Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flag Burning

Democrats cornered--again

I don't like to get righteously indignant, Bush, but there seems to be no end to the political cunning of your Rove and his cohorts, and I'm outraged once again. Not that there's any particular orginality to their strategy: they repeat the pattern over and over again, and you'd have thought the electorate might be wise to it by now. Alas, it seems not. Otherwise why would they be doing it once more?

The tactic is simple: pick a red meat issue that's of interest only to that "base" of bigoted, ignorant, belligerent zealots these folks have carefully cultivated through years of tendentious talk-show rhetoric. Gay marriage, say, a few weeks ago. Or, yesterday, flag-burning. Bully it through to the floor of the US House of Representatives or the Senate--or to the forum of public opinion--and force it into a totally unnecessary national debate. In the case of the House or the Senate, you force it to a vote. In so doing, you've created a no-win situation for anyone with the slightest spark of decency or conscience. For a congressperson or a senator, the choice is invidious: vote no, and you've handed opponents a massive club to beat you with at the next election; vote yes, and you've betrayed your own intelligence and your sense of justice, along with the fair-minded majority of your constituents.

I was dismayed, yesterday, Bush, to hear one of my senators whom I would otherwise want to respect--Diane Feinstein--blathering on ridiculously about the flag flying over the Capitol building, the flag flying over her house in Washington, DC, its protection for the future of this country...a stream of shameless rhetorical nonsense uttered with every appearance of sincerity. And then casting her vote for a constitutional amendment to ban the burning of the American flag--a phenomenon, Bush, that has not happened to my knowledge in the past thirty years.

A constitutional amendment! What a sickening spectacle, Bush, to see our country's senators desecrating the floor of their historical chamber with such an absurd and meaningless debate. That in itself would have been bad enough. But to think that this senseless effort was defeated by one single vote!

To what pitiful state have we fallen, Bush, when good government is abandoned to the game of politics? When the efforts of political hacks like your Rove dictate the national agenda? These men and women of the Senate allow themselves to be cornered into casting their votes on such an issue while they surrender their constitutional duties to your aggressive White House on issues of vital interest to the people: the health care crisis, a badly malfunctioning education system, the erosion of civil and human rights, a deteriorating infrastructure, dependence for energy on unfriendly if not overtly hostile nations, the ominous threat of climate change, our national unpreparedness for disaster--whether at nature's hand or the hand of man--not to mention the promulgation of economic policies the drive us ever deeper into debt with countries we once distrusted or despised, a foreign policy that earns us the distrust and scorn of even our traditional allies, and an endless, unnecessary war.

Shame on them, Bush! Shame on us all for allowing our elected representatives to indulge in such a sickening spectacle! And thank God for a growing groundswell of American progressives who have had enough of this drama and are determined to make changes. Sooner or later, Bush--I have to believe this--human decency and sanity will again prevail. Until then, although with much greater sadness than pleasure, I reserve the right to voice my righteous indignation.


GringoWithoutBorders said...

Right on Peter!

The flag is only a symbol, and represents the freedoms we hold dear. The morals/beliefs/thoughts in which this flag and many others represents can never be destroyed simply by burning a piece of clothe with ink on it. We hold the values dear not the piece of worthless clothe.

Flags and Banners are usually used for the worst of human activity, NATIONALISM.

Of which Albert Einstein so aptly said, "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind."

Any two-bit Fascist Despot like Bush can strip a flag of what it represents and wave it in front of Nationalistic Idiots in order to commit all kinds of atrocities.

By the way, are most of these idiots not Christians who I believe say it is illegal to worship idols or symbols or something like that. Shoot, maybe they will try to say you cannot burn a cross next. Still amazes me that they wear a torture device around their necks that was used to kill ordinary criminals in the day.

Dave said...

Silliness indeed, but of course also political campaigning. I should note that Diane Feinstein is up for election this year, so this is a bid for centrist votes I assume. When I found out yesterday morning that she was going to vote for the amendment, I sent her an email setting her right, you bet, but I was too late to change the course of history. More and more, Feinstein is seeming less and less like Barbara Boxer, a real progressive. Maybe talk about a possible presidential candidacy is moving her, like Hillary, more to the Democratic Leadership center.

Of course we'll hear more of this issue in the representives' campaigns as the Demos who voted against the amendment are called unpatriotic--which seems the only rational cause for this nonsense, political profit.

In grammar school just after WW II I was in an assembly diorama representing the Iwo Jima scene that Sen. Diane moons over. If I knew then what was coming I'd have farted during the scene. Too much schmalz gives me gas.

PeterAtLarge said...

Did you hear her speech, Dave? Or any part of it? Schmalz is right. A move toward the center I understand... But on an abject issue like this one? Cheers, PaL

David said...

Reminds me of what Abbie Hoffmann said when the judge ordered him to remove the flag shirt he wore to his trial. "I regret that I have but one shirt to give for my country."

Dave said...

Hey, Peter, I not only heard Feinstein's speech, I wept through it--imagine any varmint's hurtin old glory--damn flag-abuse I'd say. As for "abject," which it is, the convenient thing about this issue is that it has no practical importance in itself, only symbolic. So D.F. has little to sacrifice politically except her self-respect, honor, dignity, and pride. And since she's a politician those things don't count for much since no one expects them any more.

PK said...

Just a ruse for something else that is going on behind the scenes that we don't know about yet. New York Times may have it out before you know it :D. This happens every time Bush has some strange mental burp on something he wants to do, or the 'Rottweiler' does. Some frivolous thing gets put before the Senate so they have more time to figure out how to screw all of us.