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Putting the Maher quote aside, what bothers me, and caused me to write this, was that I am frequently challenged by people who consider me to be unpatriotic just because I’m a liberal/progressive.

I work – and love my job and why I’m doing it – as hard as anyone else. I work with kids in hopes they become smarter and more enthusiastic – they are the future of our country and world. I have read the constitution and as much as I disagree with many interpretations out there, I still have to accept that my point of view is not the only one.

But I am challenged by people who work for money, not for pride and happiness. They are greedy and pay lip service and nothing more to the people I consider important – kids, service members, etc. I hate people who pose “what if’s…” just to get their point across, when they blatantly ignore the importantance of the situation in front of them.

So, after basically being quiet and doing my best to not get angry with people who would rather argue than understand, I chose to put my frustrations in words.

You are not an American because you wave a bigger flag.

Or more flags.

You are not an American just because you have fancy slogans that take shots at Democrats.

Or people who think differently than you.

Or poor people.

Or people of color.

Or different backgrounds than you.

You are not an American just because you can wave a copy of the Constitution in my face (try actually reading one!).

Or can quote the 2nd Amendment (and usually only the 2nd Amendment!).  Just remember, there’s actually 27 of them!

You are not an American because you call yourself a patriot.

Or someone else a socialist, but probably have no idea what that really is.

You are not an American when you label others who aren’t like you tyrannical or compare them to Hitler or Stalin.  Especially when the people you’re broadly labeling happen to be the descendants of Hitler’s victims.

You are not an American because Glen fucking Beck told you that you were.

Or your pastor, priest or father.

You are not an American if you think your religion is better than mine, even if I have none.

You are not an American if you think illegal immigrants are less of a human being than you are.

Or you neglect the mother of an unborn child but claim life is so precious.

You are not an American just because you pay lip service by saying, “I support the troops.”

You are not an American just because you have a sticker on your car stating Be an American, Stand Up for America!  Or because you wear a pin of a flag on your shirt.

You are not an American just because you think “America is #1!!!”

No.

A real American – a Patriot – would’ve at least read the Constitution, and not just the parts they like.

They listen to assholes screaming to change it back at the top of their lungs and quietly vote their conscience, even though their blood is boiling.

They realize that the fact is, our taxes are the lowest in our lifetime, the economy was at its worst before we changed, and that two years can’t fix an economy a couple of assholes broke over an eight year Presidency.  And YES, I can back that up with facts.  Even the asshole part!

A real American doesn’t need a flag, bumper sticker, pin or TV show to tell them what they already know and what they should feel.

They don’t need bigots or people looking to get reelected telling them what they want to hear.

They love this country for all it’s flaws and strengths alike.

And want to make it better.

And available to all.

A real American respects others, appreciates diversity and accepts different points of view.

A real American doesn’t value someone’s life as more or less valuable than the next person.  Regardless of where they came from.  Or what they have.

Everyone is created equal.  Or perhaps you missed that part?

A real American doesn’t pay lip service to the troops, people with needs or any other cause.

They pay with their time, their money, their energy in what they believe in.

Speaking of politics…

“There is a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy. Of course the Democrats are disappointing. That’s what makes them Democrats. If they were any more frustrating they’d be your relatives. But in this country they are all that stands between you and darkest night. You know why their symbol is the letter ‘D’? Because it’s a grade that means good enough, but just barely. You know why the Republican symbol is ‘R’? Because it’s the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark.”
—Bill Maher

Originally posted to godzakka on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank You. (6+ / 0-)

    With your permission, I'd like to send this as a response to some of the right wing emails that are blindly forwarded to me.

    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.

    by axman on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:27:19 PM PDT

  •  Quibble (4+ / 0-)

    I've been watching out for "illegal" immigrant.  An undocumented migrant, an undocumented economic migrant, is a far cry from a person who is him or herself "illegal." In fact, that term "illegal alien," was a decided insult until the last decade, when it passed into general parlance. (It's sort of the way that the right wing got "unborn" into general usage, when that's one of their political words, too.)

    We do not flourish, but we persist.

    by The Geogre on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:36:55 PM PDT

    •  O/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vgranucci, The Geogre

      What do you call an American citizen under the age of twenty who already has two or three babies?

      I call her someone who needs to learn about birth control.

      Over the past 30-odd years, the Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved into a mental hospital. --Bill Maher

      by Youffraita on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:22:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Patriotism (27+ / 0-)

    I actually learned something from an Ann Coulter book. I flipped through one in the bookstore, and she was talking about liberals saying "We're patriots too!" Which of course gave her the power to say "No, you're not." We should never go hat in hand to the right to beg permission to be called patriots.

    We cede far too much to the right. I think we should take back the flag. Clever signs might have their use, but they often leave people scratching their heads. The flag is too poweful a symbol to give to the right. I also get sick of the right blathering about the Constitution, while not even recognizing what is in it.

    America was founded by the raging leftists of their day.
    Liberals fought for independence from Britain. Conservatives were Tories.
    Liberals fought to end slavery. Conservatives fought to keep slavery.
    Liberals fought for an end to child labor. Conservatives fought to have 10 year olds working in factories.
    Liberals fought to have workplace safety. Conservatives fought for the rights of the owner to lock the factory doors, regardless of the fire risk.
    Liberals fought for your right to breath clean air and drink clean water. Conservatives fought to the right to pollute the air we breathe and the water we drink.
    Liberals fought to preserve some parts of nature for future generations. Conservatives fought to pave or privatize everything.

    So, if you're living under the American flag, rather than under the British flag, if you're not a slave, if you've never had to be a child sweatshop laborer, if you've never been locked into a burning factory, if you've breathed clean air and drunk clean water, if you've been able to take your children to the park, thank a liberal.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 12:39:00 PM PDT

  •  So ... this is a major area :) (13+ / 0-)

    The Right appear to have usurped "Patriotism" and equated it with "Nationalism", then lent it to Sarah Palin to describe "Real Americans".

    It's one of the biggest crock of shits out there.

    The Right does this the world over, not just in America. You are not "British" if you don't salute the Union Flag ... but they add to that simple symbol all the right wing viewpoints, and assume that the Flag represents them ....

    .... Then they say "If you don't like it, go live in Russia".

    I've been looking at the opinion polls recently. Those folk are quite out of step with the actual views of a majority of Americans, so if they don't like it they maybe should go find some other totalitarian regime to live under.

    The Stars and Stripes represents Social Security, Medicare, Education and Freedom and Equality for all.

    "Patriotism. The last refuge of a scoundrel"

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:23:02 PM PDT

    •  When I was growing up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, Mayfly, vgranucci

      the only places the union flag was see was in shops for tourists, seaside resorts and National Front flyers.

      Like closely cropped hair most people tended to avoid it because of it's associations with the extreme right. this seems to happen to all countries at some point in their history.

      Flags and national symbols are definitely a double edged sword but Americans are not taught this as it would get in the way of the marketing.

    •  problem is you will never be an American (13+ / 0-)

      the way a Real Montanan is. There is nothing you can do, military service, public service, community service, name anything you wish and you are not a John Wayne American.  Matter of fact, years ago a patriot was arguing with me about John Wayne and his service to his country compared with DFH and DFC George McGovern.  He refused to believe George was a bomber pilot in WWII while Wayne had never served.  He even alleged Wayne's films were autobiographical (confusing Wayne and Audie Murphy I guess) but you cannot argue with these people as they see reality and facts as their enemies

      •  Just look what they did (9+ / 0-)

        to John Kerry.

        The great irony here is that many of the so-called "Patriots", still like to fly the Stars and Bars.

        One wonders if America is the place they are really living, they sure don't get it.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:21:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Confederate Battle Flag" represents nothing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vgranucci, laurnj

          except useless sacrifice for a hideously bad cause, and mindless bigotry.

          That was never an official flag of anything - even the Confederate Navy, which used it as a jack, never got around to making it official. (The land-based battle banner was almost always square - including the two versions that made it as a canton onto Versions 2 and 3 of the "official" Confederate flag - and into the state flag of Mississippi.)

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:51:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I attended a meeting where one of Kerry's (4+ / 0-)

          crew in Vietnam told about falling off the boat and figuring he was going to be captured by the VietCong, when damn! he surfaced and there was Kerry coming back for him and the rest of the crew pulling him into the boat.

          Kerry was just too damned polite to deal with the likes of the Bush gang.  If there is going to be a knife fight, bring a knife.

          "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes..." Leona Helmsley, and GOP in House, Senate, and States.

          by Mayfly on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:00:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There's nothing new under the sun. (7+ / 0-)

    I was boiling mad way back in the day because these consummately UNAmerican people co-opted the flag. You know, "America, love it or leave it?"

    Loving America means never, never ending the quest to make the country live up to its stunning ideals.  We are the embodiment of an idea - that all people are created equal, and that we created our government to promote the "general" welfare.  We are not owned by any king, or by any aristocracy.  We can speak our minds, and think for ourselves, and strive to do better and be better.

    Liberals ARE America.  All the rest is propaganda.

  •  Please don't talk about politics, my sister asked. (7+ / 0-)

    Her son, my nephew visited, and looking over my bookcase snickered, "Aunt May, are you a liberal?"

    "Yes, I am."  I responded, "thank you for noticing."

    He was a Republican because of the branding--he actually thinks "Republican" means "manly."

    Later during the visit, he mentioned he had applied for a small business loan.

    "I hope you get it," I said.  "It is such a good program--if you have a good business plan then the government will underwrite your loan.  Otherwise, the bank would never consider you.  If you succeed you will profit and pay taxes--and if you do get it--thank a liberal."

    He looked like a deer in the headlights. Quickly regrouping, Nephew said, "Well, I guess there is no chance a po' white boy like me can get it."

    I threw up on him.  No--not really.  I just looked like I was going to throw up on him.  And he had the grace to look ashamed.

    "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes..." Leona Helmsley, and GOP in House, Senate, and States.

    by Mayfly on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:10:48 PM PDT

  •  We let this happen in the 70s and 80s (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, LibbyLuLu

    All of you boomers, we did this to ourselves. We ran with the rebels, we were against the war, we wanted LBJ out, hated Nixon. We voted for McGovern, Carter. Could not stand the Moral Majority. We thought the Russians would never launch those missiles. We tried to fix the racial problem, we tried to fix the poverty issue, clean the air, rivers and sea. We went to bat and then gave up in the 70s when we basically said fuck it, let's party. While we went away, the far right went to work and we were smack dab in their crosshairs. We let them say we were weak because we hated the illegal Vietnam War. We let them say we were weak because we did not want more nukes. We let them say we were immoral because we did not buy into the Jesus shit. We sat by and said "we spent ourselves fighting the 60s wars and won, lets just go peacefully into that good night and make some dough". That is what we did and our kids had no fucking clue what we did to make the world they inherited. They heard Ronnie did it. They heard Jesus helped Ronnie. They heard commies and terrorists started all those protests. They heard hippies were perverts and scum bags. They heard money is good, greed is good and guess what? We let them say it, we let them think it, we said "fuck it, lets make some dough". That is how we got here folks. Its a goddamn shame.

    Liberalism is a label used by the right to obscure our true agenda which is really nothing but the use of pragmatism instead of ideology.

    by Sinan on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:35:30 PM PDT

    •  Speak only for yourself . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      maybe that's how you reacted.  

      You don't speak for me.

      "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

      by Zinman on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 09:11:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Standing up and cheering (0+ / 0-)

      I was in the generation of young adults about a decade behind yours, and we've been angry at the Boomers for doing exactly as you described---leaving us to drown while you guys went on to go get some loafers and khakis and a VCR. The Ronnie kids we babysat had no clue, and the Boomers abandoned us to fight for ERA and gay rights without you. And somewhere along the line, a lot of those Boomers became scared retirees watching Fox. It's kind of dumbfounding.

       When I read this post, I actually said a HALLELUJAH out loud. And then I sang some Jeff Buckley, badly, because I'm prone to bursting into song badly.

      I wish you would diary your post verbatim and get it out there on the Kos. I'll bet it will engender tons of conversation and hey, maybe some other people of your demographic will read your post and feel that same swift kick in the pants that will help them get back into the fray and find their way back to the right side of good vs. evil. Or, hell, at least back to the polls in 2012. We can hope, right?

      I implore you, Sinan. I'm new here, so I don't know if it's bad form, but I dare you, encourage you, egg you on, and will offer a small bribe, I promise I'll rec and tip it! You might make some people feel defensive and obviously, you're not speaking for everyone in the demographic, but there are a LOT of people who really do need to hear it and I sure wish you'd lay it out for them.

      With any luck and a tad of self-awareness, your target audience will know themselves when they read it.

      ~Lulu

      Hortensio. Faith, as you say, there's small choice in rotten apples." (The Taming Of The Shrew; W. Shakespeare)

      by LibbyLuLu on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  P.S. The first Hallelujah came with Godzakka's (0+ / 0-)

        ...so I was already a ticking time bomb with the poor songburst, to be perfectly fair.

        I love this diary for many great reasons, not the least of which is:

        They realize that the fact is, our taxes are the lowest in our lifetime, the economy was at its worst before we changed, and that two years can’t fix an economy a couple of assholes broke over an eight year Presidency.  And YES, I can back that up with facts.  Even the asshole part!

        Great job. Thanks for a very fun diary!

        Hortensio. Faith, as you say, there's small choice in rotten apples." (The Taming Of The Shrew; W. Shakespeare)

        by LibbyLuLu on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:38:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        Lulu...thanks for the nice words and the encouragement. Maybe I have a diary in me on this subject, I am not sure. But I can tell you from first hand experience that when we stopped being crazy kids and became adults, we changed. We changed in many ways because for some reason our generation started making money hand over fist and before we knew it, we started to like it. A lot. And once you start buying the BMWs instead of that Carmen Ghia, you start to think...hey, this is who I really am and it's good. We got seduced by easy money in ways our parents never even dreamed. Once that kind of life set into our minds, we changed from idealistic dreamers to folks who wanted more and did not want anyone to take what we got. Of course, we convinced ourselves that we actually earned or deserved all that incredible dough, we were smart. Well, now it looks like even the hippies and freaks fell prey to the age old temptations of greed. It was all a fake economy folks based on easy credit. The bill is due. The pusher wants his dough for all that coke you snorted...its time to pay up.

        Liberalism is a label used by the right to obscure our true agenda which is really nothing but the use of pragmatism instead of ideology.

        by Sinan on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 06:37:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Life kind of got in the way, didn't it. (0+ / 0-)

      For me, it was when we decided to have a child and got twins. The making money part took on a bit more importance at that point, and raising the kids took a lot of time. Eventually we began to align ourselves with some or many of the priorities that our parents had in their turn. And yet we didn't totally forget what we had thought was important in the 60s. We just lost focus on it for about 25 years in there. Now we're kind of shuffling off into the great irrelevancy. It's up to the next generations now. And rightly so. They already know more about the future than we ever will, most of us.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:16:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There comes a point, (0+ / 0-)

      when you really do have to go outside of the cave and hunt (or gather, if you prefer). Progress always needs to acknowledge that issue, and I think that the so-called boomer generation synthesized things better than most.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 05:43:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  speaking of co-opting... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, congenitalefty

    American does not equal US Citizen ... there are millions of Americans who are not US Citizens and no, they are not documented or undocumented people residing in the US...

    Everyone in North, Central, and South America can be called an American ... just when did the US get the right to say that we are the only Americans in this hemisphere....

    You wrote a great piece ..I really like it but I think we need to look at that very root cause ... that at some time, American came to be equated with the US and all the other countries in the Western Hemisphere wee discounted ..
    Maybe if we could all come to remember that our neighbors in Mexico are Americans, the Bolivians, the Brazilians, all of the peoples of South and Central American are Americans along with that other great nation of Americans, and in fact, even North Americans... Canada...
    We are all Americans ..

    Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

    by moonbatlulu on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:12:14 PM PDT

  •  Reminds me of an old John Prine song... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby
    Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven:

    While digesting Reader's Digest
    In the back of a dirty book store,
    A plastic flag, with gum on the back,
    Fell out on the floor.
    Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
    Slapped it on my window shield,
    And if I could see old Betsy Ross
    I'd tell her how good I feel.

    Chorus:
    But your flag decal won't get you
    Into Heaven any more.
    They're already overcrowded
    From your dirty little war.
    Now Jesus don't like killin'
    No matter what the reason's for,
    And your flag decal won't get you
    Into Heaven any more.

    Well, I went to the bank this morning
    And the cashier he said to me,
    "If you join the Christmas club
    We'll give you ten of them flags for free."
    Well, I didn't mess around a bit
    I took him up on what he said.
    And I stuck them stickers all over my car
    And one on my wife's forehead.

    Repeat Chorus:

    Well, I got my window shield so filled
    With flags I couldn't see.
    So, I ran the car upside a curb
    And right into a tree.
    By the time they got a doctor down
    I was already dead.
    And I'll never understand why the man
    Standing in the Pearly Gates said...

    "But your flag decal won't get you
    Into Heaven any more.
    We're already overcrowded
    From your dirty little war.
    Now Jesus don't like killin'
    No matter what the reason's for,
    And your flag decal won't get you
    Into Heaven any more."

    John Prine is a Canadian, BTW.

  •  "anti-American" is when you worry (0+ / 0-)
    Yeah, one of the ground crew over at the wing dug up some things I'd written on a blog some time ago. I'm not anti-American. No progressive is anti-American. Why would an anti-American seek progress for America?
    All I've said is that progress lies ultimately in a direction of a world without nations, whenever that may become possible. I'm not looking to abolish America, but I see that America has to become part of something bigger, and that this is the natural flow of things.

    and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

    by le sequoit on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 05:48:10 AM PDT

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