As we head into the July 4th holiday, I’m feeling a little feisty.
::sigh:: I know, I know. I just can’t help it.
I was just in a Facebook discussion that arose when a friend posted something about Richard Hofstadter’s 1963 essay about right wing conspiracy theories and paranoia. I’ve written about it before, and if you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. It’s eerie in its application to what is happening in our country today.
I simply left a comment stating that I love that essay, and someone else commented that Hofstadter was a Communist and hated capitalism, and if I thought that was great, maybe I should move to Russia or China. They wrote that our government is “the people for the people.”
Yeah, it was on. I’ll post my reply here, with slight editing. I’m sick of some people saying that because I’m liberal, I don’t love my country, or I don’t support our troops, or I’m not a true American. First of all, I’d sure love to know what constitutes a true American. Apparently some think that it entails wanting to kick the ass of every country on the rest of the planet, just to show that we can. True leadership—and I still believe that America is a global leader—comes through diplomacy and friendship and a genuine desire to help others and make things better for all. Simply dropping a bomb on someone is not a sign of strength; it is a sign of weakness and bullying. Some seem to feel that a “real American” lives in rural areas, perhaps in the Midwest. I’m guessing that every New Yorker who witnessed the death and destruction on 9/11 would take exception to that definition.
Anyway, here is what I wrote.
Hofstadter's personal beliefs and ideologies have nothing to do with the validity of his essay about the far right and their paranoid behavior. It was valid when he wrote it; it's every bit as valid today.
It continues to amaze me to hear people say that their freedoms are being taken away by this liberal government. Where were you when Bush was tapping your phones? Where were you when he and his cronies advocated throwing people in jail without charging them for any crimes? Where were you when they gave the green light to TORTURE, ignoring the Geneva Convention in order to satisfy their hair-trigger, cowboy, jingoist, sadistic wet dreams?
Why weren't you up in arms when THOSE freedoms were being taken away? And I'd really like to know which, exactly, freedoms you feel are being taken away by this administration.
Just like every other American, I've been affected by taxes, health care, the military, student loans, and housing. I've seen the devastation wrought by an incompetent administration's tax cuts, unjustified wars, and an unwillingness to fix our broken health care system. I've had family members, senior citizens, have to declare bankruptcy because of catastrophic illness and huge medical bills. I've seen our national deficit go through the roof because of the previous administration's wars without the taxes to finance them. I watched as our economy came close to collapsing because of the GOP's lack of regulation on Wall Street, and I watched as the unfettered greed of bankers and mortgage companies took our country to the brink of economic destruction.
"The people for the people?" Are you prepared to pick up the tab for infrastructure maintenance and construction? Do you have a neighborhood group that has potluck dinners once a month so that you can plan how you'll fight the fires that strike one of your neighbors' homes, or YOUR home? Do you like your public library? When you retire, are you planning on opting out of Social Security and Medicare? Are you prepared to foot the bill for your parent's nursing home bills and medical bills? Do you have bake sales where you raise $500 to help pay for the kid next door with leukemia's hospital bills, which are approaching three hundred grand?
I am sick unto death of people talking about the evils of our government. It is OUR government, it helps us stay healthy, it helps with our education, and it helps us with our day-to-day lives.
If YOU hate our government so much, I suggest that you take a slow boat to any country that oppresses its people, restricts their speech, dictates their religion, and requires women to be punished for not being virgins on their wedding day or forces them to bear a child that resulted from rape. Just go enjoy that for a while, and then tell me about how much you hate our liberal government.