Friday, July 04, 2008

Honoring the fabulous fourth

I feel like I should say something patriotic to celebrate the holiday, but I am not feeling it. America? Blah. Land of liberty, of thee I sing? Not today.

I'm not going to get on the couch, right in front of you, but if I were to attempt some self-analysis I'd say three factors were contributing to my indifference:

(1) I'm an indifferent sort of fellow Israel, as you know, doesn't excite me. Judaism, lately, has been leaving me cold as well. Passion, fervor, fire, zeal, ardor: It all, lately, seems so childish. So, though I recognize the blessing that is America, and appreciate the fact that I can sit at my desk and write about how our president is a pinhead with no repercussions, this is a cold and rational realization which inspires no patriotic excitement.

(2) Patriotism has been perverted In George Bush's America, you're a patriot if you support him and his policies, and a traitor and a terrorist if you do not. Patriotism per the dictionary means "love and devotion for your country" but sometime shortly after 9/11 this meaning was lost. Love and devotion to the president is more important. Once upon a time, a patriot was someone who sacrificed for the common good, someone like John Kerry or Al Gore, both of whom volunteered to fight in Vietnam. Now, no sacrifice is needed. All it takes to be a patriot is tough talk and blind devotion. Salute the flag and you're a patriot. Salute the constitution which provides us all the right to give the flag the finger, if we so choose, and you're a liberal, which some consider the very opposite of patriotic. Teddy Roosevelt once said, "to announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, it is morally treasonable to the American people." That, of course, is pre 9/11 thinking. Among the many casualties Al Queda inflicted upon us is this: "servile" and "patriotic" have become synonyms.

(3) The pinheads are still in charge I confess: Its hard to get excited about America when the worst president we've ever had smirks in the Oval Office. Still, hope is on the way: Even Old Man McCain would be a significant improvement over the chimp and his criminal cronies. Perhaps next year, or even as soon as next November, I'll feel more like celebrating America.

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