Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Independance Day

Today, in honor and defense of the liberties we will be celebrating tomorrow, I'm putting a check in the mail to the ACLU.That group has sometimes defended the rights of groups I find, abhorrent, like the KKK. But the ACLU's point in doing so is right. A threat to the civil liberties of one group or individual is a threat the rights of us all. These days they have more to do than ever, what with some of the vile provisions of the so called "Patriot Act." So I'm send a few bucks their way.

And tomorrow I might or might not put out the flag (mostly depending on whether I can figure out where Mr S put it after Memorial Day), but I'll be wearing my Bill of Rights tee shirt for sure, and humming my favorite verse (the second) of "America the Beautiful".

The word "patriotism" has become so debased in our culture that it doesn't seem to mean much more than wrapping up in the flag (often literally), chanting "U.S.A, U.S.A." (often while drunk), and accepting/supporting without question the policies of the current yahoos in power, or blindly assuming that whatever our country does is the best possible way to do things and that we have nothing to learn from the rest of the world. I don't do any of those things, so call me not a patriot, that's fine by me.

But I am a citizen, and I treasure my rights and take seriously my responsibilities. As a citizen, my first loyalty is not to any party or administration. My first loyalty is to the Constitution. My first responsibility is to support that Constitution, and this includes speaking out when I see it threatened. Good citizenship means questioning the government, and challenging it if necessary. That's one of the main points of democracy.

I'm a citizen, dammit, don't tread on me. And here's to the ACLU.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
- Katharine Lee Bates, 1904


Christine said...

I applaud you for your courage and honesty. I, too, feel patriotism has been debased by this administration and worry that we aren't doing enough to defend the America we love. I joined the ACLU right after Bush was elected, and I also belong to Move-On.org. I even have a countdown to Bush's last day on my blog (I just love watching those days tick down!)


kmkat said...

I have an American flag pin on my jean jacket (right next to my Green Party pin) for the same reason as you. I hate that patriotism appears to have taken over by the right as their own private institution. I love my country, but not right or wrong.

Happy 4th!