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IN CALLING President-elect Barack Obama a "house Negro," Al Qaeda missed the memo from Grant Park. Before Obama's victory speech in Chicago, the crowd of 125,000 people said the Pledge of Allegiance. In my 53 years I have never heard such a multicultural throng recite the pledge with such determined enunciation, expelling it from the heart in a treble soaring to the skies and a bass drumming through the soil to vibrate my feet. The treble and bass met in my spine, where "liberty and justice for all" evoked neither clank of chains nor cackle of cruelty, but a warm tickle of Jeffersonian slave-owning irony: Justice cannot sleep forever.

Derrick Jackson's Boston Globe column yesterday so begins.  It, like this diary, is entitled 'It's OK to be an American now', and before the words I quote you see a picture of Obama in shirtsleeves before a large American flag.  

I want to explore the column and the nature of patriotic feeling.  I invite you to keep reading.

Some of you may have already read the column.  I referred people to it in yesterday's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up.   If not, perhaps you will take a moment or two to read Jackson's offering.  You will read of spontaneous expressions of patriotism, through the Pledge and the Star Spangled Banner, in places like "notoriously liberal Madison, Wis., and the People's Republic of Cambridge."  And you will read of the changing attitudes towards patriotism by African-Americans, rising according to a study from 60% just before the election to 72% just after.  University of Washington political scientist Christopher Parker, who did the study, told Jackson of his own participation in the anthem at a football game:  

I've often had a hard time saying the words. But as I watched the flag being unfurled, time kind of slowed down. I thought of the race speech (by Obama), the Democratic National Convention, and the crowd in Denver. I thought about him at Grant Park. I felt free to be proud, free not to be angry. I can actually say the words. I'm thinking, 'Oh, I guess it's OK to be an American now.' "

    Jackson notes that

This was a long way from 1887 when Frederick Douglass said, "I have no patriotism" for a nation that does "not recognize me as a man."

Let me leave Jackson's column to explore a bit.  not recognize me as a man  Those words by Douglass could have been said, perhaps in a slightly different format, by many Americans.  Perhaps we should change "man" to "person" because for too long - perhaps still in some cases - that applied to half our population, because women were not granted full political rights, and in far too many cases are still denied economic rights.  Those who are gay or transgendered are still denied many rights, including that of openly serving in our military, a most meaningful action one could take to demonstrate one's love of country, a willingness to die on its behalf.  We often complain about the lack of civic involvement of our young people, but as we learned yet again this cycle when they want to participate far too many are willing to put obstacles in their path, attempting to prevent them from registering or voting.  And one can argue that the single most patriotic action one can take is to vote, for when one does one implicitly agrees to be bound by the results of that election, whereas one who does not can legitimately say that s/he did not participate, had no part in the process, and therefore does not feel constrained by the results.  If that non-participation is laziness or from disinterest, perhaps we can argue such slackers are still bound because of the benefits they receive and the opportunity that was open to them.  But when we deny participation, put up obstacles, tell people they are too stupid so that their votes in an unnecessarily complicated process should not count, we are also telling them they are not part of our political process.

Michelle Obama was heavily criticized for words she offered during the primary, that for the first time she was really proud of her country.  I do not think one has to be African-American to have experienced some of the feelings that lay behind her words.  Symbolic "firsts" matter psychologically, and not just to those whose subgroup achieves them.  They are a demonstration of growth in our society.

I was born in 1946.  In my life, some states did not allow women to serve on juries.  Legal restrictions on attending public universities existed both on the basis of gender and of race.   In the case of gender, that included our national service academies.  Universities paid for by the taxes of all were in some cases open to less than half.  The nation had looked the other way while law and custom were used to keep people of color in inferior positions, out of jobs and neighborhoods, and not just in the states of the former Confederacy.

I do not recite the Pledge nor sing the national anthem.  I ceased doing both while I was in school.  And yet, despite opposing the war in Vietnam, I enlisted in the Marines when I was 19, in 1965.  I pay my taxes, am willing to serve on juries, vote, participate politically, and have for more than a decade devoted myself to educating young people to empower them to civic participation by teaching in public schools.  I would argue that my continued participation in teaching and politics is an indication of my love of country.  

Some would not agree, because at times I am highly critical of what I observe. They would be outraged that I teach my students to look at the failure of our nation to live up to its ideals, historically and in our own times.  They might say I am undercutting the patriotism of my students.  I would argue I am connecting them in a way that can only lead to their loving their country more, because they feel it connects with them, values their existence, is open to their participation.

I do not say the Pledge because for me the words are skewed.  I am committed to the Republic, created by the Constitution.  It is to that which I give my loyalty.  I do not disrespect the Flag.  One treasured possession was a gift from my first year of teaching Government, 1998-99, when the parents of one of my students as a thank you arranged to get from the office of Senator Paul Sarbanes a flag that had flown over the Capitol.  It is too large to hang in my temporary building classroom, but I regularly take it out to share with my students.  

I do not sing the anthem because I find the music close to unsingable, and the words more than a little silly.  And while I recognize the need for military fervor (I did, after all, volunteer), I am cautious about glorification of military and war for their own sake.  Still, I do sing "America the Beautiful" and other patriotic songs, I enjoy fireworks, and am grateful for those willing to go into harm's way so that we can enjoy the freedoms we do.  

And yet, and yet . . .  for too long too many did not feel as connected.  Perhaps some women may be frustrated that Clinton did not achieve what Obama now has. They, too, have aspirations.  To them I might note that right now there are more than a dozen women in the U. S. Senate but with Obama's resignation no Blacks.  There are no Native-Americans.   There are  few Hispanics.  Despite that, many of all shades and genders and sexual orientation experienced that moment at 11 PM Eastern Time on November 4 as something significant, not only for those whose skin is like that of Obama, but for all of us.  

I have two great-nieces who, like Obama, are half-white and half-black, the children of my sister's son and his wonderful African-American wife.  I have a niece who is a registered member of a Native American tribe because her father is fully of the First Peoples.  And I look out each day at my 180+ students, who are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, mixed, . . .  and no longer see them as parts of groups whose prospect may be limited by their skin or ethnicity, but now are fully represented in the leadership of the nation we all WANT to love.

Jackson writes that the patriotism of African-Americans has often been different that of whites:  

If it had been up to African-Americans, we would not have invaded Iraq under false pretenses in 2003, costing the lives of 4,200 American soldiers of all colors. That opposition was in the spirit of author James Baldwin, who said in 1955, "I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."

I, too, love America more than any other nation.  And while not a global expert, I have traveled, to Canada and Mexico, and to numerous nations in Europe.  For all our flaws, the possibilities open to me here, the grandson of immigrant Jews, are greater than in any other nation.  I want those opportunities even greater, and open to all who come here, who aspire to better lives for them and their progeny.

The occasion of Jackson's column was the Al Qaeda tape intended to be dismissive of Obama.  Jackson points out how off-base that tape is.  He also talks about the optimism that has exploded in this nation, that when he wears his scout uniform he finds agreement about hopes for young people in discussions with those politically conservative. He reminds us that Malcolm X came to support voter registration in the South, quoting remarks from shortly before that man's death:

You and I will not get anywhere by standing on the sidelines . . . let's get involved all the way."

let's get involved all the way -  is not that what we saw from so many, and not just in the Black community?  Is that not at least partly why public opinion has shown dramatic change even since the election, in the hopes and trust people are placing in Obama, and in the possibilities for change, even as people realize how difficult are the economic and political conditions in which we now find ourselves?

it's OK to be an American now  In a sense, one could criticize those words.  It should ALWAYS be okay to be an American.  One should not have to be ashamed of one's nation when traveling overseas, but many have rightly felt that way in recent years as we saw our political leadership abandon and even deliberately undermine the principles for which this nation should stand.  Those of us at home found ourselves effectively accused of being traitors for questioning the actions of those in charge.    Then it seemed as if it were not okay to be an American.

Those of us who lived through the turmoil of the Civil Rights era and of Vietnam saw the flaws of our nation.  Many of us sought to alleviate the pains, to correct the failings.  Some feared change.  Others sought to use that fear in ways that further damaged the country.  That applies to those who encouraged violence whether to suppress dissent and protest or to undermine the government and the polity.  Too many withdrew and focused on their immediate needs and desires.  Others began to participate, but mainly to resist changes that they feared.  And our nation suffered.  

We need to heal.  That is incumbent upon us all.   Such healing can only come through participation.  That participation requires a commitment to something beyond ourselves, our immediate wants and perceived needs.  It requires political participation.  It requires a meaningful commitment.  That is one important expression of love of country, commonly called patriotism.

Let me end as does Jackson, with hope but also with caution.  The context from which he writes is the huge crowd in Grant Park, on November 4, 2008:  

The multicultural throng showed what happened when you get involved all the way. Malcolm once said, "You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality." On election night, an America confronted with very serious realities took the blinders off patriotism. May it not go back to sleep.


Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:11 AM PST.

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  •  thank you for reading (282+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ducktape, fcvaguy, catdevotee, houndcat, alisonk, nicolemm, PeterHug, Shockwave, Jim W, dkistner, saluda, azale, fightcentristbias, freelunch, sobermom, Matilda, object16, dinazina, Heart of the Rockies, sardonyx, bigforkgirl, bronte17, Nellcote, megs, understandinglife, SoCalJayhawk, Mlle Orignalmale, carolina stargazer, roses, bwren, nupstateny, dmsilev, CocoaLove, Brit, revsue, MrSandman, KevinEarlLynch, grannyhelen, madame defarge, exiledfromTN, pdl ithaca, GN1927, attydave, snakelass, annetteboardman, papercut, BlogDog, Wayward Wind, Chun Yang, kfred, tomjones, wolverinethad, rapala, historys mysteries, radarlady, 3goldens, rini, kingubu, simca, JanetT in MD, Heiuan, SherwoodB, chimene, sandrad23, EJP in Maine, ladybug53, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, govib, sunbro, Yamara, deep, wiscmass, coolbreeze, bruised toes, LithiumCola, Lindy, empathy, noweasels, xaxnar, Abacab, Audio Guy, third Party please, L Boom, suz in seattle, BachFan, mjfgates, RustyBrown, Clytemnestra, Mahanoy, emeraldmaiden, Themistoclea, VolvoDrivingLiberal, seefleur, 123frenchwine, Alexandra Lynch, triv33, TalkieToaster, tecampbell, plf515, myrealname, ER Doc, lazybum, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, WarrenS, RantNRaven, MadMs, revgerry, imorroy, DanC, FMArouet, HGM MA, Pandoras Box, Batbird, VaBreeze, One Pissed Off Liberal, marykk, ibonewits, dotsright, Cronesense, Loudoun County Dem, moodyinsavannah, leema, ColoTim, bfbenn, moosely2006, Matt Z, flumptytail, terabytes, ezdidit, LamontCranston, DWG, Tenn Wisc Dem, Seneca Doane, mcgee85, vbdietz, millwood, jhop7, Puffin, ImpeachKingBushII, bluesweatergirl, rmonroe, sand805, Port City Moon, cardeity48, scooter in brooklyn, elwior, redding888, Lujane, New England Liberal Elitist, royce, evora, bluesheep, Ming Vase, carver, temptxan, Gemina13, luckylizard, mattc129, nzanne, DixieDishrag, George Gould, dont think, debheadley, karson45, ryangoesboom, maggiejean, 1BQ, multilee, ksull, cybrestrike, Neon Vincent, Texanomaly, rsmpdx, aufklaerer, ceebee7, Discipline28, Carol in San Antonio, Stranded Wind, janmtairy, indres, Daily Activist, langstonhughesfan, Mercuriousss, Virginian in Spain, csquared, aj2k, sab39, TexanInParis, hyper, kevinpdx, Into The Stars, bbagley1, Question Authority, CityLightsLover, elropsych, ck4city, Little Flower, DaNang65, xylem, seenaymah, Enrika, The Essene, deviant24x, oldoregonlib, Leftcandid, Super Grover, unfinished60sbusiness, Colorado Billy, ETF, Lazar, jwcisneros, sulthernao, smileycreek, oohdoiloveyou, awcomeon, marabout40, Erica Jan, flitedocnm, miss SPED, LaughingPlanet, nsfbr, My mom is my hero, brunoboy, BP in NJ, Susan from 29, politik, Firecrawler09, Batensmack, TheWesternSun, on board 47, chrome327, kemetcc, hakunamatata, deboChicago, Dingodude, JoanMar, Nurse Jeckell, mtnlvr, sfkat, pixxer, SoCalHobbit, juturna, aggie98, theal8r, NYWheeler, kathleen518, CA Berkeley WV, Hawaiian, nosleep4u, Its a New Day, karehiro, ChiTownBlue2000, theKgirls, watershed, gobears2000, Relevant Rhino, I love OCD, penny8611, msazdem, safetykatie, pH7, Wolf Of Aquarius, soaquarian, k from va, dabug, kathryn1812, wsbuffalo, skpow, education it is, Ebby, DawnoftheRedSun, two moms in Az, free as a butterfly, zukesgirl64, soysauce, MasterfullyInept, giyoret, AnotherSteve, General Hubbub, sjr1, CKendall

    however you choose to respond further, or even if you merely ponder, that will be fine.

    Offered for your consideration, in the hope that some of the words, whether from Jackson or from me, will resonate in some positive way.


    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:12:39 AM PST

  •  Oh, I so agree with this (33+ / 0-)

    I do not say the Pledge because for me the words are skewed.

    and this

    I do not sing the anthem because I find the music close to unsingable, and the words more than a little silly.

    I actually think the pledge is a little scary - when you actually are loyal to a flag you can be manipulated into doing some unwise things just because of an image.  That being said, I went out and bought a new flag (made in America!) right after Nov. 4 and we fly it proudly now.  After 8 years of feeling completely disenfranchised, I really feel invested in America.

  •  I understand what you're saying, but for me (14+ / 0-)

    it's always been OK to be an American, precisely because our foundational ideals are the noblest in the world, however prostituted in practice.

    Once again, practice is starting to catch up with the ideal.

    This blows me away that this country is this stupid to put this evil man [Obama] into office. -- From a post at

    by Kimball Cross on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:24:58 AM PST

    •  for some the disparity between ideal and reality (16+ / 0-)

      made them very uncomfortable.  And insofar as they and/or those about whom they cared were not included, were disadvantaged by that disparity, they were not so sure.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:26:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's about Potential versus Actual (7+ / 0-)

        "It's okay to be an American now" is one of those observations that should be taken with a large grain of salt.

        It's very easy (and our schools do a lot of this) to  riff off the "America is the greatest country in the world, America perfected democracy, America is the freest country on earth, etc." tropes, but the truth is very different.

        The full story of America has more than its share of shameful chapters, made all the worse by the contrast with the lofty ideals it proclaims. You can't talk about America as always being special and on the side of right unless you are willing to sweep under the rug things like the Civil War/War Between the States where both sides proclaimed they were carrying out the intent of the founders, the destruction of the native Americans, slavery, and so many other things.

        If we're celebrating the election of Barack Obama now as proving something about America, it can only be done by acknowledging how far short of the mark we've fallen.

        I suppose it is a bit like that frustrating student in every class who has so much potential but never seems to quite realize it. You get really excited when they do make a break-through - but the rest of the time you're ready to throw up your hands seeing how often the could do better, but don't - and a lot of the time they don't have a clue why.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:51:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  hardly the noblest in the world (13+ / 0-)

      The French liberty and equality seem to me to be more noble but OK. or at least the same as.  and there are losts of ways of being a just and democratic nation. The Brits have evolved it over at least 500 years and their system is in many ways the basis of ours.  No my patriotism is attachment to the rocks and rills, the varied people, the golden door.  The work to make the dream come true, that's for every generation.  I am only 5 years older than you Ken, I remember standing in the Women's House of Detention singing we shall overcome with thirty or forty women of many hues and cultures, guards coming to scream at us to shut up.  It truly is the home of the Brave.  And for that and all that went before and came after and despite what I say when I am frightened and disgusted, like them I will never give up.  I suppose that's patriotism.

      WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

      by ruthhmiller on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:10:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Foundational ideas" (16+ / 0-)

      is another phrase for American exceptionalism - a particularly dangerous form of nationalism.

      It is ok to be an American because it is ok to simply be.  Period.  Whether you are American, Japanese, Zambian, or Paraguayan, it is ok.  Period.  Individuals are not justified or made acceptable by their country's "ideals."  Only individuals have ideals; not countries.  And individuals are ok regardless of their ideals.

      Rahul Mahajan, a South-Asian-American responds (Nov. 11) in Empire Notes to "This could only happen in America..." as follows:

      It is true that this could only happen in America. But what is "this"?

      As Nicholas Kristof was one of the few to point out, electing a racial minority to the top political position has been done. Jamaica and Mauritius, majority black, have had white prime ministers. Sikhs are a minority of about two percent in India. In the 1980’s, a Sikh assassinated the prime minister; the central government and the government of Punjab fought a counterinsurgency against Sikh separatists for years. Yet the current prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is Sikh. Russia, home of Great Russian chauvinism, was ruled for three decades by a Georgian; there is no love lost between the two groups. And, of course, even Chile, a tremendously patriarchal society, elected a woman head of state before we have.

      So, perhaps the "this" that couldn’t happen anywhere else is the following: nowhere else could a country enslave a racial minority, be consumed by a civil war, free the minority, then quickly impose an elaborate legal framework supplemented by a host of informal practices to keep the newly free population subordinated, let the losing side in the civil war write the history about the minority, have a mass movement that ended invidious legal distinctions, then construct a new elaborate ideological framework supplemented by "colorblind" policies that disproportionately impacted said population, have national politics dominated by a newly constructed racism, throw several percent of that population in jail, then elect someone from that minority who was careful not to emphasize the position of that minority and equally careful to grant implicit racial absolution to those who voted for him. And, throughout this whole process, to have race remain the central axis around which politics turns.

      Other countries have profound levels of racism. The way Romanians treat Gypsies or rural Indians treat untouchables has no parallel in the recent history of the United States. Neither does the way most European countries treat nonwhite immigrants. But countries for which race has been the national obsession are a much smaller list: South Africa, Israel, a handful of others.

      America has come a long way and, in many ways, has bettered itself. Everywhere you go, you find white people who are ecstatic at Obama’s victory. Americans have grappled hard with racial prejudice and many have won; more important, a new generation is growing up that doesn’t have to grapple. But if we are better now than many countries, it is in part because we were so much worse.

      The rest of the world should be inspired, but in part it should be inspired the way you would if a friend of yours was mentally ill for years and finally started to regain sanity.

      The rest of the diary is good, too.

      •  I don't tbink bad exceptionalism is a necessary (5+ / 0-)

        outcome of the founding ideals.  And remember, in our early days we had people from other nations drawn to what we represented, and then again during the Civil War, and in the great migrations from Europe in the years afterwards.

        The ideas of equality, liberty, freedom . . .  how is this a dangerous exceptionalism is beyond me.  That is, they represent a challenge for us to live up to these ideals, not necessarily that we should seek to IMPOSE them outside our borders.

        Here I want to observe from my teaching experience -  modeling is far better instruction than dictating or imposing.  


        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:22:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Democracy, freedom & inclusion (6+ / 0-)

          are universal ideas - political ideas - that are adhered to and aspired to throughout the globe.  If you are energized by these ideas, you are heir to a great tradition that is older, deeper, broader than America - and totally up-to-date as well.  

          The heritage includes many Americans of whom we can be proud.  But neither the ideals nor the movement is uniquely American, although Americans have made unique contributions.  Many Americans do not in fact support these ideals.  (See the surveys that repeatedly show that a majority of Americans would not pass the Bill of Rights.) One wonders if the anti-democratic forces in America are less numerous or less powerful than their counterparts in other democratic countries.  I don't think so.

          If we want to see a society in which all are included, the voices of all are heard, and the needs of all are valued, then we have much to do.  Obama's victory is a step along the way.  And I submit that American exceptionalism is an obstacle to be overcome.  We are called to be part of the human race, not its teachers, leaders or dominators.

        •  In the last few days, I've been thinking that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken, oldoregonlib

          American exceptionalism has perhaps blinded us to the fact that the behavior underlying the trade in African slaves was not a unique event, as some African American descendants quite understandably believe (everybody's tempted to enjoy being special, even if it's special abuse), but rather it's part of a pattern that is on-going.

          What difference is there really between taking captives in Afghanistan, paying a bounty for them and shipping them to Cuba and what was done to the Africans?  Is it really significant that what was to be extracted from the former was information they didn't have, while the latter were to provide labor and practice agricultural skills their purchasers were obviously lacking?  Is it significant that the abuse of the former has been classified as legal, while the mistreatment of the latter was simply normal?

          For that matter, is there a significant difference between "reservations," "concentration camps," "re-education camps ," and internment facilities being contracted out by ICE?  Is the forced relocation of large populations different, if they're not transported across the oceans?  This topic was one that was really not address during the campaign.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:29:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I too feel we have come a long way... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but because we have taken the bliders off we see just how loooong the road ahead is.  I, for one, feel more empowered to take up the slack, and for however long I'm given the ability to walk, talk, crawl, to continue in this endevor to create the coutry we can be.  This empowerment came with a lot of hard work in this campaign for a man I know (not just hope) will be a great president.

  •  Great diary. Here's how I feel... (33+ / 0-)

    I feel that I'm proud to be an American again.  I completely understood Michelle Obama's sentiments.

    For the last 8 years, I've haven't felt as if we've had much to be proud of as a nation.  Because I didn't agree lock & step with the administration, I've been called unpatriotic & un-American.  Me? Un-American?  My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War & the Civil War.  My grandfather fought in WWI and my father fought in WWII.  But I'm un-American?

    I used to be proud to fly the American flag and I did so just after 9/11, but then I felt like the flag & patriotism got hijacked.

    But on November 5, 2008, I proudly flew my flag -- our flag -- again.  I've had it up since the election, & I'll take it down probably on Tuesday (3 weeks after the election), but then it's going to be flying proudly on Jan. 20, 2009 for another 3 weeks or so.  (Don't ask my why I've chosen 3 weeks...I don't know...)

    BTW, I was in Grant Park on Election night.  What you may not have seen on tv was the 65K people (in the ticketed section) proudly reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance" at the beginning of the rally.  (They had Jumbotrons elsewhere, & I assume the other 200K people who were in the streets did the same.) Then a wonderful singer started our national anthem (yes, very hard to sing!) and the crowd quietly sung along with respect so that we could hear her beautiful voice -- until close to the end of the song, when everyone was proudly & loudly sang the last few lines with her.  It was a moment I shall never forget.

    •  thanks for sharing being there (9+ / 0-)

      the rest of us were of course limited to what was shown on the tv station we were watching.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:29:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I completely agree (16+ / 0-)

      My Mom's parents came to Ellis Island from Italy and my Dad's grandparents came to America during the great wave of immigrants from Ireland and they came because they truly saw this as the land of opportunity.  My Dad served in WWII; his Dad was in the calvary in WWI.  Great Americans all.

      For the past eight years, I wouldn't let my husband fly the flag on July 4th, etc, because I didn't like what that flag came to represent: believe what WE say or you are unamerican...  Against the war? Unamerican! Don't believe in torture? Unamerican! Believing in rights for everyone -- even those gosh darn gay people? Unamerican!  In 2009 I will proudly fly the flag on June 14th (flag day) and every other holiday.  My husband travels overseas and he said that everyone -- cab drivers & business associates are so excited about our election and love to talk about it.  It's an exciting time after years of embarrassement about our standing in the world.  

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" FDR

      by theKgirls on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:52:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The things that the flag represents (0+ / 0-)

        don't have to change with each new administration and policy, the flag belongs to all Americans and represents certain values that we all can agree on. There is not shame in anyone flying it proudly.

        How sad that some would refuse to fly it due to the actions of one president.

        Full Disclosure: I'm one of those "Hopemongers."

        by Medude24 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:41:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't change because of the administration (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't want to fly the flag because this particular administration somehow made patriotism exclusionary.  You're with us or against us and if you disagree with our policies you are against us.  I want to fly our flag when it stands for all of us, not just some.  I had no problem with flags under Bush I and Reagan and Clinton.  I only had a problem with Bush II and their definition of patriotism.  I will be proud to fly it again and I hope I'll always feel that we are one country whether we agree or disagree whomever is leading our country.

          "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" FDR

          by theKgirls on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 12:52:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  One of the time when I was proud (17+ / 0-)

      took place as we were starting the war with Afghanistan. My youngest daughter did not support the war - she felt that there had to be better options.  She was a high school freshman, and the school had just decided to reinstate reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the day.  She declined to participate - explaining that if the change has occurred after 9-11 she would not have had a problem with it, but she was not willing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in support of a war.  Although I was ambivalent about the war, I was very proud of her willingness to take a lot of heat from the other students about her beliefs.  I was also proud of the teacher who made it very clear that she was within her rights as an American to take that position, and was acting honorably.

    •  madame defarge.... (4+ / 0-) have articulated much of what I feel.

      My parents went to Russia in 1976.  When they came home my Mom flew the American flag off the front of our house every single day until she moved out of that house many years later.  She was so incredibly grateful to be living in a country like ours, after having seen what Russia under Soviet rule looked like.

      I have always loved my country, but over the past eight years I haven't liked it very much.  I am so thankful to be able to again proudly say, "I am an American."  

      Hard core Christian and hard core liberal...not an illogical combination at all.

      by penny8611 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:29:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live in New Zealand, and have worked (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, Colorado Billy

        quite a bit in Lat America and Africa, and I have to tell you that it is now FAR easier once again to be American. Wearing an Obama button here before the election would open up conversations, but I'd hear the big doubt - 'do you think your countrymen would elect a black guy?' Now, wearing that button is a way to open up conversations with strangers about yes, hope and change and regaining pride.

        TeacherKen, yours is my first reading of the day, and I thank you for a wonderful coffee klatch.

  •  This part of the column (20+ / 0-)

    If it had been up to African-Americans, we would not have invaded Iraq under false pretenses in 2003, costing the lives of 4,200 American soldiers of all colors. That opposition was in the spirit of author James Baldwin, who said in 1955, "I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."

    I am proud to live in a country where I can exercise dissent.  Long live our ability to protest.  It really is okay.

    •  I am glad to finally have a President that (17+ / 0-)

      welcomes dissent - I've had the commonly felt emotion these past years that Bush and his admin were demonizing folks just because we disagreed, and the McCain campaign's "real" America memes were just a continuation of this unfortunate rhetoric.

      I'm so very proud of my country to have decided against this divisiveness, and in favor of something that aspired higher than daily news cycles and cynical manipulation of people's fears.

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:40:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That part of the column is factually questionable (0+ / 0-)

      AAs make up a significant and disproportionate segment of the military.  Colin Powell, who is AA, sold the war to the UN.  There is zero logical factual support in this diary for his first sentence in that paragraph.

      •  actually there is - in polling data (0+ / 0-)

        the higher rate of participation is more a function of economic status - a higher proportion of African-Americans are from the lowest two quintiles of family income, and it is those quintiles are the source of the vast percentage of enlistees in the military.

        Thus the higher percentage of personnel who are of color and the rejection of the Iraq adventure at a higher rate in the African American community are not necessarily in conflict.  Both are true.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:01:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't question the first part, that AAs and (0+ / 0-)

          other minorites sign up in greater numbers for the military b/c of economic status.  However, that does not mean that they do not also support the mission.  Full disclosure, my brother is AA (adopted) and a Marine and many of his friends from the service are minorities.  They are gung-ho like you would not believe.  

          To support the claim made in the first sentence of that graph, you would need something - anything - other than a 50-year-old James Baldwin reference.  I guess it's just the lawyer in me, but I'm a bit of a logic fascist.  

          •  make a distinction between those in service (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and those that are not.  It is normal for those in service to want to support the mission, otherwise it is hard to keep one's sanity and one's morale.

            I had students with family in Iraq who were strongly opposing the war, and this was as early as 2003.  Some even were cynical before we went in, as early as mid-February of that year.  

            There is a wealth of polling data which shows the Africa-American community offered less support for the war effort than Americans as a whole, and that has been true throughout this administration.

            do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

            by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:15:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Data from March 2003? (0+ / 0-)

              I'd love to see it.  I'm not disagreeing that it exists.  I'm just saying it's a bold statement without any support.

              My reason from mentioning the military and Colin Powell is that it's hard to lump AAs all together as anti-war, when there are some obvious rebuttals to that argument and no real support for the point in this guy's argument.

            •  And there is a reason for that... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              teacherken, ibonewits

              taken from my own personal experience with my family members and friends in the military as well as talks with older generations of blacks in my family.

              Quite frankly the disconnect of fighting for freedom abroad and then coming home to find discrimination, hate, and distrust from the country you serve makes most blacks cynical of any war that says "We're giving freedom to other people"

              It's mostly a "Clean your own yard" first reaction.  As Ali once proclaimed the Viet Cong never called us niggers.  Nor hung us from trees.  Nor did any of that other stuff.  

              While I will say most military people in my family are patriotic and are proud of their service, there are certain reservations from their own experiences of racial inequality in the military and its upper ranks.  So its not suprising that black children have picked up on that attitude and have become more anti-war and extremely cynical about "spreading" freedom abroad.  It's all one big manifest destiny to us.

  •  Very nice (15+ / 0-)

    I remember the day after the election in 1988.  My congressman, John Porter (R-IL - the seat now held by Mark Kirk) standing at the train station in Chicago thanking commuters who had come in from his district.

    I told him (in the wake of Bush-Dukakis) that I was very angry for having been told by the Bush campaign that, because I disagreed with their philosophy, I was less than an American.

    I think I'm finally over that now.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:36:53 AM PST

  •  Under the Bush Administration, (15+ / 0-)

    American goods and services were boycotted by many individual people around the world upset at the NeoCons' decision to go to war in Iraq and other diplomatic mistakes.  We should see the sales of some exports go up merely because America's international reputation should improve under Barack Obama's (i.e. the American People's) administration.

    Putting oneself in the shoes of the world's people, it is easy to see why one would be reluctant to buy goods and services of a country whose foreign policy is remarkably bad, as Dick Cheney's was.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:38:52 AM PST

    •  I've been engaged in an emotional boycott. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sunbro, ibonewits

      I've been very ashamed of my country and very angry at its leaders and the docile masses that stood by in quiet acquiescence.

      Now, I feel much better. And much, much more hopeful.

      •  I'm happy with those here that fought (0+ / 0-)

        for justice, for peace, and for our Constitutional Rights every step of the way.  I have no ambivalence towards those brave people, and for those Americans, my love and thanks are abiding.

        I am certainly not ashamed of those who were for the greater good.  We represent many, many millions of Americans who were temporarily overruled.  I feel no shame for those like us who love this country and will be forever vigilant.

        -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

        by sunbro on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 01:55:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Totally off thread (6+ / 0-)

    but when I see the diarist's name, I can't help, at this time of year, but think: "Teacherken? Is that a chicken, stuffed inside a teacher, stuffed inside a turkey?"

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled comments.

  •  By calling Obama a 'house negro' (16+ / 0-)

    Al Qaeda hurt itself with many that it has to appeal to.  Not here in the USA so much, but in much of the world.  Not that they had many good options.

    Al Qaeda's leaders must have been praying to their perverted version of Allah, that McCain would win.  Because he would have been much better for them.

    •  they anted to provoke an atrocity (6+ / 0-)

      they were trying to rile black soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan into some kind of retaliatory "atrocity" in reaction so they could exploit it.

      As far as I can guess that's the only possible thing Al Qaeda could possibly gain from Zawahiri's comment. As such I think it was particularly cold and cynical, and also not likely to work.

      I think it indicates the terrorists are terrified of Obama. All Obama's enemies should be terrified of him. He has David Axelrod, and Plouffe, and Rahm Emmanuel. He took out the Clinton Machine, he decimated the Republican Party. Barack Obama is, frankly, the scariest motherfucker on the planet right now. I'm very grateful he's on our side.

      catamite n.m. like marmite or vegemite, but with cats

      by krnewman on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:38:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Important observation (4+ / 0-)

      That's a really great point, plf515. Running against Obama looks to be a really bad move. Not even sure what al-Qaeda hoped to gain here. They're making themselves look insane.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:40:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is evidence that Al Qaeda is falling apart. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Raven

        The statement was totally tone-deaf; a world apart from anything bin Laden would have issued or approved.  

        It may well be that bin Laden is no longer alive.  But with statements like that, it shouldn't be many years before Al Qaeda dries up of its own accord.  

  •  Thank you (14+ / 0-)

    for a well-written and well-reasoned diary.  You are one of my favorite writers on Daily Kos.

    Your diary reminds me of an incident of a few years back.  Somebody had given my a flag decal for my car, and I was hesitant to use it because at the time they were associated with  support for the Iraq war.  When I discussed it with my sister she asked me why I was willing to cede control of the symbol of the flag to the conservatives.  She was right.

    Since the 1960's there has been a pattern of assuming that whenever liberals are in disagreement with our government's policies that they must be unpatriotic.  Conservatives have been portrayed as being, by definition, patriotic, therefore their critiques go unquestioned. This is, of course, utter nonsense.  From my perspective, thoughtfully questioning and challenging the actions of your government and other social institutions is not only the right, but the duty of the true patriot.

    If we are to grow in strength and stability, then all American citizens need to feel that they have the opportunity to fully participate in our governance.  One of the challenges that Barak Obama and his administration will face is how to create that opportunity without excluding, caving in to, or panicking the conservative "Populist" base of the Republican party. The fears of the religious right in our nation may well be a source of instability in the years to come.

  •  Writer was off on the size of the crowd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13, Colorado Billy, on board 47

    The crowd in Chicago was >225,000.  

    "Because we won...we have to win." Obama - 6/6/08. WELL WE DID IT!!! 11/4/08

    by Drdemocrat on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:52:17 AM PST

  •  Pledge of Allegiance - revised (6+ / 0-)

    Here's a version I can get behind:

    "To liberty, equality and justice for all, I pledge allegiance by the flag of the United States of America, one nation among nations, one people among peoples, eternal and irrepressible."

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:52:18 AM PST

  •  The view from Chicago (13+ / 0-)

    There is a palpable sense of joy and pride in Obama (despite the frequent traffic issues in the Loop caused by motorcades). A few days ago, Obama caused quite a stir by dropping by Manny's Deli for a sandwich. You get the sense from many people that there has been a ground shift in priorities, with an end coming for the abusive practices of the Bush administration (torture, prison camps, suspension of due process for detainees, kidnapping, and war crimes) and a shift in priorities to serve the interests of people other than the well off. Obama-mania is still wild in Chicago and we have had the pleasure of knowing him long before the rest of the country. Having become disgusted in Americans tolerance of the Bush disgrace, I too am feeling proud again to call myself an American.

    An end to the Bush nightmare is only the first step in rebuilding America.

    by DWG on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:56:29 AM PST

  •  Last Sunday Night. (20+ / 0-)


    A little get together in Birmingham, Alabama last Sunday night.  I posted this on Monday.

     At a get together last night.  Guy from Belgium is just going on and on and on about how we really, really don't understand how momentously fantastic electing Obama was as the Europeans see this as nothing short of revolutionary.  

    A couple of us were saying, "Oh, yes, we 'get' it and are very happy about it, too."  

    He kept saying, "Yes, yes, yes, I know you get it, but, really, you just don't know how momentous this was.  Europeans are like in a dream.  They can't believe it.  This is incredible.  An you know that in France a black man could never, ever consider being elected President or Prime Minister.  And we're talking about the socialist, egalitarian France.  You can do it here, but not in France!  Wow!"

    Here's part of an email I received from Mumbai (née Bombay), India last week:

    "About the presidential elections - truth be told, there's been immense interest here in India about the elections - and not simply because the future of the US is so critical to to our own economies.  I think, in part, we in India wish to see change ourselves - we wish to see young leaders who can rise above petty politics and issues of race and religion and talk about the issues that really matter - our economy, our policies, and the standard of governance.  While we have a really good Prime Minister in Dr. Manmohan Singh, the future, really belongs to the likes of Rahul Gandhi, who seem to understand that elections can no longer be contested on issues such as 'reservations' and 'caste' and creating regional identities.  What the US has put into motion is hugely inspirational - I remember when the results were out, my mom called me at work to  tell me all about it - she was super-excited about Obama's victory! The media here has been conveying that India's outsourcing sector may be hit because of Obama's protectionist policy towards American business, but overall, there's a sense of optimism - that America would soon wade through its troubles under his guidance, and the US would be able to salvage its reputation that was so butchered during Bush's tenure at the White House.  Like the media here keeps reminding us, the American vote for Obama has restored quite a bit of credibility to its role as a superpower, and that always helps for strategic partners like India.  So thank you for voting Obama! :D

    (emphasis added)

    Thought y'all might find all that interesting.


    "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

    by BenGoshi on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:01:34 AM PST

    •  thanks for sharing n/t (4+ / 0-)

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:02:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  By the way, note the term "butchered" in my... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ibonewits, zukesgirl64

        . . . Indian interlocutor's email.  

        The word "butcher", used as a verb, is certainly used in that email as it is here in the West (no "Hinglish" there).  But it carries an underlying, subtle, yet particularly disgusting level of distaste beyond our American comprehension (certainly beyond Ms. Palin's) when used by someone in predominantly Hindu India.


        "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

        by BenGoshi on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:11:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  One question, Ken... (11+ / 0-)

    when are you going to write a book?  Your voice is so strong and clear.  Really, when?

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

    by rufusthedog on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:07:29 AM PST

    •  I second that thought. (7+ / 0-)

      And I would love to see at least the first book be written for the young people of our nation.  You have a great deal to offer them beyond the confines of your classroom. (You have some very lucky students.)

    •  it is question others have asked (10+ / 0-)

      including my wife and several publishers.   A book is very different than a 200 word occasional piece provoked by what I read in a morning paper.

      I am currently working on a chapter for a book put together by some other people.  

      I have a piece I am working on for a magazine.

      And I have a request from one publisher to submit a book proposal.  I may work on that over Christmas break, which is a bit longer this year.

      There are two subjects which I might be able to sustain for a short book.  One would be about teaching/education, the other - which I am being prodded to consider by a friend with connections in the publishing industry - is about my religious peregrinations.

      I am not sure I will do either.  Doing a book requires a sustained focus on one topic that would require to give up other things.  I am not about to give up my teaching!  Unless someone makes me an offer I cannot refuse to come into the administration, and the chances of that happening are between nil and negative infinity - after all, the volume of what I have written online probably would be a disqualifier.

      And it would be hard to do a book and continue blogging - ask Markos, and he does not have other fulltime employment as do I.

      The possibility of doing one or more books intrigues me.  I have not dismissed it.  Nor am I committed to it.  I will revisit the idea between now and the end of the year.

      Thanks for your question.


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:14:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not surprised at the level of interest. nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wayward Wind, BP in NJ
      •  I certainly understand what you are saying... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, ibonewits, miss SPED

        but just one more thought.
         I'm a teacher as well, have been for 25 years, and am 3 or so years from retirement.  One thing I've noticed, and I'm guilty of this as well, is that we, as a profession, tend to undervalue what we do.  Maybe it's our personality type, or maybe, just maybe, it's a result of being told by governments, school boards, parents, students, etc., that we don't do enough, that there is always more in the tank for us to give.  This is rot, of course, but maybe deep down we believe it too.
          Whether or not you write a book, or an autobiography, or whatever, doesn't matter, I guess.  What you are doing right now is wonderful, and I would again encourage you to keep going; your voice is strong and influential.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. FDR

        by rufusthedog on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:10:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I feel good about using this medium (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rufusthedog, ibonewits, miss SPED

          and while it might be nice to have some additional income, I enjoy the immediacy of response.

          As for what i did today, I sent the link to Derrick Jackson, who was kind enough to respond.  He felt I did a good job of analyzing and extending his thinking.  I consider that a wonderful compensation for my effort.


          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:03:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As a writer, I have a suggestion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            miss SPED

            Edit, update, and compile your many Kos diaries into a book of essays. You've already done two-thirds of the work and could include the best of the feedback you received here.

            Won't it be nice to have a SMART President?

            by ibonewits on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:49:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  don't think it works (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ibonewits, miss SPED

              unless they are tied together in some fashion.  Were I to do a book on education and teaching, there are many that could be reworked to fit into a coherent them. I have talked precisely about that with one publisher who then asked me to do so for a formal book proposal.  We'll see.

              But thanks for your kind thoughts.

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:54:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I have no patriotism now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bogbud, The Movac

    This was a long way from 1887 when Frederick Douglass said, "I have no patriotism" for a nation that does "not recognize me as a man."

    My country does not recognize me as a man today.  I have no rights -- only liberties, which can be taken away by the government on a whim.

    Unless and until that changes, I will not change.

    •  You sound very disillusioned (0+ / 0-)

      but if everybody adopted that attitude, things would change for sure--for the worse.  
      Was there a single event that caused you to feel this way?  Last month when I was canvassing, I met a guy who said that he and his wife had vowed to never vote again.  He said that after the Supreme Court gave away the 2000 election, they were convinced that our voting system/government was irrevocably broken.  Nothing I said could convince him otherwise.  Meeting him was the low point in my day.  Anyway, all I'm saying is that if everybody gave up...

    •  How could it change? (0+ / 0-)

      A "right" is a term of rhetoric, not nature. Drop you into the middle of the ocean, and where does your right to life come in? The sea will not recognize it.

      All "rights" are revocable. It is the mechanism of government that enforces them. That's why you have to maintain and improve that mechanism without going into spasms of either positive or negative emotion.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:25:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "a government that is powerful enough to give... (0+ / 0-) anything, is also powerful enough to take from me everything". Me.

      "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:56:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My researcher son called me from Ouagadougou (7+ / 0-)

    in Burkina Faso (on the "Continent" of Africa...;O)) on Election Night.  I was still at a party drinking champagne....and missed the call.   While my son left us a message we could hear wild celebrating in the background.....I mean they were whooping it up in Ouga!!

    He travels frequently and in the past has found it safer and more advantageous to let folks think he is Canadian because there has been so much animosity toward longer!!

    The whole world is celebrating......

    "What, Me Worry?"...King George Walker Alfred Eusless Newman Bush

    by RantNRaven on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:09:51 AM PST

    •  I remember a similar experience in 1968 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wayward Wind, EJP in Maine

      I was in Sweden, and got much friendlier treatment if I passed myself off as a Canadian rather than an American.

      Here's what's funny -  while I was there Johnson announced that he would not run again for president, and now everyone wanted to talk with Americans, to try to understand what it means.  I wonder if your son had a similar experience in light of the election?

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:17:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of the trials of being a Canadian abroad.... (0+ / 0-) being treated as an instant expert on Americans.

        All I used to say is that I wished they would calm down some and think things through, instead of launching off on "wars" against this or that (poverty, crime, communism, terror....). We've had enough military in our family to understand that wars only come in two varieties: pure evil, and necessary evil.

        On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

        by sagesource on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:22:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have never understood why the pledge... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, EJP in Maine, ibonewits

    ...was to the flag and not to the nation the flag represents.  However, I have stopped doing my own snarky version of the pledge which ends "...and to the Republicans for which it stands, with libertine injustice for all."

    "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large. I contain multitudes!" Walt Whitman

    by Batensmack on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:10:40 AM PST

  •  Thank you, teacherken. My oldest son was (8+ / 0-)

    on the phone from the UK as soon as the election was called for Obama. I was doing GOTV in a predominantly African-American section of Trenton on election morning, and people were hugging me in the street. And thank you for your kind words in my diary last night.

    •  my daughter too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue jersey mom, Colorado Billy

      She is studying in London this semester and called us when the BBC called the election (45 minutes before the American media did).  Then she called back when MSNBC called the election.  She and her friends were screaming and crying with excitement and happiness, and said the British students they knew were also jumping up and down and hugging the Americans.   This is a feeling none of us will ever forget.

      "I will sing you a song no one sang to can be anybody that you want to be

      by two moms in Az on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:37:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was thinking about this (4+ / 0-)

    Al Qaeda video and its perception in the Muslim world.

    The cheering throngs in Indonesia probably did not get the memo that Obama is the "house negro".  Rather, I think they saw him as one of them and I simply cannot wait for Obama to visit that country.  Can you imagine that scene?  Clearly, Al Qaeda cannot.

    Oh, Snap! (I promise to only use this phrase wisely. Oh snappilicious, snap snap, I can't help it.)

    by lalo456987 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:16:12 AM PST

    •  I want to hazard a dangerous thought (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wayward Wind, EJP in Maine

      but I remember tales from Afghanistan about how the locals really did not like many of Al Qaeda because as Arabs they viewed themselves as superior, having the purist Islam and all that.

      I wonder if Zawahiri is not demonstrating that kind of attitude?  

      As I said, a dangerous thought, but that might not mean it is untrue.. .

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:18:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Help me here... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not understanding.

        I thought Al Qaeda was composed mostly of arabs, and this is/was the problem with other mostly muslim countries like Indonesia.  That is, the arab-centric al qaeda was/is having trouble making inroads into places like Indonesia (the most populous muslim nation).  Obama, imho, obliterates the al qaeda message in Indonesia as well as the African muslim populations.  Perhaps I'm getting this wrong or not understanding what you wrote.  I think we agree that Al Qaeda has blundered badly.

        Oh, Snap! (I promise to only use this phrase wisely. Oh snappilicious, snap snap, I can't help it.)

        by lalo456987 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:34:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are understanding in part - (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lalo456987, ibonewits

          Al Qaeda has affiliated groups in many Muslim countries, and many of the adherents are not themselves Arab.  But the leadership has always been Arab. And in Afghanistan they kept themselves somewhat aloof, which was, according to numerous sources, somewhat resented.

          And perhaps Zawahiri's remarks are an extension of the same kind of arrogance, of a belief in the superiority of people like him.  

          And because it stems from a fairly narrow slice of Islam, one that is not in the majority even in the Arab world, it has had difficulty really establishing itself elsewhere.

          On the other hand, there has long been resentment in the Muslim world that the West looks down at them, and there is therefore some delight in seeing us get some comeuppance.  9-11 however may have been too much, even for people inclined to want to tweak and prod us.

          I claim no expertise in this.  I do have a number of students who are Arab, both Muslim and Christian, and are Muslim from other places -  Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, the Stans of the former USSR, indonesia, various African nations (especially Nigeria).  Some are descended, others were actually born in these countries.  In part I perceive through their eyes and those of their families.  My Quaker Meeting also has a close relationship with a locsl Islamic community, and I have gotten to know a number of them fairly well.  


          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:09:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If you read the uncensored.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...translation of the Thousand and One Nights, you can get a glimpse of traditional Arab attitudes towards black people, and it isn't pretty. Islam is a unifying religion, and I'm sure many Islamic people have gone beyond this, but perhaps not all. I saw it clearly on display when traveling in Tunisia twenty or so years ago -- confusing me a bit, since we were in "Africa," after all.

        On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

        by sagesource on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:18:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And to the REPUBLIC for which it stands (8+ / 0-)

    not the empire.  And 'with liberty and justice for all.'  Nothing wrong with that pledge.

    I saw we took back the flag that night as well.  It was a great night to be American.  A peaceful, victorious revolution against a hostile government takeover.

    Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by feduphoosier on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:16:23 AM PST

  •  Since 2001... (8+ / 0-)

    I have been working in international schools, subsidized in part, at their opening years ago, by the US State Department.  Because of this, first in South African, and now in Colombia, attending school assemblies involves singing first the host country national anthem, then the star spangled banner.

    In the months following Sept. 11, my eyes welled with pride and patriotism as I sang "oh, say can you see..." following "Nkosi sikelel i'Afrika".  But as the months and years have passed, it has become almost embarrassing to be one of very few american citizens in the room, and in the past few years, I have basically been mouthing the words in the back of the room, more out of obligation as a role model in the institution than out of any sense of patriotism for my home nation.

    This past Friday, in our traditional Thanksgiving assembly here in Bogotá, after singing "Oh Gloria Inmarcesible...", the tears of pride returned, overwhelmingly and unexpectedly, as I once again proudly bellowed "and the land of the free, and the home of the brave!" for the first time since election day.

  •  Please go to Jackson's column site (4+ / 0-)

    and post some positive comments.  The nasty comments are hard to wade through, so just post your positive comments made here on Jackson's column, too.

  •  I am the lone Democrat in a very Republican (18+ / 0-)

    neighborhood.  The cars in the driveways are plastered with yellow ribbons, multiple flags and even some old "W" bumper stickers. Almost everybody flies a flag day and night (oblivious to proper flag etiquette)and most have made it clear that they consider me unpatriotic, not one of them.  Typical reactions from my neighbors after the election were:

    Well, are you happy now???
    I'm praying for our country.
    I guess your socialist friends are really going to  ruin the country now.

    I have swallowed my tongue more than once in the name of getting along in the neighborhood,  but it really pisses me off to be considered Un-American or unpatriotic by anybody.  I haven't ever been ashamed to be American, but I have been embarrassed, ashamed  and horrified about what has happened over the past eight years.  In fact, if I could pick just one word to describe the past eight years, it would be Un-American.

    I agree, it is time to heal, and we have been extraordinarily blessed with a President-elect who can lead that process.  Thank you, teacherken, for a thought-provoking diary.    

    •  glad to be of service (9+ / 0-)

      I do not think all of our problems have magically been solved.  But I look at certain things that give me hope.  I see a number of important Conservative voices saying positive things about how Obama has acted, starting with his steadiness during the financial crisis (as compared to a lack thereof from McCain), to how he has been handling the transition.

      The criticisms will continue.  Some will be silly.  Like the "leaks" as compared to during the campaign.  Well, when you have the FBI asking questions for backbround investigations, when you start taking the temperature of key players on the Hill (where leaking is an essnetial daily ingredient) things will get out.  But so far, even in that environment, the handling has  been skillful and without damaging people.  

      And then people critize Obama for not being more forceful now, when in fact he is NOT president, while ignoring that without undercutting the current administration he has people quietly involved behind the scenes.

      I have memories back to Truman, who left office when I was six.  I know of no president who has not been criticized, sometimes heavily.  For some people, ordinary folks or puditocracy, were they not criticizing they might have nothing to say  :-)


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:42:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Be interesting to see (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ibonewits, kissmygrits

      the reaction you'd get if you started flying the flag as well...

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by EJP in Maine on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:59:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I got so many emails... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, littlezen, miss SPED

      ...from people I know, assuring me that they're still going to pray for our President-elect even though he favors slaughtering babies.


      Hard core Christian and hard core liberal...not an illogical combination at all.

      by penny8611 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:02:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  76 square miles surrounded by reality (0+ / 0-)

    or however many square miles......

    America is still center right dagnabbit.

    Lovie can I have my cigar back please.

    "Sneezes are like porn to god" <- The Amazing Atheist

    by yuriwho on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:37:45 AM PST

  •  I agree with Cory Booker, (5+ / 0-)

    the mayor of Newark, NJ.

    On Colbert the other night, he said that the raison d'etre for the USA is that we have a nation that is not from one ethnic group, or "folk", but many.

    I believe our higher as well as our lower, or more practical purpose is to make living the motto "Out of many, one." This has never been done before in world history. I also believe we were relegated to world "superpower" in the 20th century before we were ready to claim that mantle. We did as best we could with it, but we didn't have our own house in order, so to speak.

    We have the opportunity to change our country and the world for the better. The world is one giant community now, and if we can function as the US with our diversity, we can be the model for world co-operation in the future.

    It's such a great planet. We need to keep it.

  •  Michelle's exact words (10+ / 0-)

    It's important to get them exactly right: "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am REALLY proud of my country."

    FOX omitted that one word to successfully imply that she hadn't been proud before.  It shouldn't be such an issue, but in our climate it became one.  

    Thankfully you speak of politicultural climate change, the Climate Change We Need.  In our new climate, we do get off the sidelines and participate fully, as our American system of governnance not only allows but, from the beginning, encouraged.

    The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

    by Leftcandid on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:41:27 AM PST

  •  I would add that I have have lived in Cambridge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    MA too. I was once in a foursome in near Braintree on the Ponkapoag course (great layout, poorly maintained, open to the public) and when I told the geezers in my group I was from Cambridge. The first thing out of their mouths was "The Peoples Republic of Cambridge" A lot of seniors on social security play that course. It's Impossible to get on at 6 am.

    "Sneezes are like porn to god" <- The Amazing Atheist

    by yuriwho on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:43:43 AM PST

    •  I live in Arlington VA (11+ / 0-)

      which has been described as Communist by John McCain's brother (who somehow ignored the fact that his brother and Cindy have a condo within our boundaries).  I remember that the first meeting of the Arlington Dems to which I went, the guest speaker was Michael Barone, who talked about the divide that then existed between Virginia, which he said began at the Occoquan going South and the Bull Run going West, and what he called "the people's republic of Northern Virginia."  Of course, that people's republic has helped elected Don Beyer as Lt Gov twice, Chuck Robb as Lt Gov, Gov and Senator, Mark Warner as Gov and Senator, and Jim Webb as Senator.  Even John Warner is Northern Virginia.  It is our votes - and money - that in large part fuel the state.  

      I think these kinds of regional slurs are silly, and I say that when I hear people on the left dismiss the Mormon belt or people from Appalachia.  I can remember reading from Jim Webb how he reacted to such slurs, talking about people as trailer park trash, people that as he said were "my people.  Me."  given his family roots both in rural Arkansas and in Southwest Virginia.

      E pluribus unum.   Perhaps we can ponder the varied meanings of that phrase?


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:49:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for making the point - (5+ / 0-)

        We won the election but can lose the governing if we show the same arrogance toward the conservatives as they showed us during the Bush administration. That is not to say that we should compromise our ethics or beliefs, but we should do so respectfully. We have the leadership, the numbers and the ideas needed to win on policy and the direction in which our nation is moving.
        One of Obama's greatest strengths is his positive and inclusive approach to leadership.  I met too many people during the campaign who were very upset, and in need of reassurance. They believed that Obama was going to win, and they were afraid. I would ask them to give him a chance - that Barak Obama was not the extremeist that they thought him to be, and that he would be a strong and steady leader for all Americans. I don't know if we can get past the barriers of racism and and conservative cultural values, but we have to try.

      •  My Uncle lives in Arlington, (0+ / 0-)

        in one of those high rises on Oak, facing the Iwo Jima Memorial. His view from the eighteenth floor is directly down the mall, plus the cemetary, the Pentagon, and Reagan (monitor sparks).

        It doesn't do anything for me. I'll take Lake Point Tower in Chicago any day.

  •  McClatchey has an article today bashing DEMs for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine, theal8r

    this.  Of course they don't mention the hypocrisy of CONs who proudly waved the Confederate Flag in the 90s.  Look for this again under Obama:

  •  Fuck that. It was always great to be American. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeffwtux, Medude24

    it's OK to be an American now  In a sense, one could critize those words.

    Don't mind if I do.  It's fucking ridiculous.  All countries have crap leaders now and again, and we did.  America isn't defined by its leader, though; our country is much, much more than its politics.

    Sometimes I feed my cat dog food.

    by burrow owl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:55:28 AM PST

    •  Look for the return of the Confederate flag from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, EJP in Maine, ksull

      CONs who for the last 8 years have said they put patriotism over politics.  

      •  Boy, is that an astute comment. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EJP in Maine


        Sometimes I feed my cat dog food.

        by burrow owl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:04:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They're popping up in TN like mad (0+ / 0-)

        I've been here for four years, and had seen a few Conferate things on a regular basis: bumperstickers, actual flags, t-shirts. I figured, it's TN, what the heck. But there's been more and more pop up the past few weeks.

        Can't wait to get back north.

        The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes. -5.75, -7.18

        by Rogneid on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:02:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, ksull, kathleen518

      America the land, the geography, the natural resources, the people you know, are not the government. But when you travel outside the country you are not seen as that but as a part of official actions.

      Spend a year or two abroad (me: India, UK, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Italy, and Turkey), and you will quickly and constantly encounter that association.

      Not so great these last post-Iraq invasion years. I think that's what the diarist intended.  

      emerging research proven

      by bob zimway on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:07:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two words--Abu Ghraib (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Our country was defined by Bush for the last eight years, like it or not.  We have a lot of amends to make for our leader's sins.

      •  And? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Did you vote for Bush?

        Did you, personally, torture anyone?

        Did you, personally, give explicit instructions or permission for anyone to torture "in your name"?

        Your guilt is an emotional indulgence, and useless.

        You are welcome to a lot of guilt if you actually participated in such atrocities. You are welcome to a smaller, but still considerable, helping if you are not one of those demanding investigation and punishment of the guilty.

        But to roll in guilt just because someone you didn't know in a place you've never been with no permission from you at all did something "in your name" is showboating.

        On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

        by sagesource on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:12:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't say I was guilty (0+ / 0-)

          but I am an American living abroad (in the Middle East, no less) and I am just pointing out that this is what has defined us under Bush.  It's unfortunate, but true.  We have a long way to go to be able to stand up proudly in the world again.

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Fuck that. It was always great to be American

      For whom?  I don't think if you lived in the Ninth Ward on August 29, 2005 it was such a great thing.

      No, America is not defined by its leaders.  It is also defined by its citizens.  And there are endless connections between the two.

      There's plenty of sorrow and pain for each and every one of us, as citizens, to face up to, not with guilt, but with courage, and take responsiblity for.

  •  You always choose (6+ / 0-)

    such wonderful columns on which to comment.  It opens our horizons to things that we might not otherwise have noticed.  Thank you!

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:56:44 AM PST

    •  u r welcome (4+ / 0-)

      I do so in part to make others aware of things they might otherwise miss.  The daily frontpage piece on pundits somewhat obviates this, although sometimes the snips are almost a bit too snarky.

      I think Derrick Jackson is a gem.  I am delighted to draw attention to him, as I am to Eugene Robinson and more recently Roger Cohen.  

      In fact, I was cleaning out some old emails yesterday and as a result encountered a diary I wrote about a Cohen column, a diary that may be, even with the remaining typos, as good as anything I have ever posted here, and that is because of the column by Cohen on which it is based, which I think should win him a Pulitzer.  Take a look at I am so tempted to violate copyright and let me know what you think, especially of Cohen's piece.


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:05:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, lirtydies, rlharry

        I don't know when I've read anything more powerful.  I was prepared for a longish column but what I got is something so dense with meaning that it's hard to comment.  I understand how you had trouble excerpting it.  

        I sometimes refrain from commenting or writing at all about ethnic troubles especially in the ME.  My grandparents came from Lebanon a hundred years ago.  They were Christians and not at all anti-Israel.  In fact, they were kind of neutral on the whole thing.  The Lebanese were much more interested in trade than in politics.  I often think that if I offer a comment I will be thought naive or stupid because of this background.  I don't know exactly where I'm going with this.  I'm on a deadline here.  I've got to get to church.

        Thanks for today's diary and for the referral to the other one.  I've got plenty to chew on now...

        -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

        by luckylizard on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:50:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  speaking of Christians from Lebanon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the bartender at the National Democratic Club, where I probably spend far too much time (although it has its benefits in terms of political networking) qualifies.  Joseph is quite a character.  

          I actually know quite a few, and also from Syria.   Which reminds me that most Arabs in this country ar Christians and most Muslims in this country, and around the world, are not Arab.


          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:54:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lots of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken, lirtydies

            stereotypes out there, aren't there?  I'd really like it if everyone could bring the best of his/her culture to the mix without having to be labeled negatively.  It's like having an extra weight around our shoulders.  I like my heritage and there is a lot of it that gives me joy and strength.  For quite awhile after 9/11 I wasn't so sure if someone wouldn't be coming after me.  (Being single, I still retain my Arabic surname.)  It's such an odd feeling....

            -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

            by luckylizard on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:16:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Then there's the Life in Hell version.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, ibonewits

    ...of the Pledge of Allegiance:

    I plead alignment to the flakes of the untitled snakes of a merry cow;
    And to the Republicans for which they scam;
    One nacho, underpants, with licorice and jugs of wine for owls.

    Original cartoon by Matt Groening, who would go on to later fame!

    Alton IL

    The Alton Weekly Inquirer! News roundup with snark, every Friday morning right here on Daily Kos!

    by AAbshier on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:57:55 AM PST

  •  I actually like the Star Spangle Banner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, ibonewits, Wolf Of Aquarius

    which has made me the weird one out in many a social event.  lol

    Yes, it is quite militaristic but then again it was written during an actual battle.  And usually I put myself in that situation where there is a huge war going on, a war that is seriously testing whether or not America will survive as a young republic. The threat is tremendous and you don't know if America will win or even if you will survive personally.  But there it is, that flag, that symbol of liberty, and it gives you hope that the nation will be a durable and sustainable as that winning flag being raised in victory.

    The song is symbolic of the survival of the American dream through hardships and loss.  No matter how many bombs went off, no matter how shots rattled it, the flag was still there.  And that is how our liberty is if we keep guard of it.  Not matter the bombs of inequality, or the fog of cruel men, can shut it down if we don't allow it.

    But that's how I, personally, look at the song.  lol

  •  I do have to say this; (5+ / 0-)

    It will be nice to have some dignity in the White House again!

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:02:14 AM PST

  •  It was always okay to be an American (6+ / 0-)

    It was never okay to be an imperialist asshole.

    While the assholes are planning a presidential library cum ideological tombstone, the rest of us are planning a nation.  Ain't it fun?

  •  teacherken: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, shirah, MrSandman, CKendall

    as always, I relish your diaries because of the fodder they provide to my brain. Patriotism has always been a tricky subject for me, so close does it skirt the lines of nationalism and militarism in our history.  The latter two I have always found to be dangerous forces, particularly when left untempered, as much of the flavor of US Patriotism has often done.

    The other disturbing facet to US Patriotism for me has always been the "exceptionalism" that seems to lie at its foundation: I've never been comfortable asking God or any other power to "bless America" without also asking that said power also bless everyone else, too. I don't think we should encourage ourselves and our children to think of ourselves as "better" than everyone else on the planet, rather we should be encouraging ourselves and our children to recognize that we are a part of everyone else, albeit with many advantages, often derived at some cost to all those other people, whom we can be bothered to seek blessings for.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:11:01 AM PST

    •  perhaps I can offer something useful? (7+ / 0-)

      the Bible instructs to love others as we love ourselves.  But if we do not love ourselves, will we be able to love others?

      True self-love is not to be blind to our flaws, but rather to embrace our entire selves, and thus to be able to work on our flaws.  

      If we can do that, then it becomes more realistic to believe that we can love others who are also flawed.

      I seem to remember something about motes and beams that is also relevant.

      I agree that exceptionalism can be dangerous.  It is to have the mind of the Pharisee thanking God that he is not like the Publican.   All this those who read their New Testament should be able to grasp.  And btw, I do not consider myself a Christian, even as I value much from Christian teaching.

      Hope this incoherent comment is of some use?


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:38:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One election does not forgive our sins (5+ / 0-)

    We have much work to do, domestically and internationally before it will be "ok to be american again" when abroad.

    "It stinks." - Jay Sherman

    by angry liberaltarian on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:37:48 AM PST

  •  For the last 8 years I have not felt (6+ / 0-)

    the pride of patriotism or of being an American.  I know it wasn't just me because I read many articles where Americans were given advice on how to dress while they were in a foreign country so as not to give away the fact that they were Americans.

    If what this current administration portrays is patriotism then I am not a patriot.  If torture is as American as apple pie, then I am not an American.

    I felt that joy of being an American for the first time in many years on November 4, 2008.  

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:39:38 AM PST

  •  I have my country back. (9+ / 0-)

    was my reaction to the election.

    For the first time in a long time, I am so proud to be an American.  

    What an amazing country that we elected a bi-racial man with a funny name.

    I'm looking for a flag pin and a decal for my car, to go next to my Obama sticker and pin.

    Don't believe everything you think.

    by EJP in Maine on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:44:12 AM PST

    •  We let them take so much away from us. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, EJP in Maine, ibonewits

      A friend who owns the little general store in my town said last week that now he feels he can fly the flag again. After 9/11, it became a symbol for "never forget", "get revenge", all of that. Now he feels it belongs to all of us again, and that we can begin to heal ourselves.

      I couldn't agree more. The symbols have deeper meaning -- be it saying the Pledge of Allegiance, singing the National Anthem or flying the stars and stripes. They're the shell over the inner meaning that we're all Americans, all equal in our hearts, if we deem it to be so.

      "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

      by TheWesternSun on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:22:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  consider this (6+ / 0-)

    I do not sing the anthem because I find the music close to unsingable, and the words more than a little silly.

    I actually like the national anthem because I consider the words as an allegory.  (I find America the Beautiful to be a little sappy.)

    And how many anthems end with questions?  Questions that can be viewed as challenges?  And maybe the questions today are not so much about whether the flag still flies but if we are free and brave.

    Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

  •  Thank you (5+ / 0-)

    I read Jackson's column yesterday and was moved.  And I'm moved by your words this morning.  Like you, I have chosen not to say the Pledge and I have always disliked the National Anthem enormously.  I have always insisted that we not fly a flag at home, even during the Clinton years, because I never cared for that superficial patriotism that is so common.  

    Like you, my love of country has shown itself in my chosen profession.  As social worker I work with those who long for the American Dream but who have been forgotten by those in power and nearly everyone else.

    One of the most amazing and personally transformative moments on election night came when watching MSNBC.  They were showing celebrations around the country and cut to the scene in DC outside the White House.  The spontaneous celebration of college students was captured with them holding candles and singing the Anthem.  MSNBC caught it at:

    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    With that imagery of the students serenading the disgraced occupant of the White House, I felt as though I understood the song for the very first time.  And I had the thought that maybe next time the opportunity arises I would actually sing the Anthem.  Obama's victory, and the fact that we've lived through the past 8 years and the country has survived the criminals in power, makes patriotism seem colorful, diverse and dimensional--and something I want to be a part of.

    Here's some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament. Kermit

    by sobermom on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:55:04 AM PST

  •  Proud (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine, ibonewits

    I grew up in a military home, so patriotism was one of those values up there with family, love, and respect.  These past 8 years have been a nightmare for patriots.  That's why the day after the election, Nov. 5th, I flew the American flag proudly.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

    by rlharry on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:58:23 AM PST

  •  I no longer have to fly my flag upside down! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine, ibonewits, kathleen518

    Been doing that on July 4th for the last 4 years as a statement of how our ship of state was in great distress. This year, I hardly flew it much at all.
    No, I can proudly fly my flag again and be proud of what we accomplished on election day.
    And I'll agree about the national anthem. I've always been more in favor of America the Beautiful myself.

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by MA Liberal on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:04:26 AM PST

  •  I like your piece, but I think it's ironically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    similar in false gauzy flag-waving to the stuff you bash back.  For one, you lump AAs as people who wouldn't have gone into Iraq?  Cough, cough, Colin Powell?  Look at the minority make-up of the military... um, facts really belie your point on this account.  Lumping one group together based upon skin color or sex organs or anything like that, because James Baldwin said something in 1955 is nice, but I think not very factual.  It does make for soaring rhetoric on a Sunday, though, and I don't mean to take away from the dreaminess.  

    •  excuse me? Are you confusing me with Jackson (6+ / 0-)

      whose words those are, and who is himself African-American (I am not).

      And it is very far from dreaminess.  My students are, and have always been, predominantly African-American.  And even as many have family members serving in Iraq, they have generally been more strongly opposed to our being in Iraq than have my white students.  That may be anecdotal, but it is interesting to here students with parents and siblings in Iraq arguing why it is wrong for us to be there -  and that was happening as early as 2003.  

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:12:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I find the same (0+ / 0-)

        among my AA students.  I have a pretty even mix (now that I have honors and "regular" reading), and the AA students to a child, nearly, have a relative in Iraq.  I have maybe a handful of white students with family there.   That has always struck me as odd.

        Excuse me, that's the constitution, not a doormat.

        by theal8r on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:53:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Independance Day November 4, 2008 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ibonewits, miss SPED

    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


    232 years and 4 months later, there is a hope that this nation will finally live up to it's promise. I would love to sit in a High School Government today as opposed to 20yrs, this does feel pretty darn good

  •  Kudos to you for a 2nd time for your.... (4+ / 0-)

    thoughts on getting involved.

    "We need to heal.  That is incumbent upon us all.   Such healing can only come through participation.  That participation requires a commitment to something beyond ourselves, our immediate wants and perceived needs.  It requires political participation.  It requires a meaningful commitment.  That is one important expression of love of country, commonly called patriotism."
    Very well stated.  

    We as a society have withdrawn into our own worlds due in part to fracturing and dividing issues, economic woes we face, and a lack of quality education to be able to see, and understand just where we have arrived today, and how we got here.  

    It's time for many more to forget but for a moment our own life's distractions, and get involved in dong more for the many, than just for the few or just for our own self-centered selves to paraphrase a well known science fiction movie line.  It’s time for the re-awakening of a new American society, one which does give aspirations and motivations as well as the ideas of how, and when as an example to others in the world where they would like to be someday in their futures.  It will happen, but it will take the collective "we" to get us all there, and not the same groups, or individuals who are always the ones who do the heavy lifting all of the time.  It will take another "new and improved" American society, and people who emulate, and lead by example.  

    The world is watching, and is still has a patience, and faith for this country to regain it’s greatness once again.  Let’s hope we can realize this, and in turn, share the burden of the heavy lifting to live up to that great image.

    "..The paper holds their folded faces to the floor, and every day the paper boy brings more...." - Pink Floyd

    by LamontCranston on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:44:39 AM PST

  •  it had better be OK to be an american (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, Medude24

    since i am one...
    there is nothing more pathetic than americans who travel the world pretending to be canadians...i've never met one of these spineless people, but i understand they exist...i've spent the last 15 years living and travelling overseas and have never hesitated to tell anyone where i was from, despite US government idiocy on a gargantuan level

    btw, i also refuse to salute the flag,sing "patriotic" songs, etc...being an american is not an accomplishment unless you're a naturalized citizen...i happened to have american parents

    james jamerson: genius!

    by memofromturner on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:00:26 AM PST

    •  Amen (0+ / 0-)

      You are responsible for what you do. Not what others do.

      If you opposed Bush to even a small degree, you have nothing to be ashamed of. The rest of the world was depending on your efforts to make the situation better. For all Obama's faults, think of President McCain Palin.

      Stop emoting, gloating, and moping. Just get to work.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:03:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've always felt more American being pissed off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    at all the bullshit that we have had to endure over the last 8 years.  I've never seceded my country to the hate mongers and the type of exclusionary un-American policies we have fought so hard to get rid of.  Yes, I am proud of my country today, but I've never stopped being an American.

    Btw, this would be my choice for National Anthem;

    Dang, how about these numbers-> -8.00,-7.38 Does this make me the reincarnation of Gandhi?

    by HGM MA on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:12:23 AM PST

  •  Bleh, I can't stand patriotism... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource, ibonewits, Julia C

    Patriotism is a topic I often rant about. Obama's victory doesn't change that.

    Patriotism has always been silly to me. There are things I appreciate about the United States, but I don't feel pride and loyalty to this over-rated country.

    I feel no affection for or solidarity with other Americans. Nonetheless I believe in being politically active and a good Samaritan.

    In my worldview, we're humans first and our nationalities and other identities second. That's why I would rather be a world citizen and take responsibility for all people and not just Americans. Hence I also see it as no problem for me to one day leave the United States.

    American society is still far too jingoistic, anti-intellectual, ignorant, decadent, violent, militarisitic and backwards. I will happily help change it, but I won't hold my breath that Americans will take change seriously. What America needs is a huge social and political engineering effort to correct its issues. That change won't come from the Right or the Center.

    I eagerly await America's loss of power and influence, because the United States has behaved no differently than any other empire. No country is perfect, but the general American attitude is that our country is perfect no matter what. America needs to be put in its place... and I don't think that really happened under Bush.

    Though I am affected by the economic crisis like everyone else, it's great to know that the United States is getting knocked down a few pegs as a result. Hopefully the same thing happens with our military.

    Robert Crumb stated it best: America the Ugly, America the Glutton, America the Bully, and America the Greedy.

    •  Yuck. (0+ / 0-)

      Full Disclosure: I'm one of those "Hopemongers."

      by Medude24 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:51:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yuck? (0+ / 0-)

        Perhaps I should have sugar-coated my comment so you can savor trite and phony nationalism.

        Patriotism is foolish.

        •  My apologies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Movac

          for my visceral response- in fact your comment was well written and thought out although I strongly disagree.

          As for me, If I wasn't enamored of certain American principles (liberty, justice, all that jazz) I wouldn't be much interested in fighting for them in order to continually make my country a better place.

          Full Disclosure: I'm one of those "Hopemongers."

          by Medude24 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 12:16:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apology accepted. (0+ / 0-)

            Those American principles aren't unique to the United States. Sure there are some unique cultural accomplishments, but every society has those.

            I did admit that I appreciate those unique American accomplishments and advantages. However, I appreciate the rest of the world's accomplishments and advantages too. Americans aren't any more special than anyone else.

            There is nothing exceptional about the United States. Americans will always be stuck in the past and cling to the status quo. They will always be shallow consumers who obsess over military power.

            I made my own viceral response to your comment below to return the favor. I'm sorry for that too.

  •  "It's OK to be an American now" (0+ / 0-)

    I guess my question is, has the election of Obama changed the way citizens of other nations view Americans?

    Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude.

    by InsultComicDog on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:51:58 AM PST

    •  yes and if you watched on election night (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ibonewits, Neon Vincent, Amber6541

      you saw the palpable excitement and joy around the world.  The era of Bush is viewed as being over.

      And remember the huge response that one got, his celebrity status in the eyes of Europeans, both the ordinary folks in Berlin and the national leaders like Brown and Sarkozy.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:33:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  tea- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ibonewits, leema

    cherken again makes me hopeful for the state of education in America. When someone as thoughtful, well read, and concerned writes so beautifully, one can only imagine how he molds and shapes the inquisitive minds of the yutes he meets.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:03:41 AM PST

    •  well, I do sometimes drive them nuts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ibonewits, CKendall

      because I am prone to answer a question with one of two responses

      1. that's a good question.  Why don't you look it up and get back to us tomorrow?
      1. I ask a question that forces them to think more deeply

      The first is appropriate in the high school from which Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google, graduated.

      The second is something about which they were warned early on - my prediliction for using the Socratic method.

      Usually, eventually, they appreciate what I do.  Not always at first.


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:09:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  them damned greeks again, eh? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, CKendall

        Next thing you'll do is have them research Platonic relationships, or the brilliance of Athena.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:12:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well there is a danger in Platonic relationships (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          agnostic, ibonewits, CKendall

          after all, that might get us into Symposium, which I am surprised is not used more often as a justification for same-sex relationships.

          And since I was a fan of the great trickster Odysseus, and he was a protege of Athena, she was always a bit of a fave.  

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:18:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks....good diary. Reflects much of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ibonewits, CKendall

    my own feelings and thoughts.

    I am leery of emotional symbolism (flag etc) that is so easily misused and abused.

    And yet, for the first time in many years I am welling up with pride for my country and for the hope that Obama is offering.  The hope that we can regain our ideals...wrest them from the inferno of corporate collusion.

  •  Companion piece: "Is it OK to be liberal again, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ibonewits, leema

    instead of progressive?"

    Slightly different theme, but similar rethinking of who we are and what we stand for, in two days ago.

    It begins,

    If the conservative era is over, can liberals come out of their defensive crouch and call themselves liberals again, instead of progressives?

    Personally, I've always been very proud to call myself a "liberal". In the end, labels really aren't as important as the ideas and ideals behind them. Just as it isn't so important where we happen to live as it is what kind of community we belong to, and the society that we build together.

    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:24:37 AM PST

    •  Is "progressive" synonymous with "liberal"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Are they both roses by other names?  OR...are they different species?  

      My own personal take is that progressive is left of liberal although they are found on the same family tree and are closely related.    

    •  look at my profile (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      where I use the word.  And since I am writing a magazine piece about his words and music, perhaps I can offer some Phil Ochs:

      I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
      Tears ran down my spine
      I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
      As though I'd lost a father of mine
      But Malcolm X got what was coming
      He got what he asked for this time
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I go to civil rights rallies
      And I put down the old D.A.R.
      I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
      I hope every colored boy becomes a star
      But don't talk about revolution
      That's going a little bit too far
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
      My faith in the system restored
      I'm glad the commies were thrown out
      of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
      I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
      as long as they don't move next door
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      The people of old Mississippi
      Should all hang their heads in shame
      I can't understand how their minds work
      What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
      But if you ask me to bus my children
      I hope the cops take down your name
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I read New republic and Nation
      I've learned to take every view
      You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
      I feel like I'm almost a Jew
      But when it comes to times like Korea
      There's no one more red, white and blue
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      I vote for the democratic party
      They want the U.N. to be strong
      I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
      He sure gets me singing those songs
      I'll send all the money you ask for
      But don't ask me to come on along
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

      Once I was young and impulsive
      I wore every conceivable pin
      Even went to the socialist meetings
      Learned all the old union hymns
      But I've grown older and wiser
      And that's why I'm turning you in
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:37:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  if "patriotism" means "co-signing for"... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ibonewits, The Movac, CKendall

    ...then, no, I am not patriotic. I will not blindly follow any government that does any of these following things in my name:
    ...waging wars of aggression against sovereign nations that didn't pose any imminent threat at any time to my own country for the express purpose of gaining territory and empire.
    ...slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children in the name of "spreading freedom and democracy", razing their towns and cities to the ground, bombing, machine-gunning, rolling over them with our tanks, and terrorizing them into submission-even refusing to "un-occupy" their lands until they sign-on to our SOFA "terms of unconditional surrender".
    ...refuses to obey their oaths of office they all swore to "preserve, protect, and defend" our Constitution and Republic for which it stands, from "all enemies, both foreign and domestic", doing instead, everything in their power to obey the dictates of a tyrannical, wannabe boy king!

    I could go on for hours, but would anyone listen, act, or really care? Over 35 Articles of Impeachment sitting "tabled" in a House Judiciary Committee hopper, that will never see the light of day. A president who would be king, who will never answer for all of his "high crimes and misdemeanors", his treasons, his treacheries, and his voluminous war crimes, from a subservient, complicit, and belly-crawling Congress, who sees the only agenda worth defending, and that agenda is NOT the Constitution, the rule of law, and the defense of a monster whose feet are swift to shed innocent blood!

    No, I say, patriotism, blind loyalty, and obediance, is not what I offer this government. I would much rather give it the Constitution's sword of justice, and my eternal scorn, instead! Indeed, it has proven beyond all doubt, that until it holds this war criminal cabal accountable to the rule of the law, it is worthy of nothing less than the derision of civilized men! Until that day comes, it will continue to remain beneath my contempt!

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:39:11 AM PST

  •  I've always been proud to be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Medude24, miss SPED

    An American, even if I'm ashamed of my government at times.  That's a distinction a lot of people don't bother to make.

    A lot of people take the freedoms we enjoy here for granted, especially criticism of the government.  We can still do that here, even after these horrible 8 years.

    •  afraid I will disagree (5+ / 0-)

      because I saw far too much of what happened in the South during the Civil Rights movement, and that was not just the government, national, state, or local - it was an embedded culture that included hate and discrimination.

      The KKK is a major part of our history - and not just in the South:  the state in which they had the greatest influence was Indiana in the 1920s.

      we have a history of extralegal violence and discrimination that was tolerated, directed in the past against women, Blacks, Chinese, Irish, Jews, Catholics, gays. . .   that is the country, not just the government.

      And remember - the government is elected by the American people, for better or worse.  So we are responsible for what they do, until we vote them out.


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:48:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ken I come at this from a different perspective (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miss SPED

        I'm a little younger than you, so I have not experienced the blatent racism that you have.  There's still a lot of de-facto segregation in the schools and housing in America, and I'm not trying to sweep that under the rug, but we'll get there.  Look at the strides we've made in 40 years, that's my lifetime.  Has America disappointed me?  Sure.  Lots.  Can it be better? Sure.  But there is no other country that has integrated more races, cultures and ethnicities into one society, and for that I am proud.

        More important to me is the policy that the new President gives us, I hope he ends the outrageous warrentless woretapping of the Bush years, I only hope his FISA vote was one of political expediency.  Then I can be proud that our President is protecting our freedoms, and livinng up to the best of our Constitutinal promises.

      •  Embedded culture (0+ / 0-)

        Legally-sanctioned bigotry is part of Oregon's history as well, KKK activities beginning in the state in the 1920s.

        Wartime stress, emphasis on patriotism, distrust of German-Americans, eugenics campaigns championed by Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair, and anti-Catholic bigotry created fertile ground in Oregon for the rise of the American Protective Association, Federation of Patriotic Societies, and the Ku Klux Klan. With a combined membership estimated at more than 64,000 Oregonians, these organizations fed on the fear and distrust of residents in a period of social flux and uncertainty. Although minorities were few in number, racism and bigotry were imported ideas. They came with newcomers from other parts of the country and grew in soil that already nurtured suspicion and tendencies to vigilante action. Chapters of the Ku Klux Klan formed in Tillamook, Medford, Eugene, and Portland, as well as many other towns. Robed Klansmen paraded in the streets, ignited crosses on hillsides, nailed American flags to the doors of Catholic schools, and intimidated African-Americans.

        "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

        by CKendall on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:10:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hope meeting reality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ibonewits

    On election night, I watched the returns with neighbors at a party on our street.  Although we cheered as states turned blue and had multiple champagne toasts (for the announcement of Obama's win, for the First Family-elect, for the entire Obama campaign), our mood was not so much celebratory as reflective.  Because we were not in the midst of a huge, noisy crowd, we could have actual conversations and we talked about our personal and family political histories, our recollections of past elections, civil rights movements past and present, and about the enormous challenges facing our new President and us.

    After Obama's speech, we all got on our cell phones and started calling friends and family all over the country.  We didn't wake anyone up--even at that late hour, all the east coast friends were still awake and marveling at the night's events.  

    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

    by CKendall on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:45:37 AM PST

    •  and the conversations continue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ibonewits, Colorado Billy, CKendall

      for example, my wife and I had one about the possibility of Raul Grijalva (whom I know and whom she has met) becoming Secretary of the Interior.  He is one of the most progressive members of the House, he is a champion of the environment, of the rights of Native Americans, and he is the son of an immigrant migrant worker who came into this country under the Bracero program in 1945, the year before I was born.  How exciting it would be go see someone like that in such an important position?

      And in a room full of conservative Republicans last night at a housewarming for a friend who could be so qualified, even some of them, as white as imaginable, were talking about how Obama represented a kind of hope that has the possibility of transforming not only our nation but much more.


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:52:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Transformation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Thank you for the information about Raul Grijalva.  He does sound like an excellent prospect.  

        Transformation was the theme of many of our neighborhood election-night conversations--national and global transformations we have already seen in our lifetimes and transformations we hope to see during this new administration.

        The title of your diary--"It's OK to be an American now"--was the personal testimony of three of my neighbors who have been variously in India, Vietnam and Indonesia just before and after our election.  This much international travel is not the norm for our neighborhood, so we don't usually get so many first-hand reports on U.S.-international relations!  

        A report I got this afternoon: wearing an Obama shirt was a guaranteed way to get cheers in Indonesia.  

        "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

        by CKendall on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:52:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Emotionalism = impermanance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ibonewits, The Movac

    Color me unimpressed at pledges of allegiance, national anthems, flags, and the whole dog and pony show of nationalism.

    No one recites a pledge with more fervor than a committed traitor. In fact, the only person who might hesitate is one who has given the matter enough thought to wonder what it entails. This should tell you that the apparatus of nationalism is designed to enforce not loyalty but blind obedience.

    A nation is not a metaphysical abstract. A nation is an organization to achieve certain ends that individuals cannot achieve by themselves, or that can be more efficiently achieved by a collective effort. Like a precision piece of machinery, or anything else complex that extends one's powers, a nation deserves your care and respect, support and maintenance. It does not deserve love. Love is, notoriously, blind, and blindness does not serve you well.

    But isn't that a characteristic fault of Americans -- to take what should be approached pragmatically and go into an orgy of adolescent emotionalism over it? You can see it in the attitude towards guns as well, where a necessary tool under certain circumstances has been fetishized past all sanity by blind enthusiasts.

    Love your country? You're a fool. Hate your country? You're a fool. Evaluate your country calmly, and work for the better things in it, and against the worse? The only way to go. It won't bring you any head orgasms, but you might, just might, get something done.

    On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

    by sagesource on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:54:21 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the Diary, Ken! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You and I share the same reasons for not singing the SSB and saying the pledge.

    I also stopped doing so while in school, and got into some trouble and quite a bit of inconvenience for it. I was sent to the principal's office by my homeroom teacher, who after that did everything in her power to make my high school existence hell. The principal was not amused, but recognized my right to not say the pledge. It also didn't win me many friends among the student body.

    In fact, that experience was the beginning of a sort of inner exile that led me to actually leave the country after college.

    I wonder if I will feel the difference when I go home for Christmas. If so, that would be the second prerequisite (after health-care) for my moving back.

  •  Rotterdam (8+ / 0-)

    A colleague of mine was attending an international scholarly conference in Rotterdam on November 5th, the day after Obama won the election.

    The speaker introduced the attenders one by one, noting their country of origin.  When he came to introducing my friend, the speaker said,"And we also welcome H.B., who is from the United States of America, a country in which the people have once again taken control of their government."

    All the delegates cheered.

    "Getting elected is the only true moral imperative that politicians believe in." -- Anon

    by zackamac on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:12:45 AM PST

    •  Cheers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, zackamac

      I too have a story about an American abroad getting cheered....

      As I wrote in a comment above to teacherken, the title of his diary--"It's OK to be an American now"--was the personal testimony of three of my neighbors who have been variously in India, Vietnam and Indonesia just before and after our election.  International travel is not the norm for our neighborhood, so we are not usually getting first-hand reports on U.S.-international relations.  

      The report I got this afternoon: wearing an Obama shirt was a guaranteed way to get cheers in Indonesia.  

      "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

      by CKendall on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:11:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I say it every school day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Medude24, Amber6541

    and the Texas Pledge too.
    I say it, in a classroom, where there are many more who are brown and black than there are white.
    I say it, outnumbered, by more of those who are nationals than those who are American citizens, most days.

    I have been from sea to shining sea, and I mean the Pledge when I say it. My allegiance to the symbol of my land and my country is allegiance to our community spirit.  It is not about politics, the Pledge is about love of God and love of our beautiful land and love of all that we can be.

    I love being an example to our children that our country is about faith, and love, and charity.

  •  it depends on how one defines "American"... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Movac, Amber6541, CKendall

    ...I, too am the great-grandson of immigrant German Jews, on my mother's side. On my father's side, I am Welsh, hailing from a blood-line of true patriots who fought against the British over 230 years ago, in rebelling against the tyranny of another king! The America I see today is galaxies away from the one I loved even as a child growing up in the 50's and 60's.

    No, I am not proud of the America that it has become in just the last 8 years. For America, under the megalomaniacal, sociopathic, murdering Bush, has become the very nation for which the Nuremberg & Tokyo, and Geneva protocols were once written--and these protocols that are not mere suggestions but laws of this land were written by our own hands!

    And, under Bush "the usurper and war criminal", America has become the very nation that as short a span of time as even a generation ago, would have been left hanging in the wind on the gallows, for we have committed the very same war crimes for which we tried and hung the Nazis and Imperial Japanese! The only difference between us and them is they had flown the flag of the Nazi Swastika and the flag of the Rising Sun, instead of the Stars and Stripes! How proud our generations of true patriots, who shed their lifesblood on the battlefield of freedom and righteousness must be of us! I speak as a fool.

    No, we have come full circle, and it is true that "all past is prologue", because the rule of law demands justice, and it cares little what flag the ones who commit such unspeakable offenses are flying, or how many times they recite their pledge of allegiance to co-sign for such a government. Corruption, lawlessness, and evil, treason, murder and treachery, are still the same today as they always were, no matter the passage of even eons of time, no matter what political party, no matter under what banner, and no matter how many times they choose to look the other way--or say a million times "it's ok to be an American" again! It is deeds, not words that justify us!!

    A thousand years from now, will America be remembered as the Bush Caligula years? Will it just be annotated by a comma and not even the paragraph or chapter or book Bush thinks, history not "vindicating" him, at all, but instead villifying andd isposing of him-and us right along with him into the dustbin of history?

    You won't find me breaking my arms patting myself on the back. Just yet!

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:48:11 AM PST

  •  I salute you for your continued (0+ / 0-)

    patriotism as you define it -- the commitment to be an educator of the young, and to your steadfast embrace and passing on of those ideals you hold dear.

    I decline to pledge my allegiance to any nation state as such due to my own personal philosophy that nation states inherently breed corruption by their leaders, whether elected or otherwise, and primarily exist to perpetuate the interests of the few at the cost of the many.  I do pledge allegiance to the idea of liberty, recognizing that true liberty for all people is at present nothing more than an idea and an ideal.  I claim liberty as an unalienable right, and therefore am free to decline as above-stated.  I pay my taxes and contribute to the society of which I am a part.

    True liberty will remain only an idea as long as the non-rich are forced to protect the interests of the rich.  When the inherent right of the people to own the means of production is realized, there will be no need for nation states and their "boundaries"; we will all be citizens of the planet.

    Nationalism is a learned belief, and therefore can be un-learned.

    Kick apart the structures.

    by ceebee7 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:58:15 AM PST

  •  I always hate it (0+ / 0-)

    When right-wingers accuse liberals of hating America or being anti-American. How disappointing, then, when I read some comments like in this diary and realize that some liberals really are self-loathing Americans.

    It's not difficult to distinguish between the historical values of one's country and the values of some bad leaders. Shit, damn near every country has had bad leaders. I, for one, love this country because of the historical progress it has made through amazing people who have at the most critical times sought a more perfect union.

    Full Disclosure: I'm one of those "Hopemongers."

    by Medude24 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 12:03:19 PM PST

    •  Yuck. Too sugary. (0+ / 0-)

      The problem isn't just "some bad leaders". American society is just as bad as its government. This country will never become a "more perfect union". I don't share your misguided and rather blind faith. One day, and hopefully soon, this country will meet the same fate as other past empires.

      Thank you for re-affirming my distaste for patriotism. I am a human being first and an American... well, lastly. American exceptionalism is a delusion that I refuse to buy into.

      •  Of course it will never be a perfect union (0+ / 0-)

        But there are key moments we can point to in which it has become "a more perfect union"

        And by the way, I never indicated I subscribed to American exceptionalism.

        Full Disclosure: I'm one of those "Hopemongers."

        by Medude24 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 12:25:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I loathe identity politics. (0+ / 0-)

          I interpreted your patriotism as American exceptional because it seemed as though you were denying American society's inherent problems.

          Our problems aren't exclusive to the government. As an extension of that, the Republican Party isn't the only problem with the government either. It takes two to tango. Both major parties contribute their share to our problems. Average Americans and their culture are part of the problem too.

          In all fairness, there are problems with human civilization in its entirety. My issue is that the United States isn't a "light on the hill" or however Reagan said it, and that it's myopic to discredit the rest of humanity merely because they don't share our nationality.

          In fact, I find identity politics foolish. Additionally, the fact that the United States has made the same mistakes as any other nation is proof enough to me that it's nothing special.

  •  I just wrote my first LTE speaking of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    love of the country and what it mean to be American. It was prompted by one that predicted the utter demise of these United States of America due to the elect of Barack Obama. Our state voted deep blue except for the top of the ticket. Some were sure the we will get socialism, extreme taxes, more crime, slave reparations, fascism, indoctrination, destruction of the Bill of Rights, rampant law suits and destruction of the military and Israel. Therefore it was okay to start to hate America.

    Before the elections I had stayed out of the public war of words, as I hold a non-partisan elected position. But I could not after this last assault on my country.

    Here is my response, Hope will prevail over fear:

    Democrats outnumber Republicans even here in Berkeley County. Less people identify with the party of Sarah Palin, hence the outcome of the last election in which 127 million Americans participated.

    Our fourth daughter will graduate from Hedgesville High School in 2009; the last in 2015. Here is what I predict will happen during those years.

    History shows that the American economy, by all measurable standards, will be better under Democrats. This means an increase in GDP growth, jobs, personal disposable income after taxes, hourly wages, but a lower Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment).

    We will have a more transparent, rational capitalism. With a more educated population, we will see a return to intolerance toward business misconduct. Crime rates are related to larger economic conditions. The nation that put a man on the moon will sustain economic growth based on clean and affordable energy technology.

    Our involvement in conflict in Iraq will end as the president implements the Status of Forces Agreement. With a president having respect for the Constitution loved by Sen. Byrd, we will be that nation of cherished, enshrined freedoms.

    With Sen. McCain in the Senate, we will realize that torture is never justified and demeans the torturer. We will be a stronger country where the best military uses diplomacy as the first line of defense. Veterans will be treated with the respect they deserve.

    American patriotism is grounded in love for our country, the greatest country in the world, and (Mr. Petree is) free to leave.

    Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

    by CA Berkeley WV on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 12:21:52 PM PST

  •  I could really use people's input (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julia C, Amber6541

    I'm so glad you wrote this. Coincidentally I just got an email from a lady I know who included me in a circle of women who send everything...its usually about God being footsteps in the sand with me and poems about friendship.

    Days before the election she sent the b.s. about Obama not saluting the flag. I hit reply all with info from

    Some of her friends got mad, I don't care but NOW

    I get a video of flags waving and the "I'm proud to be an American song" pictures of a soldier petting a kitten(seriously)  etc...

    WHY does it irritate me? Partially because they say people are proud from the lakes of MN to LA.BUT people like Palin didn't seem to think LA was patriotic.

    I want to hit reply all again and say there are different ways to be patriotic, one is to question and strive to do our best but why don't I just let it go?

    Sorry this is so long but I didn't think it warranted a whole diary.

    •  Meh. I would just ignore it and (0+ / 0-)

      perhaps mark it as spam so that any other emails from that person go into your spam folder.  Unless it's your mom or someone like that.  Then, just delete and chalk it up to experience.

      There is honestly no arguing with some people, and it depends on how close you are on other things (is it a relative?, etc) as to whether or not you want to reply.  At the end of the day, is it worth it to vent your frustration on these people or do something more constructive?  

      I know.  You could make it into a "game" of for each of these emails you receive, donate $5 to your local SPCA.

  •  teacherken rules (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, CKendall

    You always have something interesting to say.

    Moms and Dads criticize and correct their kids out of love.Thats how I feel when I bitch about America.And I will not accept anyone questioning my patriotism.I served in the Army.Not that such service is a requirement of patriotism.Bushco made me doubt my judgment when we went into Iraq.Powell's presentation actually made me wonder if I was wrong about Bush's war of choice.I have learned my lesson I can tell you.Ayman Zawahiri's little rant made me laugh.Obama is Al Qeada's worst nightmare IMO.As for Malcolm X didn't he change after his hajj?Well he did according to Spike Lee's movie anyway and it cost him his life.

    Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.-Abraham Lincoln

    by MasterfullyInept on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 01:15:38 PM PST

  •  Great diary, Ken. It IS ok (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, CKendall

    to be American again.  This year, hubby and I were able to vote in our first NZ election.  As he was walking out, he passed a group of people who were talking amongst themselves.  They must have voted Labour because he overheard one say "Now if you only had an American to hug".  

    And not in the way most people here used to say "American".  There was no derisiveness; it was good-natured.  He turned and told them that he is an American.  They all had a good laugh, but no hug.

  •  "They" call us "Sunshine Patriots" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Seriously, when my hometown McClatchy rag ran a story on new sightings of that rare bird, the "flag-waving liberal", bunches of dumbshit conservatives responded with letters to the editor affirming their OWN superior patriotism because they "supported America" ALL the time,
    NOT just "when their guy won".
    I was tempted to ask, "So, if you're saying that true patriots such as yourselves are all about my country right or wrong, does that mean you are admitting that you were wrong about torture?  About lying us into Iraq?  About de-regulating mortgage-backed securities and credit-default swaps?"   But, of course, they weren't having that.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 03:31:54 PM PST

    •  Flag waving (0+ / 0-)

      Your comment reminded me of the massive display of American flags on vehicles after September 11, 2001--all those cars, trucks,  and SUVs flying dual flags.  The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the flag, the bigger the patriot.  Or something like that.  

      I don't know about where you live, but around here, vehicular flags have long since returned to seasonal displays of the orange & black or green & yellow flags of Oregon State and U of O.  I'm not a fan of the sport, but "My football team win or lose" message is preferable to "My country right or wrong."

      "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

      by CKendall on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:37:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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