Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Loyalists v. Rebels

Currently, the political spectrum is divided as to what patriotism is. As Ron Kovic wrote in Born On The Fourth Of July, why is protesting deemed unpatriotic when the protestee is merely speaking out against what he/she feels is wrong, what needs to be improved? The "patriotic" individuals, those who don't speak out against authority or those they feel are misusing their powers, feel that love of country means acceptance of all actions. If a country is by the people, for the people and of the people, then it is therefore fallible. It is run by individuals who often weigh the concerns of their pocketbooks over the good of the general public so we know that actions can be taken that don't altogether result in the best possible outcome overall. Complaining is unpatriotic though it was such complaining, such rebellion, that made this country possible in the first place. Can we empathise with the Loyalists during the Revolution at all now? All these "whiny, crybaby" rebels running around, against the King, against their government. How dare they? So what if there's taxation without representation, he's the King. Stamp Act? They need it for revenue to better defend us. Sugar Act? We might be attacked by the French again, or the Iroquois, they need that money.

So what if a rebellion was started now that listed among its grievances that the government is not, at least the Executive Branch, deriving its powers from the consent of the governed and that it is their right to alter or abolish it? A government of long standing should not be overthrown for trivial causes but what if something bordering tyranny exists for some time, would those rising up be supported?

How bad would the government need to treat its citizens before rebellion would flip from being unpatriotic to being patriotic, upholding the truths within the Declaration of Independence? We're not heading in a good direction but thankfully, I think we're far from that point...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"This Old House"

Picture in your mind a beautiful house, a Victorian, a Colonial, what have you. What if it was falling apart? What if you complained to the head of the household that you wanted to fix it (repaint the exterior, fix the medicine cabinet, mend relationships with the neighbors) but he/she responded by calling you a traitor to the home, to the family. You were betraying the home, you were told, by wanting to fix the problems you observed. Fixing the cracking paint, the lacking meds and the deceitful relationships within the neighborhood meant you'd be turning your back on the ways of the house, the history that made it so great at one point. You contend that you merely want to improve the house, to bring it back to the luster and grandeur it once exuded so brilliantly.



Sympathetic to the enemies of the household

"But why?," you shout. "I only want to fix the house!"

"Because. By wanting to fix the house, you're acknowledging that it needs fixing and that'll only give the Jones's something else to make fun of us for. They're jealous of our house and how big it is and how many things we have and if we admit it's not so great, they'll call us liars and hypocrites. We need to save face!"

"Do you think the house will always look and run this well? Honestly?"

"Of course not, but I'm hoping and praying it will while I'm still alive."

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Environment v. America

On the whole, America seems to ignore the fact or at least contest the fact that global warming exists, or at least that humans can affect their environment. Other countries may do the same but it seems that the United States is at the forefront when it comes to retaining old industrial practises and prolonging change. Would it be so bad to accept that we affect our environment? What's wrong with a little conservation, a little respect for others and some foresight? If nothing else, conservation can save us money (an incentive for the "average" individual to participate). It seems, however, that the majority of Americans are too stuck in their ways to consider any alternative. Granted, industrial jobs play a large role in the American economy but investing in the future and alternative fuels now means the economy can continue to prosper even after finite resources like oil and coal are exhausted. Exxon Mobil, for example, refuses to invest in alternative energy. Sadly, the money is currently in the oil industry as opposed to alternative fuels as stubborn Americans refuse to change their driving habits at $3.30/gallon. Until reserves are depleted or habits are changed, oil is the place to be. Investing in the future, however, means that individuals, companies, and the nation will continue to prosper long after traditional fuels are wiped out. The United States has such a great tradition of consumption that the alternative (which includes consuming less) scares many and is rarely a thought. Therefore, changing habits and consuming less (acting European), would be akin to acting un-American. The United States can always change things for the better, but rarely changes itself. Can the U.S. really continue to hold this belief as our hunger for oil only stirs further the boiling pot of hatred in the Middle East? Yes, and for some time into the future. If one is pro-environment, he or she will likely be against interference in the Middle East due to the detrimental effects on said environment as well as national security (at home and abroad). Were one to proclaim this belief, however, that individual would be labeled sympathetic to the "terrorists" and "unpatriotic". It may seem like a stretch, but I feel the connection exists and that it may help explain our country's reluctance to change at the pace needed. Does being pro-environment really equate to being anti-American? It shouldn't...but it seems as though that may be the case.

Love of country?

I would like to preface my first post by acknowledging that I do not hold all of the answers but merely choose to analise/critique the present with a strong grasp on the past to ensure a stable future. Too many today, and feel free to comment as I greatly encourage it, hold on to a partiotic ethos by viewing the present only and by holding in their minds and hearts the idea that their country, and oftentimes race, is the best and that anything different is to be feared and held down. I in no way act as though pride in one's nation is bad, for it can encourage improvement and progress, but when national pride exists in a way that alternative views are ignored and oppressed, then it is existing for all the wrong reasons. Patriotism is not a blind faith in one's nation; it should be a continuing analysis of one's country via its actions to ensure that it stays true to its founding principles. When a country strays from that, true patriotism aligns with pointing out these flaws so that the nation may improve upon them, so that it may continue to hold dear the principles in which it so fervently claims to believe. For my first post, hopefully among many, I ask anyone stumbling upon this: Is our country, the United States of America, truly acting out the wishes of its founders? And, if it is not, is one to be labeled unpatriotic if he/she points out this fact for the betterment of the nation?