Thursday, April 13, 2006

the blood of patriots

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

"Give me liberty or give me death." - Patrick Henry

"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." - Nathan Hale

"Those who would exchange essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security." - Benjamin Franklin

America, where did you go?

It is a disgrace, a shame that will ensure this generation will be remembered for a long time as an example of how far we have sunk as a nation. When did we become so cowardly? Who persuaded the American people that we have to be, contrary to all attainable reality, "protected" from the horrible world around us? Who persuaded the American people that their continued individual existence is more important than the ideals that this country was founded on?

We live in a dangerous universe. It will always be so. Anybody who thinks that the actions of any government can shield them from the vagaries of humanity, nature, and sheer chance is deluded.

I love my country. I always have. I always will. Today, though, I am ashamed of my country in a way I have never been and hope will pass sometime soon.

My father grew up in a frightening world. Born just before the Depression, his family survived the worst economic hardships this country has suffered. He served in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. He served in the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force. He always understood that to defend America meant to defend points of view he disagreed with personally, including a lot of mine.

Today, it is the omnipresent mantra of "9/11" and "everything changed that day" and "it's a different world now" and "a different kind of threat." What a crock. I am 53 years old, an Air Force brat, and I grew up with a high expectation of nuclear annihilation. I lived with "duck and cover" drills on a regular basis, as though hiding under our flimsy school desks would shield us from megaton-sized nuclear warheads. I lived on high-priority targets, knew where the local bomb shelters were, drove past fully armed and ready-to-scramble B-52's, B-47's, B-58's, B-57's, Titan silos, and nuclear storage bunkers every day of my young life. Those were frightening times, and I'm glad that we don't have such an immediate threat of atomic warfare today. Civilization itself was threatened with extinction, yet somehow, we went on with our daily lives and didn't bathe ourselves in the stench of cowardice and fear.

Let's face it. Was September the 11th objectively really that bad? Yes, it was a horrible day in our history. But, let's remind ourselves of what really happened and compare it with what is happening in response to it and see if our extraordinary response is justified.

We lost five buildings, four aircraft and 3300 human lives. If those events had happened coincidentally around the country with no terrorism involved, it would have rapidly been forgotten. Yes, there were serious financial effects, but our trillion dollar adventure in Iraq is going to have a lot more deleterious effect on the United States' future than the events of September 11th, 2001.

Even on a Strategic Air Command base, we were allowed free speech and were not judged security risks because we were all Americans and our military knew that it was protecting the very freedom to dissent.

Bush has it backwards. Protect the Constitution first, then the people. We have become a nation of pussies. Patriots and heroes are not necessarily volunteers, sometimes they are just innocent people caught in events beyond their control. We honor their sacrifice as Americans, and we move on. The whole is greater and more important than the sum of the parts, and we must fight for the ideal of America, not for Americans.

We live in a land of laws, not of people. That is what makes this country capable of greatness. Let's work to make it great again.


Blogger Ronni said...

Wish I could use this for a monologue!

12:26 AM  

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