet...Enver Hoxha and his Albanian Communist Party could have made Amerika the pre-eminent world power! Any system would have worked, because of the huge advantage of the natural resources...no, the greatness of America lies in other areas, for me...the liberty it would today export to the world is a farce. Invade, conquer, and occupy a soveriegn nation, with the justification for 'self-defence' being a pack of shameless lies...and this is the freedom you offer???

Posted by: ScaramoucheX at July 4, 2005 12:44 AM

Gotta admit that ScaramoucheX has a valid point.

America's wealth was largely built by slaves and indentured servitude. While the landed gentry (same people who are in power now, basically) enjoyed all these freedoms they came up with, they specifically withheld them from anyone but themselves.

Only in our very recent history have we even begun to barely resemble a mere shadow of the ideals that we pretend to represent.

Seriously. It's something to consider.



Posted by: Hanna at July 4, 2005 04:14 AM

both of your comments are well-taken, although i'd suggest to scaremouchex that she/he would probably get more people to listen if she/he took a less confrontational tone. and i'd point out that russia sits on a trove of natural resources at least as rich as that enjoyed by the US -- and i'd ask her/him why it is that russia never attained the type of world power that the US did. obviously there's something more involved in becoming a powerful nation than just the existence of a resource base -- reading some history might give a hint as to what those things were.

i have a number of reservations about what the soldier had to say here and in his whole post, but i thought that the overall thrust of his argument -- that the fight we face in the US is with those who think they own the country (and own the rest of us, for that matter), and that a true patriot looks back to first principles as a guide to action in the present.

even though the rights and principles set out in the declaration and constitution have until quite recently been applied only to wealthy white men, i think they're largely a good set of guidelines for any movement for social and political change.

most of all, i thought that the source -- a soldier serving in iraq -- might convince some people who would discount the same suggestions about patriotism and rights if it came from you or me. perhaps i should have made this last part of my reasons for the post clear.

Posted by: magpie at July 4, 2005 01:47 PM